March 14, 2008




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      My older sister would be mortified. She wouldn’t have a Slinky, Etch-a-Sketch, toy, or—heaven forbid, a squirt gun—on her office desk.

     However, the AP article I read in the late 1990s stated: “America’s office workers are getting in touch with their inner child. At their desks and computers, they are playing with toys—Slinkys…Etch-a-Sketch key chains…and squirt guns.”

     My sister follows rules for office propriety, and always warned me to act appropriately when I visited her workplace. As if I wouldn’t consider that it was her workplace, and be considerate of that fact. But her life, with its years of stress, has had the child wrung out of it. She’s lost the child within her. Unlike me, who has simply never exited childhood, as those who know me can attest to.

     “Workers—and yes, even some bosses—have found that toys in the office add smiles and reduce stress.” People are “straining to be individual in a cubical jungle.”     Monte, as a pastor, doesn’t work in a “cubicle jungle.” Nevertheless, he discovered the benefits of “breaking out of the box” of “workplace propriety.”

     When I took an extended trip to New England in 1996, I left twenty-plus gifts for Monte, to be given to him by various church and neighborhood persons.

     One of these gifts was a smiley-face tie.

     This was not his style, but to my surprise he wore it.

     Lo and behold, he discovered the tie brought smiles, comments and even new attitudes from the people he related to as he went about his workday activities—the shut-in. The over-worked peer. His congregants. The children.

     Today he intentionally wears interesting ties. He’s learned they are conversation ice-breakers, and people watch to see what they can comment on. Church members and others occasionally add to his collection.

     Tension relievers. Conversation breakers. Individualism. All themes becoming lost in today’s workaday world.

     But all is not lost. There is hope. People will find ways to break out of the box.

     The human imagination finds ways to survive even in desperate circumstances.

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  1. Layoffs and other work force reductions have left so-called survivors with increased workloads and other challenges, according to a survey of 4,400 workers by Nearly half of the workers said they have taken on more repsonsibility because of a layoff, while 37% said they are handling the work of two people. 34% are sepnding more time at the office, and 22% are working more weekends. It effects the workers personally and in their productivity. How do they remain sane and healthy amid the rising work demands?
    Take time to recharge…prioritize your tasks, using feedback…cut the e-leash (don’t check email or voicemail when on vacation…and I say, don’t do so while on non-work time!!)

    Comment by Carolyn C. Holland — September 1, 2009 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  2. !!!!!!!! GOOOOD TIP …WEAR SOMETHING MORTIFYING !!!!!!!!! Thank You…Joan

    Comment by Joan — April 30, 2012 @ 8:20 am | Reply

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