Workplace Thanksgiving

I love this time of year. Thanksgiving is next week and it’s my favorite holiday. Families travel to be with family without the stress of getting gifts or celebrating anything but a good meal and the company of loved ones. They tell each other new stories, the same stories, hear about highlights and lowlights, and do it all in a safe environment without any real agenda. I’ve been told that the tradition of gathering together for a meal is not only a universal one but also one that we’ve practiced generation after generation. For many, this can be the only time of the year that we get together with our extended families and friends. It’s a special time.

There is a reason I am writing about Thanksgiving this week and not next. In the context of the workplace, every ‘event’ seems to have an explicit business purpose. Even social events are designed around a business purpose – a team building session (so we can work together better), a networking lunch (so we can meet new colleagues), a Holiday Party (so we can celebrate an end of year), and so on.

It seems troubling and ironic that we rarely have the “Thanksgiving Event” with our work families – the people that we engage with more than another other set of people . An event where the purpose is just to sit, eat, tell stories, and hear about highlights and lowlights in a safe environment. If you are in a leadership role in your organization,  I encourage you to plan an event for later this week or next week to leverage a time-honored tradition–meal sharing–without a business objective. Do it to get to know your work families just because they are people.

I love this time of year. Thanksgiving is next week and it’s my favorite holiday. Families travel to be with family without the stress of getting gifts or celebrating anything but a good meal and the company of loved ones. They tell each other new stories, the same stories, hear about highlights and lowlights, and do it all in a safe environment without any real agenda. I’ve been told that the tradition of gathering together for a meal is not only a universal one but also one that we’ve practiced generation after generation. For many, this can be the only time of the year that we get together with our extended families and friends. It’s a special time.

There is a reason I am writing about Thanksgiving this week and not next. In the context of the workplace, every ‘event’ seems to have an explicit business purpose. Even social events are designed around a business purpose – a team building session (so we can work together better), a networking lunch (so we can meet new colleagues), a Holiday Party (so we can celebrate an end of year), and so on. It seems troubling and ironic that we rarely have the “Thanksgiving Event” with our work families – the people that we engage with more than another other set of people . An event where the purpose is just to sit, eat, tell stories, and hear about highlights and lowlights in a safe environment. If you are in a leadership role in your organization,  I encourage you to plan an event for later this week or next to leverage a time-honored tradition, meal sharing, without a business objective to get to know your work families just because they are people.

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