Monthly Archives: April 2015

Dog People, Cat People and The Dangers of Factions in the Workplace

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An interesting thing happened the other day on my morning walk with my human partner.  A woman walked toward us with headphones plugged in to some electronic device.  My human partner said “Good Morning” to her, but we received no acknowledgement whatsoever.  My partner said:  “She must not be a dog person.”  Now, I candidly think we both knew her lack of basic courtesy had nothing to do with her dog orientation.  She was simply too plugged in and disconnected from the world around her to see her human and canine neighbors.

The “dog person” comment really got me thinking.  Is the human population divided into “dog people” and “cat people” factions?  While I believe the dog people have it right, I know many canine colleagues who have lived in families with members of the feline persuasion.  They say that their lives are actually enriched by getting a different perspective and that their kitty clan members excel at some activities.  By combining their diverse talents and strengths[FN], they enhance the success of the team.

According to my dictionary, a faction is “a party, combination or clique often contentious, self-seeking, or reckless of the common good.” Sadly, the world is burdened by innumerable manmade factions that prevent people from seeing the perspective and valuable contributions of those who are different.  We hear daily reports of all sorts of factions that are clearly not serving the common good.

Do you have factions in your workplace?  Before you answer “no”, dig a little more deeply into your office culture.  Do you draw lines between the “bean counters” and “the product guys”, or the “old timers” and the “new kids”?  Salaried vs. hourly employees?  Home office vs. the field?   How about a group of men that go to lunch regularly  and never invite their female colleagues to join them?  Do you hold group meetings without including your administrative support? You might answer that the “others” would not be interested in joining you but this would not pass the sniff test to me.  Maybe you are not interested in what they have to say, or worse yet, you don’t want to deal with the new challenges that their ideas or concerns might create.

That’s the danger of factions. You are affirmed by the people around you who share your ideas.   You might not see emerging changes and challenges that none of you know about. When it comes to new perspectives and different ideas you are like the lady walking with the headphones:  plugged in to what you want to hear and tuned out to what’s coming at you.

My challenge to you is to reach outside your comfortable group and include someone who may differ from you.  Ruffle some fur!  Shake things up a little!  You will learn something new.

In this spirit of inclusion I am reaching out to my feline readers and their friends.  Send me a cat photo  to harleys.boxer.briefings@gmail.com, and I will post it in this blog.  I am starting with photos of two of my favorite readers.

Your best friend,

Harley

[FN] We dogs specialize in premises security and personal protection, while the stealthy felines are superior rodent exterminators.

Ms. Bailey

Ms. Bailey

Maximillion

Maximillion

Spring is a time for New Life and Second Chances

Spring is my favorite time of year!  The warmer weather brings longer walks and an explosion of exciting fresh scents.  There is new life everywhere!  On a personal note, Spring was when I joined my human team and got my second chance, my new life.

More about my personal story later but I was recently introduced [1] to another rescue dog that is making the most of her second chance.   Two months ago, Tiki BoN BoN was adopted by a family member of my human partner.  Although Tiki is only seven pounds, she is a working dog in every sense of the word.  She recently launched her own line of canine apparel, her Pup Couture Collection.    She is already taking the canine fashion industry by storm!   Frankly, this smoochy poochy bling is not my cup of kibble[2], but her label is already a “must have” for doggie fashionistas.  I give her two paws up for her canine “can do” attitude and for her ability to leave the past behind and leap forward with her new life.

Tiki BoN BoN

This Spring, strive to let go of past injustices and disappointments and focus on new opportunities for personal growth.  I know how hard this can be.  After nearly six years with a family that raised me from a pup, I was terminated for no reason and left at a strange and frightening place.  I asked myself what did I do wrong?  Was I a bad dog?  I was terrified, angry and heartbroken.  I growled at everyone and paced constantly.  Who would take me into their home, a middle-aged dog with what appeared to be a very bad attitude? When almost all hope was lost, the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society saved me and helped me find my current position.  I am now in a very supportive environment and I am a successful writer. [3]

Do you know someone who needs a second chance?    Do you look at a qualified candidate and wonder what this person did to be out of work or demoted?  Do you assume that someone with great credentials must be a problem employee to be in such a situation?  By the way, it is well know that pure breed dogs are often the most difficult to place at animal shelters – humans assume that no one would give up such a beautiful and valuable dog unless there was a problem.

And if you are the person who is out of work, or in a bad situation, do you blame yourself and ask what you did wrong?  Do you complain to anyone that will listen what a raw deal you got or how your manager is an idiot?  If you are doing this, then you are like I was, growling and pacing, scaring away anyone who might give you a second chance.  Would you hire you?

This Spring, take some advice from a couple of successful rescue dogs, put on your bling,  get out there and sniff out all the new life and opportunities in front of you!

Your Best Friend,

Harley

[1] We met via the Internet.  As I am leash aggressive, a face-to-face meeting was not advised.

[2] I will be launching my own line of neckwear for the working dog later this year.

[3] What makes me a successful writer?  You are reading my blog!