Tag Archives: Probably
The potential problems begin from the start with the assumption that everyone in your office is actually interested in celebrating a holiday dedicated to demons, debauchery or drinking, depending on how you happen to roll on All Hallow’s Eve.
Truth is there’s actually plenty of employees out there who may find the very notion of a Halloween party offensive on religious grounds.
“This is why attendance should be optional – those who wish to observe Halloween in a particular manner or not observe it at all should not be forced to attend a function that offends them,” explains labor and employment law attorney Dennis J. Merley.
This is an area where managers should tread particularly lightly, as it could be unlawful to even tease or allow teasing or peer pressuring of employees who choose not to participate in a celebration for religious reasons.
Another reason parties should be optional is that any accidents or injuries that happen, even after workers have left the party, could wind up coming back to haunt the company.
Speaking of accidents, a party that involves alcohol, cumbersome and often identity-concealing costumes just might be a harassment, OSHA or workman’s compensation disaster waiting to happen.
Sorry to be a wet blanket (which is also not a good costume choice), but it’s just common sense that introducing booze and probably a few awkward outfits increases the risk of a mishap or poor decision of some type.
Now when it comes to costumes, there’s a lot of advice out there for get-ups that are “work-appropriate,” but as labor and employment attorney David Barron advises, even the most innocent idea can easily go wrong.
“Any safe for work costume can be made inappropriate by simply adding “Sexy” to the title,” he explains in a column for The Ladders. “Office Halloween parties are no place for ‘sexy’ outfits, political statements or costumes that might be offensive based on a protected class such as race or gender.”
Barron suggests that offices share clear dress codes for Halloween costumes and even encouraging the coordination of costumes beforehand.
Bottom line, while a Halloween party might seem like a good way to let loose at the office, it’s not an excuse to fly by the seat of your pants or throw caution to the wind. You wouldn’t do that with any other aspect of your business. The good news is that with the right amount of thoughtfulness and planning, there’s no reason to cancel the festivities.
In the early 1500s, England faced an existential economic crisis: Demand for their most lucrative export, woolen cloth, was plunging in Europe. They needed to find new markets for their product –and fast.
So a group of merchants set their sights on the vast market of Cathay –the word used at the time to refer to China –then the largest economy in the world, with nearly 30 percent of global GDP. (By comparison, India during this period produced roughly 20-25 percent of global GDP. England was peripheral to the world economy, producing an inconsequential 1 percent of global GDP.)
These English merchants sent expeditions in search of a new overland sea route that, they hoped, would take them over the European continent to China, enabling them to avoid having to sail through waters controlled by the Spanish and the Portuguese, their arch rivals.
After failing to reach Cathay (though they did make it as far as Moscow), they decided to turn westward, eventually reaching the shores of America, where they established small trading outposts and, eventually, full-fledged colonies.
This is how the tale begins in a captivating new book by Simon Targett and John Butman, New World, Inc.: The Making of America by England’s Merchant Adventurers. Through meticulous research and a flair for bringing a colorful cast of long-deceased characters back to life, Targett and Butman tell the story of the founding of one of history’s most successful startups: America.
“It’s the ‘prequel’ to the Pilgrims,” Targett told me in a recent podcast conversation. “You can’t really understand America today if you only go as far back as the Pilgrims. Of course they are an important part of the founding. But there were many trips for 70 years before the Pilgrims, who eventually arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. As we delved further, we tracked and traced an unbroken chain of voyages. And we felt the story of these merchant adventurers –what we call the ‘forgotten founders’ – provide a better narrative.”
Targett and Butman relate the fascinating and largely untold story of the earliest days of globalization, of innovation and entrepreneurial risk-taking, and of the creation of some of the earliest venture-financed companies in the world.
“What they did initially was to setup a company,” explains Targett. “This we think of as perhaps the forefrunner of all modern corporations. It was called ‘The Mysterie, Company, and Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and Places Unknown.'”
