Written by Eric Pairitz
I’m a sports fan. “No duh” is what those who know me are saying right now. As a result of my fandom, I find myself adhering to many sports superstitions. You know — the rally cap, the playoff beard, don’t step on the baseline and other silly stuff. Similarly, I also enjoy the benefits of tradition, especially during the holidays. One such tradition is that I wake up reeaaalllly early on the Monday following Thanksgiving to decorate our office for the holidays. Everyone knows I’m going to do it, but I like to see their (almost surprised) faces when they arrive at their shiny new “holiday style” digs. And hey, it’s tradition!
This year (post-decorating), the smartdept. inc. kicked off the holidays “Griswold” style. That’s right, we brought in the wayward smarties from Seattle and had our very own fun, old-fashioned holiday celebration!
We followed typical holiday protocol on day one — appetizers at the office and dinner in the city, the usual. On day two, we got in touch with our “creative” side by honoring our very own Vice President Matt Crook with a celebrity roast. Emceed by yours truly, this warmhearted ribbing turned out to be a wonderful team-building event, even if it came at the expense of one of the best people I know. That said, the highlight of the morning came when the Seattle smarties unveiled their holiday gift to the group — a calendar that featured smartdept. employees photoshopped into scenes of our favorite movies. We all laughed until it hurt as we viewed Harry Potter turned into Sherry (McPike) Potter and our controller, Dan (Alexander), portrayed as everyone’s favorite groundskeeper Carl from Caddyshack. We finished the day by going to the Adler Planetarium, where we received a personal presentation by Mark Subbarao and viewed a movie that Patrick McPike (Sherry’s hubby) had a major role in creating. Go check it out! Behold, new traditions are popping up all over the place!
For me, the most memorable moment came before any of the festivities and before my coworkers or their loved ones appeared on the scene. It was in the wee hours of that Monday morning tradition, while I was working (reverse-Grinch style) to get all the cheer in its proper place. I was unpacking and hanging the stockings, which represent everyone who works so hard on my behalf — and in that moment, I realized that every stocking I’d put away the year before was being hung once again. And that more than an entire calendar year had come and gone without a single change to our amazing staff.
“That’s huge!!!” was what I was thinking (in case you wanted to know).
Our company culture is at the top of the list of things I’m most proud of. I believe our environment is positive and so are the people in it. I think everyone in our group is performing at their highest level and that the people we work with are enjoying the benefits of a consistent and familiar voice. I feel that my coworkers are enjoying the ambience we’ve all worked so hard to create.
It’s true, I love tradition and celebrating the accomplishments of this special group of people is a tradition I hope to enjoy for many years to come.