From now until the end of the year, other dispensers of workplace advice will bombard you with monumentally stupid tips on how to behave at work during the holidays.
I, on the other hand, will not. That's because I respect you as adults and believe you have a mental capacity beyond that of a profoundly concussed wombat.
Throughout the year, I receive emails from public relations companies and publicists offering advice no sane person would ever need to hear:
Don't scream at your boss!
Coming to work naked is bad!
Don't stop breathing during meetings — you might die!
But it's around the holidays when the tips shatter my "duh" meter. This is the season, apparently, for workers to be infantilized.
Bosses and managers do themselves and their companies a great deal of good when they treat employees as intelligent, trustworthy grown-ups. That doesn't mean you don't set rules or boundaries, it just means you don't operate from the perspective of an all-knowing being who must guide his or her people every step of the way, lest they wander into traffic or start sticking their tongues into light sockets.
A pragmatic starting point for employer-employee relationships is simple: "You trust me to make smart decisions; I'll trust you to make smart decisions." From there, good things happen. But if you hear some inane holiday workplace "do's and don'ts" on a television morning show and then distribute that information to your staff, the whole trust things gets thrown into question.
To save the working world from this annual cycle of holiday baloney, I've put together a definitive list of things you absolutely, positively should not ever do at work during the holidays. It is, of course, ridiculous — even more ridiculous than the nonsense doled out as serious advice.
And that's the idea. If you must give your employees tips on what to do and not do at work during the holidays, please give them these. Then at least they'll know you're joking.
Tips for Christmas aka 'The Holidays'
■At the office holiday party, please refrain from drinking alcohol through funnels and then Xeroxing any portions of your anatomy or the anatomy of your co-workers. Do not run naked through the hallways or share your most intimate secrets with colleagues who aren't quite sure which department you work in. Don't throw up in your supervisor's ficus, and don't ask the company president if you can "crash" on her or his couch.
■If you celebrate Christmas, do not set up a live nativity scene in the conference room or parade around the office dressed as a shepherd yelling, "My religious celebration is superior to yours!" while wearing an oversized foam No. 1 finger.
■Do not bring fruitcake into the office. Ever. Just don't do it. Nobody likes it, and nobody likes the people who like it. Your cubicle walls are actually made of reprocessed fruitcake. Seriously. You keep that fruitcake to yourself, weirdo.
■Saying, "See you next year!" on New Year's Eve day is a fireable offense.
That pretty well covers things. If you're a boss or manager, just ship this list out to your employees and rest easy knowing the holiday season do's and don'ts are covered.
You'll feel good, they won't feel insulted and everyone can get back to work.
Rex Huppke writes about workplace issues for the Chicago Tribune.