For every reaction…there’s an equal and opposite policy or protest

Hey, did you know it’s almost Christmas?  Really – I think there needs to be just a few more reminders out there.  The retail industry and media are failing us.

I would like to reassure you that I’m not going to talk about Christmas – I came out of the Grinch closet last year, and this post still accurately reflects my feelings on this time of year.  So enough about that.

I lied.

I am going to say something: People, simmer down. Stop over-reacting.  Stop buying into the hype and go back to how you were feeling 30 seconds before you heard that radio announcement.

You know what?  This goes beyond Christmas and all it’s related chaos.  This goes for work.  This goes for HR.  This goes for the world in general.

In the workplace, we call it being “best in class” (a term I’m not overly fond of).  One company comes up with an idea that works for them and suddenly your VP is asking how we can be more Google, Zappos, or like anyone on the Top 100 Employers of 2014.

The idea is that if it works for them…it will work for us.  Except that we are a not-for-profit service-based organization of 90 people with extremely close ties to the tax-paying Canadian with cubicle layout that bear a striking resemblance to a maze in a mouse experiment.  I’m really not sure where we would put the foosball table…but we need to get on-board.  Now.  Make it happen…right-size it and put a bow on it.

Stop over-reacting and over-generalizing things.


Hey, on the list of things I’m grateful for, I would add that I’m not working in the HR department at CBC right now…seriously, no one wants to have to deal with the sideshow that the whole Jian Ghomesi situation has become.

Oh yes – there are takeaways.  What the situation has created is a dialogue and awareness on topics that needed to happen regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, the stigma and blame-culture that surround victims, and the roles and responsibilities of employers that are in the know.

But what this situation should not have created is a knee-jerk reaction by every other employer to throw together and implement an exhaustive policy by the end of the week.


And protests?

I know I’m treading on dangerous ground with this one, but protests are becoming the ultimate in over-reaction.  Bear with me a moment before you go calling (do people still call people…I mean texting) all your friends to organize a sit in to protest my blog post.

First of all – I don’t mean that people are over-reacting in terms of being frustrated, disgusted, outraged, or devastated by recent events.  Particularly those who are directly impacted – I cannot imagine how they feel, but I would think that they might have a burning desire to do something.  To say something.  To take action.

What I have a harder time with is when this “action” becomes an automatic reaction.  When things become automatic, they start to lose their impact.  When an action becomes predictable and expected, it has become diluted and controlled.  Some will say it is a show of solidarity.  I’m not sure that’s always the case.

An immediate response to an issue, a concern, or a situation should not be a canned, right-sized version of a best in class.  Nor should it be a knee-jerk-but-that’s what-everyone-else-I see-on-CNN-is-doing.

So I repeat myself: People, simmer down.  Stop over-reacting. Stop buying into the hype and go back to how you were feeling 30 seconds before you heard that radio announcement.





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