No more par­ties, get back to busi­ness

CityPress - - Business - Muzi Kuzwayo busi­ness@city­press.co.za Kuzwayo is the founder of Ig­ni­tive, an ad­ver­tis­ing agency

Al­ways re­mem­ber that you can get fired for the weird and won­der­ful things you do at the com­pany Christ­mas party.

If you know that you’re the kind of per­son who loses the bat­tle against the bot­tle, it’s best to just show up for the food, smile at the good and the great, and then head home, es­pe­cially if you’re new to the world of work.

It is crim­i­nal what we are do­ing to our young peo­ple. We’ve re­moved re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion at schools, yet we ex­pect them to be­have morally in their adult life. No one teaches them ethics any more, and then we act sur­prised when they be­have like dogs on heat.

The world has changed, and what some peo­ple once con­sid­ered to be sex­ual perks are now of­fences that can lead to jail time.

When I be­gan my first job in ad­ver­tis­ing, the sec­re­taries were young, the par­ties were big and the al­co­hol was free.

I ar­rived early one morn­ing, as all in­terns must do, to make pho­to­copies in prepa­ra­tion for a meet­ing. The copy ma­chine was out of pa­per, so I du­ti­fully loaded it.

Be­fore I even had a chance to push the “copy” but­ton, the ma­chine started spit­ting out a back­log of ma­te­rial.

I re­alised that some­one hadn’t fin­ished their pho­to­copy­ing.

I looked at the pages and, to my shock, I saw some­thing that was sup­posed to be kept far way from my pim­pled face.

Some peo­ple had climbed onto the pho­to­copy ma­chine and copied parts of their bod­ies that should never be seen by the public.

There had been a party the pre­vi­ous night, and ap­par­ently the af­ter­party was hot­ter.

A pair of an­i­mal­print stock­ings had been left be­hind in the fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor’s of­fice and, need­less to say, there was no need to guess who they be­longed to.

No one was fired. In fact, no one un­der­stood why I was shocked.

A few weeks later, the head of depart­ment went into the women’s toi­lets with the wife of the big boss. When they came out, they had swapped clothes.

Even in my green­est naivety, I couldn’t be­lieve the head of depart­ment’s short-sight­ed­ness.

He was fired spec­tac­u­larly.

By the time I got to man­age­ment level, I had be­come im­mune to shock and I was deaf to the Fri­day morn­ing gos­sip. I knew that our clients were usu­ally wilder than the peo­ple I worked with and I had also re­alised that they came to the agency to let off steam – among other things.

They al­ways hung around with their col­leagues and, when the lights were dimmed, they dis­ap­peared into the dark­ness.

What I was not ready for, how­ever, was a col­league com­ing over to warn me in case a client com­plained.

The warn­ing was pre­cip­i­tated by an in­ci­dent con­cern­ing one of our staff mem­bers drunk­enly thank­ing a client for hold­ing his hand when he was new to the in­dus­try.

The client ap­pre­ci­ated the com­ment, and they laughed about all that had hap­pened while our staff mem­ber was learn­ing.

They then went to the bath­room. As they both stood at the uri­nals, the staff mem­ber started cry­ing and said this: “Fank yu, man, fank yu ... fank for de luv, fank yu for hold­ing my hand … I’ll do any fing for yu. You held my hand ... and hold on … I’ll hold yor fing while you pee.”

And he did.

We must re­mem­ber that we need to be­have in a pro­fes­sional man­ner at work at all times.

Just re­mem­ber that you’re not there to find love, but to ful­fil the vi­sion and mis­sion of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The days of un­bri­dled en­ter­tain­ment and or­gan­i­sa­tional binge-drink­ing are his­tory. We need to get back to the good old days of man­ners and deco­rum.

What some peo­ple once con­sid­ered to be sex­ual perks are now of­fences that can lead to jail time

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