Holiday Strategies: Giving Experiences

Office Party Etiquette

Creative Office Gifts

Holiday Stress

Donate Please

Web Server Lore

Corrections or additions?

This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 15,

1999. All rights reserved.

Workplace Crimes

‘Tis the season for paranoia.

Crime

in the workplaces is on rise, and it seems some people are in the

spirit of taking more than giving this season, says Earl

Bennett,

an attorney with Saul Ewing. "What’s surprising is how often the

workplace embezzlement occurs," he says. "I think most major

employers have experienced some instance of a crime every few years

and the issue becomes how to recover against the employee moneys that

have been stolen, and what the employer should do at the criminal

and civil stages."

"Crimes in the Workplace" is Bennett’s free seminar on

Thursday,

December 16, at 8 a.m. at the Saul Ewing office at 214 Carnegie

Center.

The seminar covers employer responsibilities and rights in cases of

embezzlement or theft, or where employees are convicted of crimes

or accused of violence towards a co-worker. Call 609-452-3133.

When employees misbehave, says Bennett, a company’s greatest weapon

is still the employee manual. "You need a good employee manual

that specifies that employee communication at his or her terminal

is not private property," he says, "and that all of the

property

is that of the employer so there’s no privacy interest that can be

asserted by the employee." An employee may claim that his or her

privacy was violated by an employer snooping through presumably

personal

correspondences, but, says Bennett, "I don’t know any that have

been successful as of yet." The employee handbook should also

clarify that office lockers, desks, and other workspaces are the sole

property of the employer, and therefore, subject to inspection with

reasonable cause.

Top Of Page
Holiday Strategies: Giving Experiences

If good things come in small packages, then perhaps

the best things can’t be wrapped at all. Memories, for example.

Rather than giving tons of bric-a-brac this holiday, give people the

gift of a new experience — a chance to go to a movie, the opera,

or get a massage — says Carol Kivler, a human resources

consultant. "When you give the gift of experiences," she says,

"you give the gift of time for one’s self and I think many people

appreciate that."

It’s also a gift for the gift-giver — a chance to strip away the

commercial clutter and financial burdens and enjoy companionship,

says Kivler, who offers "Stress Busters for the Holiday

Season"

on Friday, December 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Cookie Cottage at 3697

Nottingham Way. Call 609-737-8157.

A human resources consultant for large and small organizations for

12 years, Kivler started her business — Kivler Communications

at 8 Hart Court in Titusville — teaching "Grammar for

Grownups"

and "Writing for Results." She has a BS in business from the

College of New Jersey, Class of 1972, and recently returned to Fordham

University for a master’s in human resources. She recently updated

her workplace lesson plan for the "New Economy" and now she

teaches adapting to change.

"Whether you’re in manufacturing, education, the private or public

sector," she says, "most people in the 21st century are going

to need new skill sets." The most important skills professionals

can have: the ability to be life-long learners, develop resiliency,

and move beyond one’s "comfort zone."

However, during the holidays, Kivler stresses comfort for the busy

professional, and the importance of taking care of oneself. Her advise

to the seasonally frazzled:

Take a mental holiday moment. "Go to one of your

favorite

holiday memories," she says, "and those moments can center

and rejuvenate your spirit."

Shop differently. "Catalogs and online shopping cuts

down on the travel and wear and tear on you," she says.

Relinquish outmoded rituals. Tradition is nice, but if

it’s impractical, set it aside. "As your life circumstances

change,"

she says, "so should your rituals. A woman with two small children

might want to decide on a more simple menu. This could definitely

cut down on stress."

Give experiences. Give certificates to a massage, dinner

out, movie, or theater tickets, instead of the same old presents.

"I have too much," she says. "We all have too much."

Some ideas: tickets to go to Longwood Garden for Sunday, or a gift

certificate for Sunday brunch or for a jazz club, tickets to go to

the theater, or a gift certificate at a good bake shop. "Things

they haven’t done — something new that so you stretch them out

of their comfort zone," she says. "But do it far enough ahead

that they can get it in on their calendar."

Kivler prefers to give her family members and friends the gift

of experience. She still sets up an Easter egg hunt each year for

her grown children; the eggs are stuffed with tickets to concerts,

movies, or coupons for lunch with mom. Her husband started the

tradition

of experiential gift-giving 25 years ago. Most recently, he sent a

limousine to pick her up to take her to the Olive Garden, of all

places.

"It was hysterical," she says.

Sometimes, the best gifts are from the heart, says Kivler. "Write

a promise to spend time with a loved one, or a promise to have dinner

every Thursday with your parents," she says. "It won’t add

to your financial burden, but it will add to your loved one’s

self-esteem."

