23 - UTI: A Bad Acronym for a Good Thing

The Zoom CEO has Zoom fatigue and 'tis the season for holiday taboos and missed opportunities to explore the cool and awesome things people around the world celebrate. We talk about 'Understanding Through Inclusion', learn about some holidays, and discuss how organizations can be more inclusive with less perceived risk. Also, Alexa's audio kinda sucks on this one and we're kind sorry. (PS - We're off next week, back in December!)


Release Date: November 2021

[00:00:01] Voiceover: Morning. This podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck up PC compliance-based or Employment Law Podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Tyson: And we had a strict, no alcohol policy, and everybody was like, oh, don't drink HR is here. Meanwhile, I'm like mid crack the beer.

[00:00:25] Alexa: If they're that disengaged before, they're gonna be that disengaged in the office and just be sitting at their desk looking at Facebook. They are going find ways to [bleep].

[00:00:31] Voiceover: This is the People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mackenzie.

[00:00:39] Alexa: What up, Tyson?

[00:00:40] Tyson: Not much. I'm, uh, kind of low energy today, I think.

[00:00:44] Alexa: Oh no, that may make two of us.

[00:00:46] Tyson: Yeah. No, my baby's like been crying just like a lot, just like fuss, just general fussiness. She's going through like a, uh, like a developmental leap, so basically they just wanna like lie on you all day and like suckle and soothe and it's just, it's tiring. I'm exhausted.

[00:01:02] Alexa: That sounds tiring. That sounds exhausting. Well, uh, fun news. Yeah, I feel like the holiday season and the-the daylight saving time is really just starting to hit me so I'm just gonna have to push through the next few weeks of just feeling like, "Oh my God, it's 2:00 PM and I'm already tired." In other news, I found out today that my car is totaled, so that's fun. I have to buy a new car.

[00:01:20] Tyson: How did that even happen?

[00:01:21] Alexa: No, I was-- I mean, I [unintelligible 00:01:22] I was responsible. [crosstalk]

[00:01:24] Tyson: But how'd you not know?

[00:01:26] Alexa: Well, so I got in what I thought was like a really basic fender bender a couple days ago. I was just being an asshole basically. I was just doing too many things, like moving too fast, rushing to this presentation thing I got asked to speak at and I-I just like bumped the back of a bread truck. Like I thought he moved and he didn't move, like, this was in traffic downtown.

[00:01:42] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:01:43] Alexa: And the guy had this like huge hitch on the back of his truck. It was like this big, like rubber box thing. Like it wasn't like a normal trailer hitch. It was like this big ridiculous thing and it-it cracked my front bumper, but like I got out, that guy was fine. It was like a commercial driver. He didn't care at all and I got out and I was like, "Oh, it's just the fender."

Like, this will be fine no big deal, just cosmetic. You know, the little piece that fell off, I threw it in the car and like drove to the meeting and all was fine, and then the next day I couldn't drive the car and my mechanic had to come rescue me and he was like, "It's leaking coolant. You're in trouble." And then he called me two days later and was like, "I think your engine is screwed."

[00:02:17] Tyson: Oh no.

[00:02:17] Alexa: And then the insurance company called me today and was like, "It is your engine, your engine is screwed. We're totaling this, you need to buy a new car." So anybody sell a car, let me know. But that's, yeah, that's my other big bummer news for the day.

[00:02:29] Tyson: That is a bummer.

[00:02:30] Alexa: That, and that I forgot my traveling podcast equipment for the third time. I'm three for three on the road, but I have better headphones with me today, so.

[00:02:36] Tyson: You should just keep it in your suitcase.

[00:02:38] Alexa: It's small I don't know that it's that small. Um, just constantly taking podcast gear on personal-personal-personal trips.

[00:02:45] Tyson: You never know when you're gonna need-- [crosstalk].

[00:02:51] Alexa: [laughs] Oh, I should just maybe leave it by the door though. I'm a very visual person so if you don't-- if I don't-- like if I need to remember something, I will literally put it in front of the door so that I have to like see it to-to leave.

[00:03:01] Tyson: No, I'm I-I understand that with the-the packing diaper bags. Listen to me, I feel like all I have to talk about is my baby. I was saying to a friend I'm like, "I have like the worst social anxiety now 'cause I'm one of those people that like only-- doesn't have anything else to say, except like my baby did this, her diaper did that." Like, I don't know. It's just like [unintelligible 00:03:19]

[00:03:20] Alexa: All right, well, we're gonna break you out of that and we're gonna move to pops in the news.

[00:03:25] Tyson: All right.

[00:03:26] Alexa: Because you have lots more to talk about than baby diapers and developmental phases. I promise.

[music]

So our article today is ironically from- it's from- it's not ironically from the Wall Street Journal, it's from the Wall Street Journal and it is called Even the CEO of Zoom Says he has Zoom Fatigue. So I guess there was-- uh, it's a very short article in the Wall Street Journal. Absolutely, like we'll-we'll share, but absolutely not worth like downloading or anything. And it's, you know, I think it's really much-much of a-a sort of a headline grabber, but it is talking about how CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, [unintelligible 00:04:09] sorry, I don't know how to say his last name and Jamie Dimon who's like, you know, the JP Morgan CEO, were at this Wall Street Journal CEO council summit, and they were talking about how they're just like tired of Zoom. Like they're tired of Zoom meetings and the Zoom CEO said personally experienced Zoom fatigue.

