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Get Your Halloween Out of My Face!

Get Your Halloween Out of My Face!
    Is this "eye" evil enough for you?

    I know some people love Halloween, but can we keep it out of the office?

    This is not to say that you can’t go out and have all the drunken, costumed fun you want with your friends after hours — I just don’t want to deal with it at work.

    Remember, we’re not friends — I’m just barely tolerating you for 8-9 hours a day, and if I win the lottery, I’ll be flipping you off on my way out the door. I don’t want to be the killjoy, but it’s just that I think there’s no joy in this to start with.

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    Why?

    Really?!

    Hmmm — let me think…

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    #1: “I wish I could forget.”

    Putting aside all the inappropriate costumes which I’m not addressing here, because I think the problem with those is obvious, there’s still plenty more who dress up on Halloween in the office, and there are consequences for doing so. Namely, we remember, or more accurately– we can’t forget. Seriously I wish people would think these things through:

    • When the 300 lb. nerd comes in a skin-tight Superman costume, there’s just no “unremembering” that. That was two years ago, and yet every time he sends out an email, I still think of the comment “I guess Doritos are his Kryptonite.” Even when I’m looking you in the eye all I can see is your junk in spandex.
    • Clowns. There is nothing in America more polarizing than clowns. Some people love them, some people hate and fear them. Do you really want to take the chance that your boss or your boss’s boss is a clown-hater, and that you’ll be condemned to dead-end work for the rest of you time at the company?

    And it’s not just coworkers you need to consider before coming in looking like a fool. Last year we were desperately trying to hire someone, and no one thought that calling them into interview on the costume day was a problem. Two of the people interviewing were in full, ridiculous costume. The person never returned our calls after. When I pointed this out, I was told the costumes let them know “what a fun office we are”, which is problematic because:

    • We were going to expect that person to work very hard initially to catch up, so we needed a serious, motivated person.
    • We’re not a fun office. We’re the opposite of fun– we’re overly political, nitpicking, backbiting, gossiping jerks, and that’s just my boss. And one day of costumes doesn’t make us any less awful.

    Finally, a meeting on Halloween is half straight and half scary, so it looks like when The Addams Family visits their neighbors.

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    #2: The Enthusiasm Gap

    There’s always an enthusiasm and creativity gap at the office Halloween party. Some people go way over the top, and others phone it in. Two years ago one of the managers criticized people who didn’t put much effort into costumes. Really. Where in our job descriptions does it say we have to have good costumes? “Oh, I see here that you have an engineering degree from MIT, but what was your costume last year?”

    My biggest concern is that our job performance should not be judged by our costumes. Any attempt to correlate effort in costume to success at work is ridiculous and insulting. The boss who criticizes someone for not being in the spirit ends up sounding like the restaurant manager in Office Space complaining that she has only the minimum pieces of flair. We have enough lazy, stupid people not pulling their weight, so it’s a bad idea to encourage them to divert what little effort they actually put into the job into picking out a costume.

    And don’t get me started on when they give out a prize like getting a paid day off FOR THE BEST COSTUME. How about a paid day off for working all weekend on the presentation that won a new client? Or for working late for two weeks to launch a project that had to meet a ridiculous deadline, especially considering none of us get overtime?

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    But the thing that always makes my case about how ridiculous things have gotten is the voting for Best Costume. Because that’s when it all goes horribly wrong. When the shy girl wears the same costume as the popular girl, but the popular girl puts almost no effort in and still gets more votes. It always happens. Priceless.

    And then there’s the cruelty. One year a few people voted for an annoying coworker who wasn’t in costume and he won for his “douche costume”. It may have been deserved, but it was mean. And the people who put on earnest costumes and made an effort were mad because the prize didn’t go to them, which it should have. I almost regret what I did.

    So, in conclusion…

    Halloween in the office is great if you want to see your coworkers dressed up, spend way too much time competing for something that won’t help us go home on time, or if you’re into something that creates new opportunities for favoritism and hurt feelings.

    Let’s just skip it and save all our resentment and hatred for the work that pays the bills.

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

    More About Living a Fulfilling Life

    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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