Friday, June 29, 2007

Get out and Smell the Lilac Trees

Ah, the lilac tree. Blooming early in Spring and lasting only a short while, it has one of the best smells in the world. We have two lilac trees at our place: one in our front yard and one in the back. Every so often, I walk our golden retriever Haley early in the morning and I can’t help noticing how many lilac trees there are in our pristine little neighbourhood. With each passing tree I stop and have a sniff – ironically, the dog waits for me. And sometimes I wonder: have the lilac trees always been there and I’ve just never noticed them, or have I actually slowed down to take in my surroundings?

I’ve come to the conclusion that PR people are completely in touch with the world (the good ones, anyways) and are perpetually “on” all the time. From popular culture, politics, green issues, new products, restaurant openings, Web 2.0 and more, it’s no wonder we never slow down and simply chill.

But is slowing down a sign of weakness or complacency? If we forget to read the paper in the morning, is it a personal catastrophe? Is it not in our best interest to clear the mind and just be? For agency folks especially, I think we are so consumed with solving our client’s communications’ issues that we sometimes forget to take a moment each day for ourselves. Some unashamedly “All About Me” time is not self-indulgent – it’s a right!

I’m a strong proponent of personal downtime. It’s crucial for our little brain nodes to self-heal and re-energize to ready for the next thing that will come at us. Stealing an hour each day in the morning or at night shouldn’t be an everyday extravagance even though career and family demands play a constant tug-of-war with our priorities.

So, starting today through to Labour Day, MAVERICK staffers have the luxury of half-day Friday workdays to be used in the most selfish of ways. When I founded MAVERICK eight years ago, The Summer Half-Day was the first HR policy I implemented. We stuck to that policy, not out of duty but because it’s what we value, because everyone needs a hot lazy Friday afternoon to unwind. With a guilt-free half-day off every summer work week, we get some much-needed “All About Me” time. Whether we choose to hit the links, beat the cottage traffic, play with our children, meet up with friends, catch an afternoon matinee or any other self-serving pastime, summer half-days are refreshing, enjoyable and downright indulgent.

Life is short and summer is even shorter, so get out and smell the lilac trees once in a while. Because before you know it, summer is over.


Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Buket said...

The half-day Fridays are such a treat. Thank you Julie. I love your mention about the Lilac trees because lilacs have always been my favourite flower. Not only do they have the most wonderful scent and colour, but they take me back to my childhood when I used to climb the fence behind my elementary school and pick the blossoms for my mother. Ahh, those were the days...

Jai Jot Lafayette said...

I love to see progressive companies caring for employees.

I must say summer half days are new to me and I hope more companies follow your lead.

Jai Jot Lafayette