All posts in Co-workers

Is There a Scrooge In Your Office?


Scrooge is alive and well in the workplace.

No, I’m not talking about an old man who is screwing the workers out of holiday bonuses.  I’m not talking about a boss who forces everyone to work on Christmas Eve.  And I’m not talking about a cheapskate who won’t spring for a holiday gift.

Scrooge is much more subtle.   Care to take a look?

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Remember the days when we looked forward to the “after-work” holiday party?  We even drew names for a “Secret Santa” and brought homemade cookies?   But somewhere along the line, everyone started buying gift cards and bringing store-bought cookies, and some people actually expected to get “paid” for staying after work.  And Santa got a bad wrap because he bought a few inappropriate gifts and had too much eggnog. 

Unfortunately, office holiday parties are not like Vegas.  What happens at the holiday party doesn’t stay at the holiday party.  It remains workplace legend for years and years to come.

So we canned the “after hours” holiday party.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

Welcome to the holiday lunch.  Scrooge may even host the lunch and spring for a few gift cards.  He’s just glued to his cell phone during the festivities because he has “more important” things to do.  The menu is preset, there is no mess or clean-up, and the lunch fits nicely into a 60-minute calendar invite on Outlook.  (Ok, maybe 90 minutes, but who’s counting?) 

The great thing about the holiday lunch?  We already spend too much time at work – so who wants to hang out with our coworkers after hours?  We can check the holiday party off the “list” while keeping our colleagues arms length.  And everyone gets a Starbucks card instead of a gift – because we need more caffeine to keep us productive at work!

The Ghost of Christmas Future

Holiday gatherings at work are for people who don’t have enough to do.  Forget the lunch.  Forget the gift cards.  Everyone just wants CASH!  It’s bad enough that people have to work together.  Why fake the good will? 

Christmas cheer should be reserved for our personal lives.  Who needs the jingle jangle at work?  Holiday parties decrease productivity, create tension, and just add to the stress of the season.  We’ve already had too much to eat and drink since Thanksgiving.  Just let everyone off work an hour early in lieu of the holiday lunch, and send them to the treadmill! 


I for one am not prepared to usher in the Ghost of Christmas Future!  I’m not saying it’s easy to counter Scrooge, but let’s at least recognize what he’s up to and be intentional about sharing the joy of Christmas at work. 

Is Scrooge making his way into your workplace this year?  And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

[Looking for ways to share Christmas with your co-workers?  Check out Diane Paddison’s post here.]

Should Your Personal Life Matter At Work?


I have a law school classmate I’ll call Jim. His personal life is a wreck.  He’s been married and divorced a couple of times, and he cheats on his current wife. Jim can’t say no to a beautiful woman or a martini, and he tends to run in fast circles, both on and off the clock. Everyone at his work office knows about his recreational habits, but with a nod and a wink they turn a blind eye. 

Let’s just say they know better than to walk into his office without knocking first.  

But here’s the thing about Jim. He’s a brilliant lawyer. He’s at the top of his game, and so far as I can tell, his personal life doesn’t appear to compromise the quality of his work. Sure, his closest friends worry that he’s going to have one martini (or one woman) too many and really get into trouble, but most of his friends and colleagues defend his lifestyle.

“Jim is a fantastic lawyer. What he does in private is nobody’s business!”

[To continue reading, click here and join me at The High Calling]

Taming Your Tongue At Work: Why Leaders Are Held to Higher Standards


About a year ago, I said something really stupid.  I was talking with a co-worker, and I made an off-the-cuff remark about a member of senior management.  Even though I was joking, my co-worker thought I was dead serious.  And I apparently caused him some distress. 

Later that day, I got the call.   You guessed it, my remark had quickly made its way up the ladder.  And I had some explaining to do.  Continue reading →

How Do You Spend the First Four Minutes at Work?

Susan DiMickele - WorkWe’ve been talking about the Four Minute Rule on the Working Mom’s Devotional.  Simply put, the first four minutes of a human encounter form an impression.  We make up our minds about people in the first four minutes.  Period.  This is true with our families, friends, and even our coworkers.

So I got to thinking.  How do I spend my first four minutes at work?

It’s not a pretty sight.  Continue reading →

How To Deal With A Sexist Jerk

A female lawyer recently complained to me about the sexist conduct of her male opponent.
“He is treating me like his secretary!  Right in front of my client!  I’ve never been so embarrassed in all my life.  He actually asked me to make copies for him because his secretary was gone for the day.  Then he made some joke about how I’m young enough to be his daughter.  I wanted to slap him, but of course I had to keep my cool in front of my client.  But mark my words, when this case is over I am going to send him an email and let him have it!”

I listened with interest and shook my head.  I’ve been in her shoes before.  Too many times.  (In my early years of practice, I actually remember wanting a few gray hairs.)

She continued, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” Continue reading →