20 September 2005

Weird things you only think about when you are Jeff Shepley

What is the social significance of a boss kissing a woman employee on the cheek she/he greets her. From what I have seen there is a lot more socializing in the business world here. Although my observations are not necessarily typical of Brasil, only of what I have seen. And seeing as it isn't typical for me to be here, I may be observing quite atypical things (which is more valuable to me!).

From my perspective this would make it tougher for me to scould/fire the person below me -- having developed a social relationship. That is, mixing business and social life, like having a party and inviting your professor, appears (at least to me) to lead to greater job/grade security.

Of course companies in the U.S. have happy hours, so I can't say this is unique to Brasil. The company organizes them as a way to get employees to communicate better and in the end work more effectively. The employees do it for entertainment, but perhaps also for job security.

So as the boss I can see myself being pulled in two directions. (1) Go to the happy hour and develop social relationship that will help me better understand my employees and perhaps "juice" more productivity out of them but also perhaps be reluctant to fire some one who really should be, and (2) don't go to the happy hour and be able to firmly rule your underlyings without feeling like such a bad person but perhaps be missing the many toasts to my slow painful demise.

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