Top Of Page
Office Party Etiquette

Move away from the punch bowl and stop photocopying

body parts on the Xerox machine. Millennium fever may be upon us,

but a conservative demeanor at this year’s holiday party is essential,

according to Executive Communications Group, Englewood-based

consultants

to Fortune 500 companies. Etiquette is more than a kindness you offer

your fellow friends and colleagues, according to a company press

release;

it’s good business.

"Prepare for the holiday party as if it were a client meeting

or sales pitch," says a company spokesperson. Avoid shop talk,

and even if you are a homebody, try to be worldly just this once and

practice your most thought-provoking lines.

Other ways to be the life of the office party:

Ready yourself with a toast, anecdote, or funny story,

in case you are called upon.

Avoid taboo subjects, such as religion, politics, or

sensitive

business issues, like downsizing rumors.

Limit yourself to one drink.

Dress appropriately. Don’t overdo makeup or extras. A

Santa suit may not be appropriate.

Let your ears work harder than your mouth. Strengthen

your relationships by communicating through the way you listen.

Be positive. Don’t cry in your beer about a bad situation

at work or home.

Focus on the person you’re with. Don’t look at the big

picture, look people in the eyes.

Be prepared to hand out business cards to new

acquaintances.

Follow up on promises to have lunch or call someone in

the New Year.

Top Of Page
Creative Office Gifts

Buying fruitcake for coworkers may be budget-wise, but

it won’t make you friends. Try some other creative, inexpensive gifts

instead. The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central New Jersey

(609-585-8220) has some reasonable ideas:

Gift Baskets. Start with unusual stuff that you can find

at yard sales or in your attic. For avid readers, fill with paperback

books, or for the coffee drinkers, fill with specialty coffee samples

and a couple of coffee mugs. Dollar stores and discount centers are

a good place to find tools, kitchen utensils, and baby items.

Themed gifts. Think of a person’s favorite animal or hobby

and start small. Look off the beaten path in import stores, resale

shops, and flea markets.

Personalized stationery. Create stationery or note cards

by buying white or lightly colored card stock and matching envelopes,

purchase different rubber stamps and colored ink pads, and decorate.

Package in sets of 10 to 20 and tie with a ribbon.

Outdoor gifts. Use plants, pine cones, and old flowerpots

and other things from your garden. Bulbs, such as Amaryllis, in an

old piece of pottery are also nice.

Kitchen creativity. Consider baking cookies, cakes, or

candies.

Flavored spoons. Buy good quality plastic spoons and dip

in melted chocolate, cool, and wrap in cellophane and ribbon, with

a sprig of holly.

Candles. Make your own or scour garage sales.

"As with any holiday season, it is the thought that

counts,"

says Scott Dingwall, director of the CCCS. "A personalized

token can mean more to the recipient than an expensive, generic

gift."

Top Of Page
Holiday Stress

Not surprisingly incidents of domestic violence do not

take a holiday during the festive holiday season. The state’s

Department

of Community Affairs reports that each county operates a 24-hour

domestic

violence hotline and maintains shelters for women and their children

— at no cost.

In addition, a statewide toll-free hotline can refer domestic violence

victims to the appropriate assistance. It is 800-572-7233.

For victims of domestic violence who also are involved in immigration

issues, there is another program — Manavi — run by Union

County

but open to anyone in the state. Its number is 908-687-2662.

Top Of Page
Donate Please

Central Jersey Women’s Network is asking people to

donate

household items to the Providence House/Willingboro Shelter. The

shelter

is the only refuge for victims of domestic abuse in Burlington County.

They are in need of small appliances, dish towels, pot holders,

laundry

baskets, cooking utensils, silverware, mops, brooms, buckets, small

microwave ovens and more. Call 908-281-3119.

Top Of Page
Web Server Lore

Your web server may be more important than you think.

To your external clients, over the Internet, it represents a portal.

But internally, Web-server based architecture may conduct such

important

applications as customer workflow processing — ordering,

provisioning,

and ticketing.

Paul Reeser, technology consultant with AT&T Labs, will discuss

"Performance Planning for Web Servers" at the Princeton

ACM/IEEE

Computer Society meeting on Thursday, December 16, at 8 p.m. at the

Sarnoff Corporation. The meeting is free and refreshments will be

served. Students and their parents are welcome. Reservations are

needed

for the pre-meeting 6 p.m. dinner with the speaker at the Rusty

Scupper.

Call 908-582-7086.

Reeser is an 18-year veteran of AT&T and currently works in the

network

design and performance analysis department in the Advanced

Technologies

Lab. His interests are in the areas of Internet server performance

modeling, distributed IP network scalability analysis, IP platform

performance and reliability engineering, and loss systems with

retrials.

He will discuss end-to-end capacity and performance planning for

Web-based

architectures and present a queuing model for Web servers in

distributed

environments.


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