Shifting the business paradigm is comparable to shifting the December-placed holiday of Christmas to its rightful place in April. The enlightenment is a bit distorted at first because of tradition, familial activities, and misguided Christian beliefs. The enlightenment of shifting the business paradigm is a bit distorted at first because of similar reasons of tradition, company decisions and procedures, Federal and State Government intervention, the de-humanization of business organizations, and misguided employer/employee beliefs.
The history of Christmas is a complex accumulation of events over time originally precipitated by early religious leaders to direct the energies of early Christians away from holidays previously celebrated, specifically, the Roman Holiday of Saturnalia and the Scandinavian holiday, Yuletide. Thus, a new holiday was created. The history of business is a complex accumulation of events over time originally precipitated by financial leaders to direct individual craftsmen into organized activities for power with government and other business organizations. Thus, modern business organizations were created. Just as the symbols of Christmas stem from the holidays mentioned and were given an acceptable ‘Christ-like’ connection, so did business practices stem from corrupt political practices and were given an acceptable name of democratic enterprise.
Just as Christmas has become a secular as well as Christian potpourri of love, family, religion, greed, frustration, envy, strife, even violence, and other desirable and undesirable characteristics, business practices have evolved into similar characteristics. Just as craftsmen worked initially because of their love of family, to provide for them in adequate provision, and for their love for their craft, business organizations have morphed into a desire for gain and greed and control. While de-humanizing, this morph is not bad, simply misguided and easily corrected by returning the ‘Right to Control’ back to the individual employee.
Through the charitable feelings of a person’s heart to “Give good gifts,” the current celebration of Christmas often loses the main component of the professed holiday, Christ. Well-intentioned people have vainly fought for the rights of the worker with the energies of their hearts only to result in further captivity, the fundamental flaw in the unrecognized logic being not ‘rights’ but individual freedom. Rights cannot be given by man to man; rights come from a supreme being to man. Individual freedom can be given from man to man, from business to man, and from government to man. Since the mid-1600’s, professors of religion and well-intentioned people have been trying to “Put Christ in Christmas” or “Keep Christ in Christmas.” The problem is a fundamental flaw in the logic of the holiday; Christ does not belong in Christmas. By celebrating Christmas in a time and season where Christ does not belong, we perpetuate a myth, a sham, and a lie. Does this mean we should not celebrate Christ’s birth date? The answer is unequivocally NO! Labor unions are a lot like Christmas celebrations. Should we abolish labor unions? The answer is NO! Should we condone the violence unleashed when unions are angry, the constant theft of resources, the preparations for something good which ends with legal battles? NO! Mixed logic, moral decay, and those who preach ‘Power to the worker,’ and steal that power for personal gain are enemies of individual freedom.
I am not proposing the elimination of Christmas but rather for placing it where it belongs in the month of April when Christ was born, just as I am not proposing the elimination of correct and right business practices but placing it where it belongs in the negotiable hands of free individuals to negotiate a win-win scenario where work is concerned. Moving Christmas does not destroy Christmas, but places the celebration into its proper place and leaves December open for a different holiday. Mainly, we must choose to celebrate Santa Claus or Jesus Christ. These are not one and the same; these two people are not and cannot exist in the same holiday without creating confusion, perpetuating lies and deceit. Power for personal gain and individual freedom cannot exist at the same time without creating captivity, confusion, and the perpetuation of lies and deceit. An old mentor constantly quoted this axiom, “If the solution is not ‘Win-Win,’ it is a straight loss.”
While St. Nicholas is reported to have been a person or monk who traveled around doing good, he never had a sleigh, reindeer, and magical abilities. The man celebrated at Christmas as Santa Claus is a myth, and in the same breath as singing ‘Here Comes Santa Claus,’ we want to honor Jesus Christ as the “Reason for the Season.” The duplicity is a struggle for the conscience and the heart. Just as we inherited and sustained this struggle from the captivity of our fathers, we inherited and sustain a mode of earning a living from our fathers that tries our conscience, our hearts, and wallets. Consider the problems with being a customer, the dehumanizing influence of the business organization, labor unions, etc. Many of the problems in business stem from inherited tradition that did not work in times past and continue to not work now, but remain supported simply due to fear of change or because, “That’s now how it is done.” Holiday celebration and employment conditions are linked in a myopic cycle that is anathema to anything different. Dauten (2003) talks about this problem extensively and his suggestion of “Killing the status Quo” is excellent.
Tolkien offers wisdom very applicable to our modern world. “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Along with, “It’s no bad thing to celebrate a simple Life.” Ask yourself some questions such as “Do I honor a “Simple Life?” “Has my holiday celebrations become more about outdoing last year’s celebrations and gift giving for personal achievement?” “What is the aim of my holidays?” “Why am I celebrating, what am I celebrating, and/or do I enjoy celebrating?” If you do not like these answers, change. Shift the paradigm where holidays are concerned. The same argument holds for working, ask, “Do I enjoy what I do?” If yes, “Do I enjoy those I work for?” If the answer remains yes, consider job security, personal/professional growth, and long-term prospects. Yet, if at anytime the answer is no, shift the paradigm, consider becoming an independent contractor selling your knowledge and experience.
Just as the Roman calendar and Jewish calendar place the actual birth of Christ in April, the same calendars place the death of Christ in April. The bible records Christ’s celebrating the Passover before His death. The Passover was also recorded as occurring during His birth. We can certainly celebrate Christ on His actual birthday, celebrate His death and resurrection more circumspectly, and change how we worship the Savior of the world. Just as these facts substantiate the birth of Christ, facts of business corruption and coercion substantiate the plight of the individual worker as a craftsman. We can change that just as we can change when we celebrate the birth of Christ.
With the bustle of Christmas 2012 in the rear-view mirror, with 2013 fast approaching and before the “bills of Christmas” come due, consider the holiday paradigm. Ponder the feelings of joy, life renewal, and hope that fills the breast in the early days of April. With the bustle of day-to-day stress, tax seasons approaching, and bills for overextending finances, consider shifting the business paradigm. Ponder the freedom of negotiating your business life and regaining the control that has been relinquished.
Dauten, D. (2003). The laughing warriors: How to enjoy killing the status quo. Richmond, CA: Lumina Media.
© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury
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