For the past few weeks, there has been a tree in my living room. And while I've been celebrating Christmas this way my whole life, this year I was struck by how strangely normal it seemed to have a living (albeit terminal) tree set up in my house. I know it’s a custom…but how did we become so accustomed to being around trees? And then it came to me.
Now, what I'm about to say may smack of tree-son, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it anyway, bad puns and all. You see, I work with trees. And no, I’m not a lumberjack – In fact, I’m willing to bet most of you all work with trees as well.
Look around your office, or department, building, or store. Chances are you will see a tree (and I’m not talking about the potted Yucca in the corner) I mean the Weeping Willow in the cubicle…you may know her as the whiny girl who spends half her time complaining about every change in her job and the other half crying over every problem in her life.
But that’s not all. The workplace is a veritable meta-forest of trees. You know that obnoxious guy who wants a high-five every time someone does or says something even mildly witty or amusing? He’s a Palm tree.
Or what about those annoyingly sincere people who insist on celebrating every birthday with cake and acknowledging every illness with get-well cards…they’re Maples (full of sap, get it?) And the people who receive the majority of those get well cards? Sycamores (because they call in “sycamore” than everyone else!)
Then there are the Quaking Aspens, those insecure people who show up trembling at your door because they can’t handle confrontation and need constant reassuring.
And let’s not forget the old folks, the ones who should have retired years ago, and can’t go a day without reminding everyone about how life was so much better way back when – they’re the Pines, pining away for their youth.
The bossy woman no one can stand…she’s a Beech!
The creepy guy who stares at all the women’s breasts? Chestnut. And the woman who’s breasts are worth staring at? Poplar.
Batting clean-up, you have the Spruces. They’re those “helpful” people who are constantly tidying up common areas and picking lint off your lapels.
Finally, you have the Stumps, those people, who for the life of you, you can not figure out how the keep their jobs. The just sit there, taking up space, doing absolutely nothing, but for whatever reasons, they are very hard to remove.
On a more positive note, just about any member of the Evergreen family are an asset to the workplace, for they are always fresh and full of life while the rest of us tend to work in cycles. We’ll be in full-bloom for a while, then things start dropping off …but the Evergreens are always consistent and dependable.
Also dependable are the Ash. Strong and sturdy, they are willing to stand up and go to bat for anyone in need. They are full of knowledge and experience and are the people you seek out when you have a problem. Unfortunately, there are usually a few people who think they are Ashes; They’re the self-appointed leaders who feel free to smugly speak their minds in condescending tones at every opportunity. The difference is, while they may have the knowledge and experience generally associated with the Ash, there is something (personality, compassion, tact, all of the above) missing, which is why we call them Ash-holes!
And that’s about it. I think I rooted out most of the possibilities which means it is time for me to make like a tree and…get out of here.