And on the last day-- on one day, last year he had 19 Zoom meetings in a row and he said, quote, "I'm so tired of that", end quote. He said that he no longer books back to back Zoom calls and he said, quote, "I do have meeting fatigue." And then it talks-- it actually just talks about how Zoom is actually planning to go back to the office and how a bunch of these CEOs, Jamie Dimon has been like very vocal about kind of like, "No-no-no, we're going back to the office, kids."

He's been very vocal about that. He thinks it's just bad for client interaction, sort of bad for hustle in general. But there's a couple CEOs that were at this council that I guess are talking about sort of the struggle with like, well, people wanna be hybrid, but we like think it hurts productivity and it hurts collaboration. And then, you know, the article just goes on to say, like, there's gonna sort of be this interesting pull by employers to try to get people sort of back to urban centers and, you know, commuting and, and all these things. So nothing new in this article, but the irony of it being that like the CEO of Zoom was like, um, I have zoom fatigue.

[00:05:26] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:05:27] Alexa: That makes me feel a little better. [chuckles]

[00:05:28] Tyson: I know and so there's like two concepts there. There's Zoom fatigue, which is just like being tired of like being on the video camera all day long, but then there's also like that point that you mentioned there, just about having like back-to-back meetings all the time. So I sort of have of like two different streams of thoughts on that. The company that I work for just basically, like, really promotes not having me- like back to back meetings. So they'll just like, be like, okay, a no-meetings day, which like, people like tend to disrespect or whatever, but like, it's all about like the culture of like, not having meetings for the sake of meetings.

And like, if you have a meeting booked, but then, oh, there's nothing to talk about, like, let's cancel it. Like we don't need to get on and just be like, "Oh, I don't really have any updates." Yeah, me either. Like, okay, and then you just kind of talk away. So like really like trimming down your calendars to like cut out like any useless meetings where there's-- and like not going to meetings that you don't have to be in and like stuff like that, like doing some of that clean up. But on the video front, I don't know why all of a sudden, we all have to be on video all the time like I am--

[00:06:25] Alexa: It's ridiculous.

[00:06:26] Tyson: I'm- I'm over it. Like, I never did that before the pandemic. Like I had virtual relationships, strong virtual relationships, both with colleagues and clients, without having to be on video the whole time. Like chatting on the phone or like over Skype with no video was just as effective for me. Like, yeah, it's- it was like novel at the beginning almost, like, when we could be on video and it was just kind of fun, but like eventually it's like, no, you don't have to do this. Like, I'm a good old fashioned like phone person. I also think it makes people more accessible, so like, if all of a sudden you're like, "Hey, can you chat quickly?" And I'm sitting here like looking like a f- you know, haggard or something. I'm more likely to be like, "Yeah, sure like, no problem." Versus like the stress of being like, oh shit, like if my laundry is hanging behind me and like all this stuff that I need to clean up, like. So there's that.

And then another interesting anecdote that I'll share is just about now that I-- here I am again talking about my baby. So like now that one of those people that has like a kid and I'm trying to talk with the kid. You know when you're like talking to someone and all of a sudden their kid walks in and they start like apologizing profusely and you're like, "Oh, it's okay, like, we can hang up the phone." And they're like, "No-no, it's fine," and they're trying to like shush their kid out. That's like the worst feeling ever when you're trying to like take care of your kid and the person on the phone says like, "Oh, we can just-- we can end the call." I'm like, I feel so bad when that happens now.

Like, so just as sort of like being on the other side of that, 'cause I used to be that person who was always like, "Oh, we can just hang up. We can cut this short blah-blah-blah." Don't do that to the person who's like struggling to hold their kid or to shush their kid away. But not being on video makes that a lot easier as well.

[00:08:00] Alexa: Yeah, yeah.

[00:08:00] Tyson: So like I often say like, "Yeah, I can-I can chat, but I can't chat via video." Like I need to talk audio only 'cause it's just like exhausting to be on video.

[00:08:08] Alexa: Yeah, actually, it was just, it was another Wall Street Journal article that I-I didn't get all the way through, so I didn't use it tonight, but it was talking about how Zoom fatigue disproportionately affects women and new employees. And like of course that's true because those are the- largely the people who I would imagine are more fatigued by being on camera all day. So, you know, I'm super--

[00:08:28] Tyson: 'Cause you're worried about the way you look.

[00:08:29] Alexa: Yeah, you're worried about the way you look- you look, and you're disproportionately judged by the way you look right? New hires are just like trying to make a good impression and-and I think there's some value for new hires 'cause they're trying to, like, they're trying to get your tone. They're trying to see your facial expression and they're trying to like get a little context for you as a person, so I think it's important that they see you on video enough when they start.

But the constant, like I'm with you and I'm-I'm-- you know, I-I run a business where I'm in meetings all day with clients, with investors, with, you know, my team and sometimes it's like, "Guys, like, let-let's just-let's just turn the video off." Like it's okay. Like I've got to the point where I'm like, "No-no, just call my cell phone." Like you- like you get up and walk around and make lunch and I'll get up and walk around and make lunch and we can still have a productive conversation.

[00:09:06] Tyson: I love that. I-I love a good walking meeting. Like when both people are like out for a walk and like you're on your Air Pods, like that's amazing.

