Laurie Taylor Column

September 9, 2005

From : Jamie Targett. Director of Corporate Relations

To : All Heads of Departments

Subject : Post-Vacation Realignments

Recent research by management consultants Grunt and Fardel (2005a) suggests that commitment to ongoing goals in the business environment may be adversely affected by "holiday hangover". It appears that 92 per cent of those returning from vacation persist in maintaining inappropriate "holiday values" within the workplace for up to five days after returning to their desks. In order to counter these tendencies, the researchers suggest a variety of "holiday termination" techniques. These are listed below and should be implemented without delay:

Holiday behaviours . Heads of department should actively discourage holiday-related non-normative workplace behaviours such as gratuitous smiling, dysfunctional postponements of work, and post-lunch narcolepsy (the "siesta effect").

Holiday conversation . Heads should also ensure that staff refrain from distracting holiday-related conversations. Examples include: "There's this wonderful place on the beach where they only do grilled fish"; "Provided you're drinking really good wine, you don't get a hangover"; and "People were still coming into our restaurant to eat at nearly midnight". This ban extends to holiday greetings (" Ciao ", " Hola " and " Salut ") as well as such non-goal oriented expressions as " mañana " (Spanish) " c'est la vie " (French) and "stuff this for a game of toy soldiers" (UK).

Holiday clothes . All staff should be discouraged from wearing anything with a sartorial resemblance to holiday clothing. The following are specifically embargoed: shorts, primary-coloured T-shirts and comic hats with vulgar legends.

Holiday postcards . These have served their initial interactional purpose and should be immediately removed from all notice boards in order to reduce the dissonance between the favourable environments they typically display and normal working conditions within British universities.

The full implementation of these "termination techniques" should ensure that all memory of the brief period of freedom experienced during the holiday period is speedily obliterated in favour of a renewed commitment to this university's strategic goals and core values.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

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