Did you forget that December 23rd is the official holiday of Festivus? It is the one day a year to air your grievances! So, I will take a few minutes to air mine.
But first a little history of Festivus.
Festivus was conceived by author and editor Daniel O’Keefe, the father of TV writer Dan O’Keefe, and was celebrated by his family in the 1960’s. Dan O’Keeffe used his own experiences as a writer on Seinfeld and helped create one of the most memorable holiday shows of all time.
The holiday was portrayed in a Seinfeld episode in December of 1997.
There are a couple of key aspects to Festivus: the pole, the “Airing of Grievances” and the “Feats of Strength.”
The pole – a plain aluminum rod – substitutes for a Christmas tree, and it requires no decoration (tinsel is “distracting,” Frank Costanza says). The Airing of Grievances is a time when people can tell others about how they have disappointed them over the past year. As Frank says, “I got a lot of problems with you people!” The Feats of Strength take place at the end of the Festivus celebration (“Festivus isn’t over until you pin me”), and it consists of a wrestling match between the head of the household and whomever he or she selects to wrestle with.
And There Are Miracles, Too
In the episode, Kramer twice mentions the “Festivus miracle.” It is the same idea as a “Christmas miracle,” although the Festivus miracles turn out to be the opposite of what the recipient wants. Well, just go watch the episode for clarity on this….
Since its airing over 20 years ago, wider adoption of the faux holiday has occurred. This includes:
During the Baltimore Ravens run to the Super Bowl Championship in 2000, Head Coach Brian Billick superstitiously issued an organizational ban on the use of the word “playoffs” until the team had clinched its first postseason berth. ”Playoffs” was instead referred to as “Festivus” and the Super Bowl as “Festivus Maximus”.
In 2005, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle was declared “Governor Festivus”, and during the holiday season displayed a Festivus Pole in the family room of the Executive Residence in Madison, the state capital. Governor Doyle’s 2005 Festivus Pole is now part of the collection of the Wisconsin Historical Museum.
In 2016, US Senator Rand Paul (not one of my favorite Senators) released a special Festivus edition of The Waste Report. The Festivus “airing of grievances” has become an annual tradition for Paul on Twitter.
In 2016, the Tampa Bay Times became the first newspaper to allow readers to submit Festivus grievances through its website, with the promise to publish them on December 23, the day of the Festivus holiday.
In Pittsburgh, an annual public Festivus celebration has been held since 2005, featuring live bands, a Seinfeld trivia contest, and the holiday traditions. In 2017, the Pittsburgh City Paper called its 13th iteration “the longest-running celebration of Sein-Culture in the ‘Burgh”. Unfortunately this year’s “festivities” are cancelled due to COVID.
Now it is time for me to air my (mostly) HR/workplace grievances for the year!
First, if you’re working and collecting a paycheck…stop complaining. You’re better off than many folks and no one wants to hear it. Be grateful and give back to others less fortunate any way you can.
Typos, stop telling me about my typos. No one notices or really cares.
Expecting me to get fully dressed for a Zoom call…really?
Why do you need to buy so many rolls of toilet paper during COVID?
Can the cable news stations report the news instead of trying to be the news?
Scheduling meetings on Fridays at 4pm.
Sending me work emails on Sunday morning.
Calling me about work after dinner.
Calling me about work during dinner.
Calling me about work when I am not working….
Texting me to tell me not to call and text instead, and then calling me??? (WTF)
Assigning me more work because I get stuff done when others have nothing to do.
Telling me I am not qualified to be a full time Professor because I lack a PhD, when I teach every HR class at the University as a Senior Adjunct (and yes, I am enrolled for a Doctorate in 2021 so stop).
Passing on me for a position because I am “overqualified” when you just want someone less expensive or threatening to your own position.
Stating HR is the problem when you are afraid to deal with your own issues. Own it.
CFO’s who think they know more than me or you about HR (sorry you do not…not even close).
Inviting me and then disinviting me to your program because your overbooked and do not view me as an immediate revenue stream (I wrote about that in my Table 19 post a while back on FOT and you know who you are).
Asking me my opinion when you already made up your mind.
Wasting my time because you think it is your time.
Trying to have a full conversation with me during the last 2 minutes of a close NY Giants football game and expecting me to respond.
Forgetting to invite me to be a guest on your podcast (Ha! you can still make it up to me in 2021).
I will skip wrestling Ed Baldwin or William Wiggins in the “feats of strength” category, the only two FOT’rs even close to my weight class We will just assume I won the match and we are moving on to 2021!
So now it is your turn to air your grievances, go ahead put them in the comment section. It will make you feel better, at least while airing them.
It has been a tough year and you all deserve a little catharsis.
And to all, Happy and Safe Holidays. See you on FOT next year!!!!
Mark Fogel is best known for his HR with an Attitude. His background includes almost a decade and a half as CHRO at Leviton Mfg., The Marcum Group, and The Success Academy Charter School Network, as well as co-founding Human Capital 3.0, a boutique HR advisory firm. Mark has been honored by SHRM nationally as their Human Capital Leader of the Year in 2007, and by HR Executive Magazine as an Honor Roll recipient in 2010 and “Best HR Ideas” in 2012. His HR teams have garnished numerous national and local awards for HR innovation, wellness, and employee engagement. Mark speaks regularly at national conferences. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi’s Graduate School of Business.