[00:09:13] Alexa: And it's way more or distracting when you have like-- I-I have a-a colleague on my team who's-who's-- you know, he's more of a creative type and he's like regularly on the move and you know, I trust that he's getting his work done other times, but like, he'll take a meeting like walking around somewhere that's like, you know, exotic, wherever he's co-working or-or sort of like remote working for the week. And I'm like, it's much more distraction- distracting that you're walking around Downtown Miami right now than, like, just go on the phone. Just be on the phone. I-I like, I don't need to-- I just need to hear--

[00:09:43] Tyson: I don't need a tour of your house.

[00:09:45] Alexa: Yeah, I don't need to feel bad that I'm stuck in cold Boston and you're walking around Miami right now and I don't need to see your face and--

[00:09:50] Tyson: Oh, and that's-that's a whole other thing. That-that just made me think, so that was a whole other thing that sort of came up is you- you know, you have like low level employees that are sitting in like their zero bedroom apartment with like clutter all around them and like, this like shitty little apartment-.

[00:10:04] Alexa: Yeah, with their virtual- their little virtual background trying to hide it.

[00:10:07] Tyson: Right. Trying to hide it, and then you have like, these executives sitting in like this like, dream oasis, like with like nature or sitting at the pool with their like, you know, whatever behind them and like it's like-

[00:10:18] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:10:19] Tyson: -you really feel that like, disconnection. [crosstalk]

[00:10:21] Alexa: Yeah, totally. I also- I thought the other alarming piece of this, and I-I totally get how you get to this point. The other alarming piece of this article was when the guy was like, I had 19 meetings back to back." And it's like, first of all, bro, that's just too many meetings. Like nobody should [crosstalk]--

[00:10:32] Tyson: But he needs to manage that. Yeah, [crosstalk] he needs to manage that.

[00:10:34] Alexa: Yeah, and probably he needs like an executive assistant to help him manage that.

[00:10:36] Tyson: Right.

[00:10:37] Alexa: But the other thing I think that's interesting that kind of falls on this point, is it seems like because you can have a meeting with everybody now, everybody wants to have a meeting. And so it's like, no, no, no. Like, wait-wait a minute. Whoa, just 'cause you can put 30 minutes on my calendar and look me in the face and talk about something, doesn't mean that's the most efficient use of everybody's time, right?

And look, the analog version of this was you'd be in the office, and everyone would walk up to you and be like, "Hey, do you have five minutes?" Or, "Hey, can I- can I bug you about something?" And then you'd also never get fucking anything done. So, that's the other side of the story here, but I just think it's interesting that it's like, "Yeah, I-I probably have more meetings now than I used to," because Zoom has enabled that.

And there are some, like investor meetings and pitches and client talks and some sort of demos or presentations where you're like, "Yeah, it makes sense that you can see my face." And then I'm with you, man. I think we should just go back. There's got-- there should be like a universal code we should start at that you just put in the subject of the invite, that's just like it's okay not to be on video.

[00:11:31] Tyson: Yeah, audio-only.

[00:11:31] Alexa: Like just- like-- yeah, like audio only--

[00:11:32] Tyson: There's something in audio-only video, uh--

[00:11:34] Alexa: Place it in Alexa intro meeting.

[00:11:35] Tyson: Meeting. Yeah, yeah.

[00:11:36] Alexa: Exactly. [crosstalk] Exactly. Like, you know--

[00:11:38] Tyson: Yeah. Good old days.

[00:11:38] Alexa: Like, we warn our guests that we're doing video now, and we do this just so that people can see our personalities. But yeah, like I-I had a meeting this afternoon. It's a recurring, like hour-long meeting, and everyone was not on camera, and I was like, "Oh, thank God." [laughs]

[00:11:51] Tyson: Oh, feels so good. Yeah, that's awesome.

[00:11:53] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:11:53] Tyson: That's awesome.

[00:11:54] Alexa: Thank God, and not that I particularly like get dressed up or really care what I look at at when some of these meetings. I don't care but, anyway.

[00:11:58] Tyson: And that's actually-- that's the thing. I could care less. I am like, so comfortable, like looking [laughs] Look I got out my hair, my frizzy little hair [crosstalk]

[00:12:05] Alexa: Your hair looks great. For everyone who's listening.

[00:12:07] Tyson: But like- but like, I put on makeup the other day, and I was like, I don't even recognize myself don't even bother. [laughs] I don't even put my eyebrows on anymore. That's the point I've gotten to and it's not because I [inaudible 00:12:18] [crosstalk]-

[00:12:17] Alexa: Oh, that means you just have good eyebrows though.

[00:12:18] Tyson: -it's because I still give a shit. [laughs]

[00:12:20] Alexa: Yeah, [laughs] Yeah, and it's like, you got me on a day where I gave a shit or you got me on a day where I didn't give a shit. And today you got me the day where I'm wearing glasses 'cause I'm on a teeny little screen, and my-my head hurts. So, hopefully, that's covering up the bags under my eyes. But yeah, man, I get it. It's like everybody needs to just chill the fuck out for a minute, and go back to [crosstalk]--

[00:12:36] Tyson: Yes, so let's just all- all agree [crosstalk] to go back to the audio-only?

[00:12:38] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:12:36] Yeah, yeah. Or like, let's go 80% audio 20% video. Like, it's nice to see your teammates every once in a while. It's cool for a presentation. Sometimes I think depending on the nature of the meeting, it's more effective. But for the most part, it's like we didn't do this shit before and we did a lot of fucking like, web, what, you know, group calls and conference calls-

[00:12:56] Tyson: Oh, yeah.

