December 2012  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

“A writer doesn't solve problems. He allows them to emerge.”

—Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Word Pair of the Month: learn, teach

These are powerful words, both referring to information, but sometimes they are misused. While the verb teach means to give knowledge, the verb learn means to receive it. (If you teach them, they will learn.)

Examples:

Please teach (not learn) me the new entry procedures.
Jim taught (not learned) me the old codes by mistake.

December Writers’ Forum Question

Does your business do anything special at the holidays to reward employees or somehow let them know they are valued? We’d love to hear what different employers do for their staff at this special time of year.

We had quite a few responses to this one, and most of them mentioned the usual bonus check. But many offices add a festive touch to this valued tradition. For example, Chuck Williams of a Boston firm writes:

We have the usual bonus checks, based on our years with the company and our performance, but we don’t just stick them in a mail cubby. They’re presented at a nice catered luncheon, which is attended by all the top officers. They express their appreciation for the employees’ hard work before the checks are distributed, and I think that means almost as much to our people as the checks do. Almost.

From what we can gather, the typical holiday office party runs the gamut from simple drinks after work to huge blowouts. Miami CEO Bill Taylor boasts an event that really tops the charts:

Despite the general economic climate, our office had a good year last year. So we rented a yacht and held the holiday party during a four-hour cruise on Biscayne Bay. It was a huge hit, and we are doing it again this year. We do ask employees to kick in $10 a person, but the office covers the rest, and it’s a great party for the money.

We got a kick out of this next holiday tradition sent in by Dan Kawatski of Milwaukee:

Our office rents part of a local bowling alley for a holiday party. Our families are invited, and we enjoy an evening of cosmic bowling, with food catered by the alley’s restaurant. Everyone comes, including the top echelon, and we all enjoy losing the ties and having silly fun together.

We even heard from across the sea. Londoner Preeti Kapur sent us this note:

We have a small advertising office that specializes in promoting various theatricals. Logically, our holiday party is keyed to our work: We are treated to a matinee of one of our client shows, and afterward we enjoy a lovely dinner. Everyone looks forward to this holiday jaunt.

A Final Thought

As our forum answers indicate, many companies provide holiday office parties. Here are a few etiquette tips for such occasions:

  • Check the invitation or party information to see if you may bring a guest before doing so.
  • Dress appropriately. If the party takes place during the workday, dress for work but add a little glitz. Evening events usually call for party attire.
  • Socialize (and network). If you want to leave early, move through the room first, saying hello to people from other departments as well as your own. Then slip out.
  • Don’t overdo the drinking. Keep your wits about you and behave courteously.

Finally, always send a thank-you note afterward to your employer and to those who organized the party. It will be appreciated.

From all of us at UpWrite Press, we wish you a warm, wonderful holiday season and a bright, profitable 2013.

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