15 December 2009

The Holidays are Upon Us

I know, the Christmas and New Years holiday season is already upon us. It's always the same ritual year after year: Crowded shopping malls, the constant sounds of Christmas music on the radio all the way up to Christmas Day, the countless Christmas parties both at home and at work, and - what you get in the mail from family and friends - Christmas cards.

You got that right. Christmas cards.

Back in the old days (even 10 years ago) we went to the gift shop and picked out a series of Christmas cards. You decided who got what and that was about it. Then came the most tedious task as far as Christmas cards are concerned, especially if you have so many: Addressing them by hand, sticking postage stamps on each card, and getting them to the Post Office as early as possible. After all, it's the holiday season and the US Postal Service is feverishly moving all that important holiday mail.

Well, we now got this revolutionary technological marvel which is the personal computer. We now have stuff like Windows, Word, Office, and Adobe PDF among other things, and we can't leave out a very important technological marvel which has shrunk our world even further: The Internet.

Which leads us to Christmas cards taken to a new level: The E-card. You got that right, the e-card.

The best thing about sending a Christmas e-card is that you don't have to worry about spending a lot of money on postage and worry whether the card will make it on time before Christmas. Besides, a Christmas e-card uses the Internet as its distribution medium rather than the traditional postal mail medium.

Additionally, sending a Christmas e-card saves on paper. That's good for the environment, especially in the going green era we live in.

While we're on the subject of Christmas, let's turn to another Christmas related topic if I can have your attention for just a few more minutes of your time. It is a topic which disturbs me, and that is the anti-Christmas sentiment that keeps growing in America year after year.

Andrew Dart (akdart.com) has a well done page on the anti-Christmas sentiment that is growing in America along with links to related articles on the Internet. To go to that page, simply click on this link.

However, there are other areas of increasing anti-Christmas sentiment which we hear about year after year. In December 2008 10 Connects (WTSP-TV, the CBS affiliate here in St. Petersburg) had a story on a woman in Panama City Beach (the Florida panhandle town, that is) who was fired for saying "Merry Christmas"; to add to the humiliation the employer called law enforcement and had the woman declared a second class citizen by having her trespassed from the premises.

(Did I mention trespassed? Sad but true: Florida's trespassing laws allow a person in authority such as a store manager or a security guard to ban a law abiding person from a place for life, no reason or rationale is needed. After all, trespass warnings in Florida are convictions for trespassing without the benefit of due process and trial. For more information on this please feel free to read my Florida Trespassing Laws White Paper, available at EdwardRingwald.com.)

Now here's another area which I would call anti-Christmas sentiment in the workplace. How many of you out there read the comics in the St. Petersburg Times? There was one comic strip that caught my attention which is Blondie and it consisted of two panels which is the norm for a weekday comic strip. In the 23 December 2004 Blondie comic strip one panel had a group of office workers celebrating an office Christmas party, while the next panel had the boss (who I believe was in an anti-Christmas mood) angrily yelled at the workers to "get back to work" in an intimidating manner.

After I saw this comic strip, I felt that the anti-Christmas sentiment was well represented. Add to that how the boss yelled at and intimidated his subordinates as seen in the strip. To most people, it might be humor as is the case with comic strips out there but to me, I feel this is bullying by the boss.

Now may I digress for just a moment? In my opinion, I feel the phrase "get back to work" is nothing more than a way for a boss to demoralize and treat his employees like if they were not important. Moreover, a boss who resorts to micromanagement as a way to motivate his employees and uses demeaning and abusive phrases in the workplace contributes to low employee morale and high turnover. In a nutshell, I feel the phrase "get back to work" is nothing more than a threat and it accomplishes no purpose other than to create a hostile work environment.

Back in 1986 and 1987 while I was going for my first Associates degree at St. Petersburg College (which was St. Petersburg Junior College back then), I took two management related classes, which were Human Factors in Supervision and Principles of Management. Believe me, it gave me an introduction to the world of management and the terminology that goes with it.

I just wanted to give you an example of the disturbing anti-Christmas trend that is increasingly going on year after year. Now that I had your attention I feel that it is more appropriate for the season to give you a Christmas card - this time, an e-card that I created myself rather than spend money on one. (After all, you have to spend money on Christmas cards whether it's a traditional card or an e-card).

To see my Christmas card, just click on this link! I hope you enjoy it!

And as they say in:

English: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Spanish (Espanol): Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

Slovenian (Slovenscina): Vesel božič in srečno novo leto!

And I will say this once again: Merry Christmas!

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