[00:12:56] Alexa: -as we used to call them.

[00:12:58] Tyson: Conference calls. Yeah. [laughs]

[00:12:59] Alexa: Let's go back to conference calls. Let's get back to those days. Cool. All right. Well, I am gonna move us on to our, uh, the meat of our episode today. And this will be a quick one 'cause it's just us. It's just the squad, just the duo today. And what we're gonna talk about because we're entering into the holiday season, by the time this comes out, Thanksgiving will be this week, at least here in the States, and you have your big Canadian holiday. Well, I guess it's not that big.

[00:13:23] Tyson: Well, we had Thanksgiving back in October, like mid Oct- somewhere around October 15th. So our Thanksgiving is over. We just had like a Remembrance Day holiday. I don't know if you guys do that. It's like, where you honor like your veterans.

[00:13:38] Alexa: Yes, so we had Veterans Day this past week.

[00:13:40] Tyson: Okay, Veterans Day we call Remembrance Day. It was November 11th. And then now we're just like waiting for Black Friday, and then it's Christmas time.

[00:13:45] Alexa: Oh, okay. So, all right. Well, at least you get the shopping discount.

[00:13:49] Tyson: Oh, yeah.

[00:13:49] Alexa: I kinda like your schedule better, because we have Thanksgiving in November, and then one month later it's Christmas. And so your November, December just gets slammed with holiday stuff. Versus I feel like if we had one in October, although we have- we have Indigenous Peoples' Day. And then yes, we have Veterans Day. So, uh, anyway, we're talking about holidays.

And one of the things that we're gonna talk about on this episode is everyone celebrates different holidays. And so we do a thing that the people of society called the Understanding Through Inclusion program, which is effectively a series of little reports that come out educating people for different team members that may have different sort of religious or cultural holidays. So, sadly, the acronym that we use internally is the UTI series, [laughs] which is not great, but sometimes acronyms stick.

This is why you gotta be careful. And basically, these are reports that, uh, you know, educate people on, you know, different holidays where they come from, what their context is and how to celebrate them. So I thought it'd be fun if we talked about one or two of them today, and then talk a little bit about, you know, how maybe we celebrate our respective holidays and things you've seen employers do and your days- your days in the space Tyson and-and that's really it. So--

[00:14:54] Tyson: Just before you move on, I do wanna acknowledge the fact that I said that, you know, we have Thanksgiving in October, then we have Remembrance Day then there's Christmas. I wanna just like call myself out for not acknowledging that there's a whole shitload of other holidays that are happening that time.

[00:15:07] Alexa: Oh, sure. Yes.

[00:15:08] Tyson: But- but the days that I mentioned are days that are considered like in--

[00:15:12] Alexa: National holidays.

[00:15:13] Tyson: Like stat holidays as well. So, like we have time off at Thanksgiving.

[00:15:18] Alexa: We call them bank holidays here.

[00:15:19] Tyson: Yeah, like those types of things. So, yeah, like those are stat holidays. A lot of people get like a Remembrance Day off, so I do [crosstalk]-

[00:15:24] Alexa: Federal National Holidays. Yes.

[00:15:24] Tyson: -wanna call myself out 'cause I don't wanna be that like, tone-deaf idiot that's like, "Yo, there's no holidays between Thanksgiving and Christmas."

[00:15:29] Alexa: No. [laughs]

[00:15:30] Tyson: Like, come on.

[00:15:30] Alexa: I hope-- hopefully people give us the benefit of the doubt here. We are- we are- we are just talking about the big national holidays being that I'm in the States and-and you're in Canada. Cool. So, the-the two I wanna talk about-- just 'cause I have the sort of understanding through inclusion, uh, reports in front of me, and we'll be- we'll be releasing actually a big book of inclusion that-that covers about 50 or 60 of these earlier than uh, 2022. 2022.

I remember what year it is, I promise. And the first one at least, and-and again, these are- these are sort of US-centric. So, Tyson, you can chime in with the Canadian versions. And the idea here is you know, I-- and I don't wanna go into a diatribe here. We-we can do lots of other episodes on this, you know. I realize how important and how, uh, topical diversity and inclusion-- diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

It-- there's so many acronyms about this, it doesn't matter, but largely, I think one of the things that gets missed in this entire conversation is just pure education. So, just-- you cannot have real inclusion and real equity when you do not understand other things, when you are-are just othering someone to other someone. So we started this series, sort of, with the intention of just being able to educate people on other people's holidays.

And it's been really well received, and I actually think it's super fun. I was actually raised Unitarian, which is like, I won't bore you with that, but it's-it's basically like I went to quote-unquote, "church on Sundays" to learn about other churches for a while. And so I always thought that was really cool and really interesting, and it's actually really fun to learn about this stuff.

So one of the things that-that we sort of encouraged is, like, if you have employees who don't know these things, or are curious about these things, or celebrate these things, like, it's a really good chance to just educate other people on it. And so the first one we're gonna talk about really, really quickly is Indigenous People's Day. So I'm not gonna do these any justice, I want to be very clear.

I'm also not proposing to be, um, any kind of historian. In fact, I was like a terrible history student in school. My memory sucks. So, uh, I find it fascinating, but I'm not very good at it. So we're gonna do Indigenous Peoples' Day, which-which was formerly known in the United States as Columbus- Columbus Day. It can also be called Native American Day, I guess, and we'll talk about another one of those similarly, but it's a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American people and their cultures, histories and contributions to the United States.

