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From: Jared Hamilton
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H Gregory Gershman

H Gregory Gershman Managing Partner

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The War on Happiness

Happy Hannukah everyone, well tomorrow night anyway. Did that hurt anyone? I also intend to wish people a Merry Christmas as we get closer too. I am Jewish, but I also have half of my family and many coworkers that are Christian.

Getting to December means awkward consideration of who we can wish a Merry, Happy, etc. Is it almost comical watching a manager, that is confident in every other area of their lives, all of the sudden get tongue tied when it comes to wishing the people around them peace and happiness. Why?

Fairness in Human Resources is about valuing employees, and their right to work in an environment that accepts them. You can express your joy at Christmas, or Hannukah, etc. Just don't restrict others from sharing their joy either. Put the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on your desk and enjoy it, but don't get offended when there is a Menorah in the window too.

Instead of obsessing over how to wish a coworker happiness, just express it in the way that is most genuine. If that is Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays, it is okay. If anyone wants practice, I am Jewish and would love to get a bunch of Merry Christmas wishes in my inbox, willing to smile at Happy Holidays too.

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Chris Pyle
A few years ago, I was the GSM of the Infiniti dealership in Willow Grove PA and had this happen to me personally. One December evening I was busy working deals and taking care of customers when I saw the wife of one of the Owners leaving. I knew they were going to Florida for a few weeks and that I wouldn't see her again till January, so I walked over to say good bye and wished her and her husband Rich a very Merry Christmas. No sooner did the words "have a very Merry Christmas Mrs. Frankel" leave my mouth, the entire showroom gasped and screeched to a halt. At the time, both owners (Mr. Rosen and Mr. Frankel) were Jewish. She must of seen the look of horror on my face because she smiled, calmly put her hand on my shoulder and said "Don't you ever feel bad for wishing genuine happiness for another person! I know exactly what you meant and you didn't offend me what so ever." Her compassion and grace really made an impact on me and it's something I'll never forget. I enjoyed your article and agree 100% that we would all benefit greatly by removing some of the egg shells we keep around us and just learn to be happy for each other. So with that in mind, Happy Hanikwansmas to everyone! ; )
H Gregory Gershman
Chris definitely! We make more out of this whole issue than it is. Wishing someone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or Joyous Holiday is not a political statement.
Lauren Moses
Very well put. I think it shows how far we have moved away from the true meaning of the holidays...."Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store, Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more." The Grinch. Show happiness however you do it best. It doesn't matter what holiday you or anyone else celebrates. They all are about family, and spreading joy. Don't let someone else's issues keep you from doing just that. So. Merry Christmas everyone!

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