This was a period when the newly-coined word, “company,” was just starting to become a part of the English language. In a fascinating bit of etymology, Targett explains how the word was formed through the conjunction of the Latin words, “com,” meaning “together,” and “panis,” meaning, “bread.” Together, the word loosely means, “the breaking of bread together.”
Of course, English merchants had supported and funded voyages for decades, and these had often been funded either by private individuals or private syndicates. “But the idea of going across the world required a higher level of organization and financing, so they set up this company which not only allowed them to pool their resources, but also allowed them to attract their resources from people who didn’t want to get involved in the mundane running of company.”
Like the startups of today, most of which are statistically prone to flop, failure was very much a part of the story. “It’s remarkable how many setbacks these people experienced and yet they continued to believe there was a pot of gold or a fortune to be made at the end of it,” observes Targett. “And, in a way, that driving spirit was key to these people. It’s another feature of a modern America that we feel needs to be traced back to before the Pilgrims.”
Targett compares these risk-taking, adventurous ‘forgotten founders’ of 16th and 17th-century England to one of the boldest entrepreneurs of our era, Elon Musk. “To some extent the people that we write about, these ‘forgotten founders,’ were venture capitalists. They were very much the Elon Musks of their day. Just as he is dreaming of new worlds, in his case Mars, their new world was America. And he’s pulling together some of the best minds to help him design some of the rockets and the spaceships that will be needed. Likewise, the merchants pulled together the very best minds of their days, the scientists, the navigators, the buccaneers, the marketers.”
“These ‘forgotten founders’ and the people they sent across were the first people to really experience and live the American dream. These were the people that often went across with nothing but made their place and made their home. They didn’t all make fortunes but they found a life, they found a place in society.”
It’s the month of manufactured love. February 14th, Valentines’s Day is a chance to send those you love something special. But for Kim Kardashian, it’s also a chance to send her haters some love.
The social media celebrity and entrepreneur is sending a long list of celebs who don’t like her a gift–her new perfume. While it’s unclear whether her goal is to make amends or fan the flames of hate, it begs the question: Should we try to make up with our professional enemies?
In your career, your network is your net worth.
We all have former colleagues or bosses we dislike. But when it comes to our careers, it’s a small world. You never know when you’ll need a reference from someone you used to work with. Or perhaps the person now works at a company you’d love to work for. Burning bridges is the worst thing to do if you want to have a successful career. Having a strong network, filled with people you can tap when needed is an asset these days. Which means, you may just want to swallow your pride and make amends with those from your past that could be of value some day.
These 4 words go a long way: “Hey, can we chat?”
Reaching out on a social media platform like LinkedIn is a great start. Asking the person to connect will give you a sign as to whether he or she might even be open to a conversation. If your connection request is accepted, you can then send a note asking to catch up by phone or over coffee. When you speak, you should focus on keeping the conversation positive and trying to restore the trust and respect needed to move forward. A great thing to keep in mind is everyone has a professional strength. If you can identify what the person’s strength is, you can target the conversation around it. An example might be:
“I see you are working at XYZ in marketing now. You were always good at social media. What are some of the things you are working on now that excite you?”
By engaging in a conversation around what your colleague enjoys, it will put the person at ease and make the conversation flow better.
If you get called out, own it.
Lastly, if the person actually asks you why you are trying to re-establish a connection, be honest. It’s okay to say,
“I realize our relationship wasn’t as good as it could be in the past. I’m trying to improve how I network and support my colleagues. I’m sorry if my past interactions with you weren’t as positive as they could be. I’m trying to make amends and hope you will consider re-establishing our relationship.”
It’s harder for someone to dismiss you when you’re being accountable for your past actions. But, if they do, chalk it up as experience and move on. At least you tried…
A gigantic time capsule from 1965 is going to be opened this afternoon in Bay City, Michigan. And locals have been speculating about what could be inside. Will it be filled with old movie cameras and classic records? Priceless gems and bars of gold? Probably not.