The celebration falls on the second Monday in October so the date varies, but it happens annually and opposes Christopher Columbus Day, which is the former US Federal holiday that occurs on the same day. It was originally observed every 12th of October but changed to the second Monday of October in 1971. Counter celebration rejects the Italian explorer and views him as a representation of a violent history of colonization.

So we used to celebrate Christopher Columbus who arrived in the Americas on the 12th of October in 1492. We called it Columbus Day, and then as I'm sure most people are aware, it sort of came out that, you know, they enslaved sort of thousands of people and created sort of an Indian slave trade. And maybe that's not so awesome to celebrate, even though we give him credit for founding our country.

And I guess the contention started when anti-immigration groups associated with Catholicism in the 1960s and '70s actually started renouncing the holiday. So, this conversation about changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples day, at least here in the States, is actually not a new argument. It just finally sort of took hold. I think recently.

[00:18:39] Tyson: That's super interesting too, because that's actually our Thanksgiving. It's the second Monday-

[00:18:42] Alexa: Oh, really?

[00:18:43] Tyson: -of, um, of October every year. It's the second Monday of October. So I find that that's actually kind of really interesting because a lot of people say, you know, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that we really need to be mindful in terms of like, what are we actually celebrating here?

[00:18:56] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:18:56] Tyson: So I find it interesting that they had Columbus Day in the US which got switched.

[00:19:00] Alexa: Yeah. I mean, switched, I guess Columbus Day may still be the literal Federal holiday but since Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas on the 12th of October in 1492, Columbus Day was instituted 500 years later in 1992 in Berkeley, and two years later in Santa Cruz, both in California. Later in 2014, many cities and states adopted the day.

Día de la Raza, which means, "day of the race," was coined by many Latin American nations and observed on the anniversary of the day of Columbus' arrival. States such as Oregon, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont and Al- and Alaska's and cities such as Phoenix, Los Angeles, De- and Denver commemorate Indigenous Peoples' Day in replace of Columbus Day.

In 2020, Virginia became the latest state to observe Indigenous Peoples' Day officially. So it sounds like it's a state-by-state thing as lots of things in the United States are these days.

[00:19:46] Tyson: Right.

[00:19:46] Alexa: But it actually came-- I didn't know for-for-for my own education. I actually didn't know until I was reading through these that it was not created until 500 years later. That this didn't exist until 1992 at all.

[00:19:57] Tyson: I would say 1992 is recent.

[00:19:58] Alexa: That's super recent. I was five.

[00:20:00] Tyson: Super recent. I was born in 1992. [laughs] So super recent. No. So in Canada we have a very new holiday, actually just for the first time this year, and that is our Truth and Reconciliation Day, which is to commemorate just, uh, all those who suffered, you know, being put into residential schools, and the healing that our government sort of committed to through that. But, you know, there's been a lot of really devastating stuff in the news recently in Canada about the residential schools, and I think finally Trudeau just was like we need to honor this day. So that's on September 30th in Canada, and this year was the first day that we recognized it. It's a federal holiday, which means if you're working for the federal jurisdiction then you get it off. But-

[00:20:47] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:20:48] Tyson: -it was good. It was good for people to finally start like educating-- like that was the day to take off and educate and learn.

[00:20:54] Alexa: Yeah, cool. Yeah, we got you--

[00:20:56] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:20:56] Alexa: We got-- we added-we added, I believe it is a 11th or 12th federal holiday; don't quote me on that. That was Juneteenth.

[00:21:01] Tyson: Oh, Juneteenth.

[00:21:02] Alexa: Yeah, we had a Juneteenth this year. Which was pretty gangster. But yeah, you know, look I think all of this stuff is like take a minute, educate yourself, and you know, especially I think if you have teammates or colleagues that celebrate or-or do any of these things, especially for the sort of more religious or the more deeply sort of cultural. These just tend to be days off in the United States and you know there's all kind of like-

[00:21:21] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:21:21] Alexa: -remembrances and ceremonies and educational things, but they-they don't tend to be like religious or sort of culturally, ceremonially based, which I actually think those are more fun, but-

[00:21:29] Tyson: Totally and--

[00:21:29] Alexa: -we're gonna talk about Hanukkah next, so--

[00:21:31] Tyson: Well-- and-and you know what I was thinking about that. So we just had a Remembrance day which was November 11th, and it kind of came and went. I-I-- it sucks, I didn't even buy a poppy this year, okay. Usually you wear a poppy, but I don't-I don't go out, like I was never even in a place where I would have been buying a poppy, like I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere, like, with an infant. But I was thinking about that and how you know when you're in grade school all the-- you know the-the fun that you do, and like we have a poem in Canada called Flanders Field and you know we recite that and you remember people and all of that.

So I hope that, you know, that still happens in schools. I don't know if it does. Maybe public schools only, not like Catholic schools, but like at least take the day and like use it for what's it's meant to be and like- like you said, like educate yourself in it and don't just like let the day go by just, "Oh, a day that I can start my Christmas shopping," or you know, something like that. So like-

[00:22:20] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:22:20] Tyson: -it really is important to like take a beat and-and take the time to, you know, just educate yourself.

[00:22:24] Alexa: I always remember the days when I was still in an office, and I guess I can still have those days, it just hasn't happened recently where you would-- I would walk into the-the office and everyone would have the mark, the ash mark on their forehead. And not everyone, but some people, and you'd be like, "Oh yeah, it's Ash Wednesday. I totally forgot."

