It’s Like “Groundhog Day” At The Office

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If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you know that I watch a couple classic Christmas movies every year: Christmas Vacation and Scrooged. Come January when it’s time to put away the Christmas tree, I always fit in Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.

If you are not familiar with this movie, get familiar, it is a Bill Murray classic about a reporter who keeps reliving Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Watching a few days ago, I realized that sometimes, our offices can be a lot like Groundhog day.

I’ve been in HR over 10+ years and I see some stuff over and over again:

  • Arrogance – Unfortunately, I’ve seen this across all ages, professions and socioeconomic background. There are people who think they know everything and treat those “below them” like second class citizens. It’s a virus that finds far  too many welcoming organizations 
  • Lack of Common Courtesy– I’m not sure what happens to some people but they enter an office and they treat it like their own home. They take their shoes off, microwave fish in the breakroom, managers yell at their employees to come to their office, etc… I could write a whole blog post on this but you get the picture. Be extra nice to people at the office, it isn’t your house and your mom isn’t cleaning up after you. 
  • Taking jokes too far. I love to laugh. I love it when people are comfortable enough around each other to crack jokes and make fun of each other. BUT I’ve also seen one too many complaints of jokes going too far. Here’s a hint: if someone tells you “that’s not funny” or if they ASK you to stop making a joke please do so. If you ignore them it’s not going to end well.
  • Promoting Someone Because of Their Expertise –  This happens in every function. The assumption is that someone who is an expert at their job will make an excellent team leader. That isn’t always true. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager and that’s okay.

And that’s the short list of stuff I’ve seen happen over and over again in organizations.

And Now Back to Groundhog Day

Living in Cleveland, I know that I’m going to see another 6 weeks of winter, regardless if that rodent sees his shadow or not. Just like working in HR I know that some of this stuff will continue to come up over and over again, it’s human nature.

The great thing is that sometimes this repetitive nature helps us hone our skills and instincts. By the end of February 20 degrees and “only” 3 inches of snow is no reason to panic. And its similar in HR. As these situations come up, we get better and better at figuring out if we should laugh, cry or consult with an employment attorney!

One thought on “It’s Like “Groundhog Day” At The Office

  1. That movie is one of my all time favs! A fantastic metaphor for the drudgery we endure in our daily lives, and the struggle to evolve. It’s unfortunate that we have to deal with so much nastiness in the workplace, and that there’s a continuing need for lawyers and HR training sessions on harassment and discrimination. But I think the point is, as illustrated in this piece, regardless of this daily struggle, we still have daily opportunities to become better people—at least some of us do. Thanks for sharing this.

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