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You’ve never seen an office memo as harsh as Steve Harvey’s

(EDITORIAL) Steve Harvey feels he’s been taken advantage of with his lenient communications policy so he upped the ante, by like a million percent.

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steve harvey

Price of fame

Privacy. Something we all crave at one point or another in our day-to-day lives. For me, I crave quite a bit of alone time. If I am subjected to socializing for extended amounts of time, I either face a panic attack, or forcing myself to create a reason to make a graceful exit before the panic attacks grabs hold of me completely. But at one point does a need for privacy become too demanding?

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We all have certain needs that must be met in order to be fully functional, happy adults, but one adult in particular seems to be having an issue with stating these needs in a congenial manner. The adult in question? Steve Harvey.

An irritated email

By now you’ve likely heard something about the emailed letter Harvey recently wrote to his staff, detailing his new “rules” for interacting with him. I’d like to start right here. Rules and guidelines for interactions, especially in a work place that is by nature, social, makes people feel uneasy and unwelcome. I can understand the need for some alone time.

Okay, I can understand the need for a great deal of alone time, but the problem is, you’re a celebrity.

You work on a television set and for your show to be successfully and completely produced (read: ready to air), you do not complete this process solo. You have a team. You have co-workers, production teams, editing staff, runners, assistants, make-up artists, writers, set directors, custodial staff, marketing, audience members, security staff and the list goes on and on. You do not do the show alone.

Perhaps a different tone

Here is the now infamous email Harvey sent to his staff. I can understand not wanting to be disturbed while sitting in the makeup chair. This is typically the time when actors, musicians, and other creative performers, center themselves, focus on lines, and get ready for the day ahead. Hallways, however, seem like an acceptable place to approach someone, especially when you are already part of the “team.”

Threatening to have security remove someone for opening a door, seems a bit extreme as well.

Most actors have people coming in and out of their rooms and trailers all day long. He’s no exception. It almost comes with the territory. Privacy once you’ve left the studio, is another matter. Then, I think everyone is entitled to their own time and space, but that’s just my opinion.

Maybe we don’t have all the facts

I will however, play devil’s advocate and state that if (and it’s a big if) he was having problems with staff members taking and posting photos to social media, making unreasonable or indecent requests, then I can certainly see why he felt this email and perhaps even tone were necessary. However, as it sounds like it was addressed to nearly the entire staff/team, I think he should’ve asked someone to proofread it for him, because it is indeed quite disheartening, given the positive message he aims to portray on the show.

The lesson here, if there is something positive we can gleam from such a condescending note, is to appreciate your staff and appreciate your position.

Remember where you came from and how hard you had to work to get there. Remember all the people you stopped in hallways, doorways, elevators and the like, seeking to get one tiny little step up on others dreaming of the same thing.

Support teams only work if they’re supportive

While I respect anyone’s need for privacy, Mr. Harvey needs to re-evaluate how he addresses his support team, especially when asking for privacy. Everyone likes to be appreciated and respected, and there has to be a more amiable way to detail your needs without sounding like it’s a dictatorship.

Good leaders inspire people, not put them down.

#HarveyEmployeeLetter

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Robert Lee

    May 16, 2017 at 3:43 am

    On the real!!!

  2. Oregon Smitty (@OregonSmitty)

    May 17, 2017 at 9:54 am

    This man is a verifiable tool. #1 His show, “Family Feud,” is dedicated to making fun of black folks. #2 So are shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” #3 The Race Hustler Industry will NEVER call these travesties out.

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Opinion Editorials

Shady salary transparency is running rampant: What to look out for

(EDITORIAL) Employees currently have the upper hand in the market. Employers, you must be upfront about salary and approach it correctly.

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Man holding money in the dark representing false salary transparency.

It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to job applications. Job descriptions often misrepresent remote work opportunities. Applicants have a difficult time telling job scams from real jobs. Job applicants get ghosted by employers, even after a long application process. Following the Great Resignation, many employers are scrambling for workers. Employees have the upper hand in the hiring process, and they’re no longer settling for interviews with employers that aren’t transparent, especially about salary.

Don’t be this employer

User ninetytwoturtles shared a post on Reddit in r/recruitinghell in which the employer listed the salary as $0 to $1,000,000 per year. Go through many listings on most job boards and you’ll find the same kind of tactics – no salary listed or too large of a wide range. In some places, it’s required to post salary information. In 2021, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act went into effect in Colorado. Colorado employers must list salary and benefits to give new hires more information about fair pay. Listing a broad salary range skirts the issue. It’s unfair to applicants, and in today’s climate, employers are going to get called out on it. Your brand will take a hit.

Don’t obfuscate wage information

Every employer likes to think that their employees work because they enjoy the job, but let’s face it, money is the biggest motivator. During the interview process, many a job has been lost over salary negotiations. Bringing up wages too early in the application process can be bad for a job applicant. On the other hand, avoiding the question can lead to disappointment when a job is offered, not to mention wasted time. In the past, employers held all the cards. Currently, it’s a worker’s market. If you want productive, quality workers, your business needs to be honest and transparent about wages.

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Opinion Editorials

3 reasons to motivate yourself to declutter your workspace (and mind)

(EDITORIAL) Making time to declutter saves time and money – all while reducing stress. Need a little boost to start? We all need motivation sometimes.

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Clean work desk representing the need to declutter.

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few years. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob, an un-alphabetized bookshelf, or that we’ve put off ‘declutter’ on our to-do list for too long.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, taking time to declutter can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those 3 things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?

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Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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