And then your like that's the start of lent and then everyone would talk about what they're giving up for lent, and I just think those-those are such like cool ways to-to learn about the things people care about and what they want to give up. And there's so many cool traditions it's-it's-it's so-- I would-I would find it a major injustice if this industry continued to talk about DE&I as if it was nothing but a triggering topic instead of-

[00:23:00] Tyson: Right

[00:23:00] Alexa: -an enormous opportunity to just teach people about--

[00:23:02] Tyson: To celebrate.

[00:23:04] Alexa: Yeah, and celebrate like cool differences. I know that sounds hokey, but like I-I think that's just so cool. There's so many unique holidays and-and religions and-and sects of people that do cool, interesting things with lots of history behind them. So I would be-

[00:23:18] Tyson: Yes.

[00:23:18] Alexa: -remiss if I-if I were to say that I-I think we-we are doing a disservice to this conversation without more sort of understanding through inclusion, as we call it.

[00:23:27] Tyson: Ash Wednesday is one of those ones that I never forget because we always, like, we're dedicated to pancake Tuesday, which is the day before. So like every year--

[00:23:37] Alexa: Tell me all-- please educate me about Pancake Tuesday.

[00:23:40] Tyson: Some people call it Shrove Tuesday but basically you have pancakes for dinner and it's like a huge celebration. In my family at least we always-

[00:23:47] Alexa: Like literal pancakes-

[00:23:47] Tyson: -grew up having pancakes.

[00:23:49] Alexa: -not-not like Locke's not like-- not a special-- like a literal pancake?

[00:23:52] Tyson: Yeah, we always made pancakes-

[00:23:53] Alexa: Like a flapjack?

[00:23:54] Tyson: -and they were super exciting because we'd have pancakes for dinner, which is not obviously a normal thing to do and it was like always really special. I'm not actually super Catholic and I wasn't baptized or anything like that, but that was really important for our family to celebrate. But I-I-- we've talked about this before, but I do want to call out like this idea. So I think some organizations, what they do in an effort to not make anybody feel excluded is they just like neutralize the whole thing. So you can't say Merry Christmas.

[00:24:18] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:24:18] Tyson: You can't put up any sort of holiday decorations.

[00:24:19] Alexa: Right, happy holidays.

[00:24:21] Tyson: You can't-you can't-you can't-you can't, right?

[00:24:23] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:24:23] Tyson: And it's-- they're very tiptoey around this. One thing that I love about the organization that I work for, is it actually creates space for everybody to celebrate their holidays. So it's not just like, we don't like say anything about any holiday or-or celebration or anything. It's more like, "Hey, it's Diwali, so like let me tell you about it. Like this is what my family does." This is--

[00:24:42] Alexa: Yeah, the Festival of light. Diwali is such-

[00:24:43] Tyson: Yeah, like--

[00:24:43] Alexa: -a cool holiday.

[00:24:44] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah so this is how, you know, someone who might celebrate Diwali would say, "This is how my family celebrates every year. These are some of our classic recipes." So it's not like-

[00:24:52] Alexa: Yeah, you got to lean into that shit.

[00:24:53] Tyson: -no, you can't talk about Diwali, it's, "Hey, let's talk about like how--

[00:24:56] Alexa: Right, but don't say merry Christmas.

[00:24:58] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:24:58] Alexa: It's like, wait, why can't I say merry Christmas? Lots of people say merry Christmas. Like I wasn't even raised Catholic or Christian and I say Merry Christmas like-- and then you just take all the fun out of it for everybody-

[00:25:05] Tyson: Right.

[00:25:05] Alexa: -versus being like teach me more about Christmas, teach me about Diwali. Teach me about, you know--

[00:25:09] Tyson: Right and you can't say--

[00:25:10] Alexa: Chrismahanukwanzakah.

[00:25:10] Tyson: You can't say happy anything else either, right? Like happy Hanukkah-

[00:25:14] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:25:14] Tyson: -or like, you know whatever the-- like the whatever you're celebrating at. Whatever-- any point in the year too, right?

[00:25:22] Alexa: Right.

[00:25:22] Tyson: Like it's not just like this time of year but there's lots of holidays that happen throughout the year that, you know, if someone said, you know, Happy Hanukkah to me, I wouldn't be offended by that, right? I would you know-

[00:25:31] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:25:31] Tyson: -celebrate that-

[00:25:32] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:25:32] Tyson: -be like Happy Hanukkah to you too. Like, I don't know, like, I don't know--

[00:25:34] Alexa: Yeah. It's like-it's like it's five o'clock somewhere, you know, somebody is celebrating something. It's-its like more fun to have more stuff to celebrate than to be like, "Oh, we gotta like-- just gotta loop it all under happy holidays. We don't want to offend-

[00:25:44] Tyson: Right.

[00:25:44] Alexa: -anybody. It's like-

[00:25:44] Tyson: Right.

[00:25:45] Alexa: -why is that offensive?

[00:25:46] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:25:46] Alexa: Why is offensive to say happy Diwali to someone who's not Hindu. Who-- like teach them about it. I'm sure they're interested. There's lots of cool stuff to celebrate around this. Awesome. So speaking of which, I-I would like to do one more just to be-- just to keep it interesting. Uh, and the-and the next one I wanna do is because it's-it's also coming up and it's not the one that everyone thinks this is gonna be coming out the week of Thanksgiving and that is Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, as everyone probably guessed, but if you didn't know, now you know. If you don't know, now you know. Great song. I feel like we should-we should drop that. Oh, wait we can't because we don't have the licensing to any of those songs. But, so it actually, and I didn't know this, commemorates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem after it was defiled by the Syrian-Greeks in 164 BCE, who they defeated. Simply put, it honors the victory of the Jews during the second temple period. So this one is like very old. This is a very old tradition.

