Say what you want about this generation, but I'll tell you one thing, they don't know how to truly take a vacation. Or, maybe it's just pr, or maybe a combination of both.
I always get nervous when an employee goes on vacay and can't unplug. Our rule is, leave a travel memo. Others will pick up the baton, go away, unplug! BUT, not a lot of unplugging going on these days. And that's what makes me nervous, because at some point the people, they crack. And look, I don't want them cracking on me...
When an employee tells me they are sleeping with their crackberry it is cause for MAJOR concern. At that point we're months if not weeks away from a meltdown. Sleep with your husband, your teddy bear, your daydreams, not your mechanical device.
But I digress...
Vacation is meant to be a time away, free from thoughts of kith or kin (as a friend recently told me). It's not meant to be work in a pretty setting. So, young people, go, go and relax. I need you back in one mental piece. Lol.
I'm on the board of an incredible charity, charity:water. They raise money to build wells all over the world. There are 1 billion people without access to clean water right now. Shocking, but true.
We've been doing pro bono pr for them over the past few years and I noticed an interesting heartening thing regarding my staff and their desire to support the charity - they were FULL ON into it. We're a super busy office and doing anything pro bono is tough. There were times when I let them know we could pull back from this "account." They would have none of it, and in fact fought to keep that relationship alive.
Recently, one of my top people went on hiatus to the east and on her return was looking for a job. I put her up for a position at the charity and apparently everyone is happy with the fit. Another employee recently left to pursue more philanthropic work. I think it's a trend. And though I hate to see them go, I get it. Today's employee pool is seeing their life differently. Money isn't everything, is it? I do believe it's good to give at the office, even when it means your staff. Lol!
There was a song with a catchy little phrase about "short shorts" written in the 50's or 60's and used for a commercial at some point that could have been written about my office this summer. With a staff that literally includes a bevy of beauties (plus an army of interns) what's a biz owner to do when EVERYONE shows up in very short shorts? I had a little pow wow and explained that yes it was 100 degrees outside, but still this IS a business. We DO have clients coming in for meetings and NO I don't want to project the wrong image, because we ARE a strategic public relations firm and we take ourselves seriously. I'm just hoping others do too. Honestly. But after my pow wow the shorts just kept on coming. And if it wasn't the shorts then it was the show of short dresses, of which I am a culprit. When asked if the dress my associate was wearing was Philip Lim I was told, no it's Haute Hippie. Of course it is! Anyway, it is what it is. These ladies are going to do what they want when it comes to dressing, just so long as they get their work done and keep the clients happy, who cares if they look a little too cute for their own good? So short shorts, bring 'em on. It's summer, after all!
When I started in business the general assumption was that one would get a fair wage for a fair day's work. That day ended at 5PM. Period. Of course, I was entry level and living in Miami-which is not New York, meaning most people leave at a "normal" hour. When I did move to NYC and I was in a new entry level job (one often needs a reinvention) my hours expanded, dramatically. This was a working town and if you weren't here to work, what the heck were you here for anyway?
So, work I did. Along the way, I found out that I was pretty darned ambitious. A town like this will reward the diligent., try it and see, it works. Work, work, work. For goodness sake. And those who worked for me worked too. It was INTENSE. I'm in the communications business and like the town that never sleeps, pr never stops. Especially with crackberries.
But lo! in the past 2 years I've begun to experience a sea of change. My staff isn't necessarily working less (the DEFINITELY don't think they are) but things are shifting. The urgency associated with our business still exists, but somehow it feels less urgent. One of the biggest signposts of change is my acceptance of "shorthand." Everyone from the client to the associate is "tightening" things up. Maybe because time is "tighter". Maybe because our lexicon has been reduced to letters and not words - lol. Honestly, I don't know what's going on, but I'm fascinated. So, I think I'll dedicate this blog over the next few months to reflect on "observations from the office." Unfortunately, my staff will be the guinea pigs, but things could be worse. They have a pretty kick butt summer schedule. Lol.
When I was working at a NYC agency years ago I was seeing someone in LA. Conjuring up trips to the west coast wasn't so hard. Many of our clients were tied to the entertainment industry, so there was always a "need" to book them on shows like "Entertainment Tonight" or manage some Hollywood sponsorship. I became intimately familiar with the dreaded Red Eye in order to spend "just a few more hours" with my man. It was actually romantic, if not a tad bit heartbreaking (ok, off topic!)
Anyway, I was traveling a lot and I was always being put up at fancy hotels (there is no going back friends). By contrast my team is open to all kinds of travel adventures! While they enjoy the nicer amenities I've had them opt into staying at the Holiday Inn - just to go and make it happen. They do their own hotel deals on the side so they can stay longer, "to get the job done."
Ok, do I sound naïve or what? Do they have their own romantic interests that motivate them to take to the skies? Who knows, not my business. All I care about is that they get it done. And so far they are - getting it done.