Taking Care of Business

For years, comedy has hit hardest in poking fun at the workplace. From catching a case of “The Mondays” in “Office Space” to the Jell-O based antic of Jim Halpert in “The Office,” there’s just something about poking fun at when our workplace is at its worst.


jim-the-officeBut for Great Work Cultures, it’s no laughing matter. This non-profit company noticed a recent Gallup poll stated that 70 percent of employees feel disengaged and planed to change the corporate mindset. They aspire to put a positive spin on the workplace by injecting it with a new norm of respectful workplace cultures to help boost worker effectiveness and happiness. And they’ve gotten some serious response.
This month, The Morning Star Packing Company became the lead supporting champion for Great Work Cultures. Morning Star, a tomato packing company, made it a point to practice a deeply respectful management system that caused them to be selected as the Management Innovator of the Year.

morningstar_large“As a Champion of Great Work Cultures, I hope to see business philosophies based on a bedrock of mutual respect go mainstream and maximize harmony and prosperity in the workplace,” stated Chris Rufer, Morning Star’s founder.

And Morning Star’s efforts have paid off. Last year one of their processing plants had a 100 percent return of their seasonal workers.

Rufer also says that they’ve made a commitment to values that allow for a self-managed workplace environment, or each colleague manages their mission absent directives from others.

“These values set the stage for working with fellow colleagues, customers, suppliers, and industry participants within a framework of solid integrity and openness, in pursuit of voluntary and mutually beneficial transactions and relationships.,” he stated. “This is also something we encourage colleagues to adhere to in every other aspect of their lives. This pathway has been very rewarding for us as a company and as individuals.”

But Great Work Cultures also finds innovative ways to tackle the problem of the grueling work week. From utilizing work culture practices like Self-Management, High-Performance Work Places (HPWP), Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), and Holacracy (which Great Work Cultures is using for their governance structure) to using documentaries to show the reality of workplace practices.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out their website at http://www.greatworkcultures.org. And they’ll also be making an appearance at the World Workplace 2014, an expo for all things synergy that’ll be taking place in September.

Five Seasons and a Podcast

This Week Community was Cancelled
This Week Community was Cancelled

Much like slowly watching your favorite uncle pass away, fans of Community finally saw the death of their beloved show last week. As one of those said fans, I wasn’t really as disappointed as I would have expected. After all, shouldn’t five seasons warrant the Five Stages of Loss?

The Five Stages of Loss
The Five Stages of Loss
Even though I’ve seen quite a few sitcoms either get cancelled or end their runs, I don’t think one really gets used to watching their favorite characters and settings walk off the screen.

When Arrested Development was cancelled, I hit that Denial Stage pretty hard, re-watching all three seasons obsessively as if each episode were new (to be fair, it was a show that rewarded such behavior).

Traffic Light - Also Cancelled
Traffic Light – Also Cancelled

Fortunately, I never had to move past that stage, as the show was eventually resurrected by Netflix.

A lesser known sitcom on Fox, Traffic Light was cancelled after a short first season. I was and still am in the Anger Stage on this one. It was just too short. I can’t even re-watch this show on Netflix, because…it’s…just…errrr. Too soon.
30 Rock’s end, although sad, was much more about the Bargaining Stage. I convinced myself that this would allow Tina Fey to be in more movies and eventually create 200 more brilliant sitcoms. Or at least two for now.
Although the post-Steve Carell seasons left something to be desired, the end of The Office left me in a state that was as close to the Depression Stage as any sitcom could ever create. It was just so good for so long that not having it left a hole in my sitcom viewing schedule that none have quite been able to fill since.
But for all the possible stages of grief, the loss of Community some how skipped the first four and landed smoothly into Acceptance. I share many sentiments with Time’s James Poniewozik, as the show’s run produced many more great moments and episodes than a show of its specificity and unique voice should have been allowed on a major network. If I were to relate it to food, it was a great three course meal, with two bonus courses. Sure the fourth course needed more salt and appeared to be created by a different chef, but at least the fifth course brought back some cohesiveness that reminded you of why you decided to eat at that restaurant to begin with.

However, for me, the reason I don’t feel any loss is primarily because the creator of Community, Dan

Dan Harmon
Dan Harmon

Harmon, has a weekly live show/podcast called Harmontown. Normally, we relate and attach ourselves to shows because we’re connecting with the creator/showrunner’s vision. However, this vision is generally filtered through a room of other writers, producers, network executives, and sometimes preferences of advertisers.

Not with Harmontown. The podcast gives fans an authentic taste of Dan Harmon, for better or worse. And at this point in my life, an unfiltered 90-minute podcast that I can listen to during my commute is more valuable to me than a 22-minute network sitcom.
There’s something freeing about the format and knowing that Dan is being Dan; knowing that there’s nobody looking over his shoulder, editing content, or suggesting material. Without actually doing the research to back it up, it’s also liberating to think that this type of entertainment was probably the only form hundreds (thousands?) of years ago. When there were no “shows” or “performances” other than conversations about one’s day fishing, hunting, or courting a sexy cavewoman (or man). It feels as if life is coming around, completing a Joseph Campbell-esque story circle
Granted, I realize without Community there would be no Harmontown, but people evolve, tastes change, and you learn to accept things that you wouldn’t have accepted three years ago. And given that the nature of podcasts allow a certain freedom, fortunately we’ll never have to worry about Harmontown being cancelled by anyone other than Dan Harmon.