[00:26:40] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:26:40] Alexa: So Hanukkah actually, which I did not know, means dedication. And there's also like two different ways to spell Hanukkah. There's H-A-N-U-K-K-A-H, which I think is the more widely used sort of, I'd say, Americanize-- unfounded statement, but the more Americanized version, and then there's Chanukah which is C-H-A-N-U-K-A-H, which is more traditional and I think that's more like the Yiddish spelling. And it is known as the festival of lights, speaking of Diwali, or the festival of rededication and it lasts for eight days starting from the 25th of Kislev and ends on the second or third day of Tevet.

Which it-- this year actually means-- which-- these are sort of on the Gregorian calendar, but this year they are literally-- it literally starts on the 28th of November and ends on the 6th of December. So it is coming up here. Yeah, so I know-- so there's a lot of other things that are really interesting in this report where it talks about-- so yes, festival of lights. It talks about what it honors and its evolution. So it commemorates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem after it was defiled by the Syrian-Greeks, which I talked about. It's one of the most popular holidays in Judaism and is marked by the lighting of the menorah.

But this celebration isn't found in the Torah and it was added later on to the Jewish liturgy and is found in the book of Maccabees. So it is sort of a newer addition, considering this is from 164 BCE. Each day of the eight days, Jews light up candles. Hanukkah is observed in the United States, Morocco, Canada, Yemen, Australia, Germany, India, England, Iran, Italy, China, Hungary and many other countries. So there's a candle lighting. They play the dreidel which is a little, small, four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. It's played at all kinds of Jewish festivals. I'm sure most people have seen a dreidel.

And you know you sort of play for little pieces and-and different things. And then there's gift giving. So the sort of tradition is that each night there is a gift exchange. I-I believe they used to just give what's called-- more traditional is gelt, which is money in Hebrew, but now I think it sort of been modernized and so people would give little gifts on the eight nights of Hanukkah. So it's not just-not just the coin anymore. But I think this stuff is fun and-and I've had some friends do like cool little Hanukkah celebrations and, you know, go over and celebrate by lighting the menorah each night and you swap little gifts and-and I think this stuff is cool to learn about.

So I did not know, truthfully, that Hanukkah was quite- quite such an old holiday. And yeah, that's-that's sort of-- I won't go into like all the details about Hanukkah. There's lots of information in our-- in these reports about why and when and all the things, but eight crazy nights as Adam Sandler--

[00:29:08] Tyson: I love that movie.

[00:29:09] Alexa: -used to say.

[00:29:10] Tyson: It's so cute.

[00:29:12] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:29:12] Tyson: Um, and so these sheets, it's just sort of like a one-pager of you know this is the holiday and this is like the history and this is how it's celebrated today?

[00:29:20] Alexa: Yeah, yeah, it's a couple of pages. I-I would view it as like a little bit of an, uh, you know, a little more than a book report and a little less-- a little more than a one-pager, a little less then a book report, and these are really-- the sections are all pretty standard. They're sort of an abridged history, you know honor-- what it honors and the evolution of it. The sort of different pieces of the ceremony if there is anything you need to know about.

Lists ways to honor and celebrate and depending on what it is, ways to actively honor. So we've done these for not only cultural holidays or religious holidays, but also like awareness months. You know, we did one on Black History Month, like, most people don't know where and when black history month came to be and why we celebrate it-

[00:29:53] Tyson: Why, yeah.

[00:29:53] Alexa: -and what's it's meant to be and the history. And if you don't know the why behind things, like, it's really easy to point fingers and be like that's weird or I don't like that, or I don't understand.

[00:30:01] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:30:01] Alexa: You know, learning why humans do things I think is like the most fascinating stuff there is. So, yeah, it's called Understanding Through Inclusion. We'll-we'll probably put out the, uh, big book of inclusion as we're calling it. In January I'll make sure, uh, our listeners get a copy of it, but, uh, yeah, I think it's super fun and I think as people go into the holiday-holiday seasons. I would encourage people, especially in the people space to be more cognizant around education and less around, sort of, concealing and-and trying to happy holidays the shit out of everybody.

[00:30:30] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:30:30] Alexa: You know, don't be scared of differences. Just use it as an educational opportunity. I think that's really the stuff that actually brings people together, um, overall.

[00:30:37] Tyson: Right. Celebrating. Celebrating and educating is, you know, a really good path to inclusion.

[00:30:42] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:30:43] Tyson: I think we--

[00:30:43] Alexa: And you know the easiest way to do that and I love this 'cause my team- my team usually does a potluck every year right around this time, although we're not gonna wind up doing it this year for various reasons, is food. Everyone's-

[00:30:53] Tyson: Oh, yeah.

[00:30:54] Alexa: -everyone's brain is connected to their stomach and using food is the way to educate people about cultures and history and differences is, is you pretty much can't go wrong.

[00:31:03] Tyson: That is so fun. Yeah. We-- We've-we've done stuff like that too where everyone's brought a dish from like, you know, a-a dish that they would typically eat at like whatever their holiday is. So-

[00:31:12] Alexa: Yeah. I love it.

