Watch Out: Culture and Fun Can Get Old!


IMG_3165My cat Scrubby has a broken brain.

He is a super happy guy who needs ongoing validation. We have been trying for seven years to teach his kitty brain to be zen and yoga-like, but he takes after his mom: Mister Scrubby needs constant love, attention and reassurance that he is our #1 boo.

(Maybe he should blog more often.)

We have another problem with Scrubby, too. His sister, Molly, hates him. He wants to snuggle and lick her ears. She wants to stab him in the face with a kitty knife.

But life is better, these days, since we started co-feeding and co-playing. We use dried treats and interactive cat toys. We play Da Bird with both of them. They love peacock feathers and boxes, too. And we reserved one room in our house as a “fun” room — the bonus room above our garage — and we go up there every night at the same time and do toys and treats.

It is working. Life is more harmonious.

But Scrubby now associates love and fun with the bonus room. He wants to spend every waking hour up there. If we let him hang out in there constantly without attention and love, it would become like every other room in the house. And if we pay constant attention to him, it bothers the other cats.

So the second phase of our challenge is to make the rest of the house fun and palatable for him, too. And we have to teach him to chill out. “Come here, sit down and purr. This is fun, too. Not every moment is about your needs.”

In fact, Scrubs can satisfy his own needs (and be a better kitty brother) by being self-directed and seeking out some scrubilicious adventures on his own in the rafters of our basement.

We are working on it.

Anyway, I think there’s a lesson in this for you.

  • You think your employees want fun and culture. Foosball. Beer. Retreats to Cancun with lots of tequila.
  • That’s okay, but I think a decent paycheck is better. Trust that your employees will have fun on their own time.
  • And how about killing the instinct to helicopter yourself into your employees’ lives?
  • Instead, try to encourage healthy boundaries and maybe a little work/life balance on the weekends.

Life is predictable. What starts off as unique becomes old. What starts out as fun becomes the new normal. Just ask a junky.

When your employees feel entitled to be rockstars who are on a journey towards greatness, they forget how to be adults. They don’t know how to deal with the quieter moments in life. And that is where trouble develops in your workforce. Culture and fun can be important, but I think  work is work. Special moments remain special when they are unique and genuine.

Just ask Scrubby and Molly!


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