[00:31:13] Tyson: That's always fun too. Yeah.

[00:31:14] Alexa: Yeah. I love it. That's cool. Go around the world in the cafeteria.

[00:31:18] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:31:19] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:31:19] Tyson: Yeah. What would yours be? What's a- what's a- what's a food that you guys make a lot-

[00:31:23] Alexa: Oh Jesus. Um-

[00:31:24] Tyson: -when your family comes together?

[00:31:25] Alexa: So my-my father is Italian and my mother is sort of Polish and then a bunch of other stuff. She's kind of a mutt. So we eat a lot of-- And I'm-I'm also from Pennsylvania originally which has a, uh, Pennsylvania Dutch background, not far from where I grew up. And people assume that because it's called Pennsylvania Dutch that-that-that it is actually a Dutch heritage and it is not. That is a, uh, actually a German diaspora called the-the Dutchies. Yeah. The-the Pennsylvania Dutchies. They speak a-a weird dialect of German called basically Dutchies is what the-the sort of slang is for it now. But we eat a lot of stuff like pierogis-

[00:32:01] Tyson: Oh, yeah.

[00:32:02] Alexa: Which-- Yeah. Pierogis are-are pretty big in Pennsylvania. I don't know. I eat a lot of like Northern Italian food. People assume cause I'm Italian I like spaghetti and meatballs and that actually tends to be a more Southern cuisine.

[00:32:12] Tyson: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:12] Alexa: Uh, eat a lot of seafood. Yeah. My-my mom, speaking of the holidays, my mom makes-- We-we grew up calling them [unintelligible 00:32:18] which is sort of like the-- Again, the sort of like American Italian slang for a [unintelligible 00:32:23]

[00:32:23] Tyson: Okay.

[00:32:23] Alexa: -but she has a world famous secret recipe and they are crack. I think I've-

[00:32:28] Tyson: Oh, yeah.

[00:32:28] Alexa: -had like 300 of them and I've only- I've only been in their house for 24 hours. [laughs]

[00:32:32] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:32:34] Alexa: Yeah. What about you?

[00:32:35] Tyson: Our like biggest traditional thing that we started rec- Like in recent history we make something called a mushroom wellington. You might have heard of a beef wellington it's like a-

[00:32:42] Alexa: Yes. I've heard of a beef wellington.

[00:32:44] Tyson: Yeah. So we make a vegetarian version. So it's just like all different kinds of mushrooms and like a big portabella mushroom in the bottom. And it's got like really delicious [unintelligible 00:32:52] cheese and it's in a big puff pastry. So we make that every year on--

[00:32:55] Alexa: Anything you put [unintelligible 00:32:57] on, I am game.

[00:32:58] Tyson: Right, right. It's-- You're in. So we make that- we make that every Christmas Eve and-

[00:33:03] Alexa: Nice.

[00:33:04] Tyson: -then-- Yeah. So that's like our- like one of our traditional foods. And then we're like pretty boring. We have typical turkey dinner and stuff like that for [inaudible 00:33:12]

[00:33:12] Alexa: Nice. What about companies? Anything you guys do or that you've seen companies do traditionally that you like?

[00:33:18] Tyson: Uh, so I've definitely seen the potluck thing be done. Uh, so people will bring in food. It-it doesn't necessarily have to be like, you know, a-a spec-spec- specific foods, but just people bring stuff in and it's just nice to celebrate. I've seen in the virtual world, they turn that into, uh, like a teaching to cook. So this is like how I would make this dish versus ob- obviously like you can't make it.

So maybe sending the ingredients in advance and then this is how you make this dish. I've seen sort of similar to- a lesser version of sort of these like documents that like your team creates, But just sort of like someone who is celebrating a specific holiday they'll do like a, "Hey everyone."

Like, "This is like what I'm celebrating." Like, you know, "Happy Hanukkah to everyone." This is what my family's doing, like, that sort of thing.

[00:34:02] Alexa: Yeah.

[00:34:03] Tyson: So again, it's not like shushing it. I-I have worked for very like conservative companies that were just like, "Ooh, we're like, so opposed to risk." Like, "Let's just not do anything at all." Which is not what you want. Like, I-

[00:34:13] Alexa: I just can't. I feel like the world's gonna come back on this and it's gonna be like, "Wait, I can't celebrate my holiday? I'm not allowed to talk about it? Like I'm-I'm gonna sue your ass."

[00:34:21] Tyson: Right.

[00:34:22] Alexa: [laughs] Right?

[00:34:22] Tyson: That's discrimination in itself.

[00:34:24] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:34:24] Tyson: The fact that I can't talk about my-my holiday.

[00:34:26] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:34:27] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:34:27] Alexa: Exactly.

[00:34:29] Tyson: What else?

[00:34:29] Alexa: Well, I love this stuff. I think it's super cool. I think people should be more encouraged to be educational and inclusive about this stuff. And yeah, we'd love to hear from other people how they celebrate their holidays and what their teams do and anything that they think is interesting. And, um, that's all we got Tyson. Happy holidays.

[00:34:45] Tyson: Awesome. Happy holidays.

[music]

[00:34:47] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio, with audio production by [unintelligible 00:34:51] Brigida of Pure Harmonies. Our intro music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigida of Pure Harmonies. You can find more information about us at future episodes at peopleproblemspod.com or follow us at peopleproblemspod.


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