The sun sparkles through the windows in this beautiful old building. I love this day! It’s a crisp November morning (well, crisp by Florida standards, at least) and the breakroom at Rethreaded already smells like my Maw-maw’s kitchen. As each team member arrives, more and more covered dishes show up on the counter, all in preparation for our big “family” Thanksgiving meal here at work.
Several times throughout the year, we have a whole-company lunch together. It is a time to stop being coworkers and just be people, friends, even “family” for a few minutes. We talk a lot about family-by-choice here at Rethreaded. We are all aware that many folks have a very difficult time during the holiday season. Painful past memories of holidays that were anything but joyful. Biological families don’t always get it right, do they? But we’ve learned that we can create a family by choice. I can choose that group of individuals who care deeply for me, who tell me the truth and hold me accountable to be the best me without any desire to tear me down, or help themselves at my expense. This group of people may be friends, coworkers, biological family members, fellow church parishioners, etc. But….I get to choose them, and it is them with whom I will celebrate these holidays. It is them with whom I will overwrite the bad memories with fresh, bright, and happy new ones.
We, at Rethreaded have learned (sometimes the hard way), what we already knew….community matters. These dinners matter. Coming together and spending time as people together matters. Suddenly, the work gets better, the environment gets better, the energy in the company gets better, the creativity gets better, the problem solving gets better, people grow, people are inspired, people challenge the status quo in themselves and those around them. That’s why we don’t just do it at Thanksgiving anymore. At least 2-3 times every WEEK, we cook together, eat together, and choose to be together. We did it at holidays, until it occurred to us that all the programs, all the solutions to problems, all the fire-fighting in the world never puts out the fires. But lunch did! We solved the biggest problem. Community. When community is in line, the other problems go away, aren’t important, or are solved by individuals who genuinely care about themselves, the person next to them, and the company as a whole.
If you are struggling with company culture problems, work initiative, quality issues, friction between coworkers or teams, stop fighting the fires….solve the problem. Bring the community together and BE a team. Don’t do a “team building” – be a TEAM BEING. Don’t just have a cookout one Friday night and think “we did it”. Come together frequently, constantly, casually, and comfortably. Don’t put a bunch of rules on it! Oh-oh-oh, don’t we just love to make policies and procedures and force people to follow them? Let it be! Just take your name badge off, leave your title at your desk, pull the stripes off your sleeve and sit down and eat with your teammates. You’ll learn about them. You’ll grow to love them (not just the work they do). And before long, you’ll look around and wonder where all the fires went. It’s because every member of the team is stamping out the embers whenever they see them, so they never become a blazing inferno.
Oh, this meal is special. It’s our “family” Thanksgiving feast. It’s a time to remember the wins from the year before, remember the amazing things in our teammates that makes us love them so, and remember that I am better because of the community I keep around me. Here at Rethreaded, no one leaves unchanged. Not me, not the newest employee to walk through the door. Here, we are brought into a community who cares for us deeply, maybe for the first time in our lives. It is here, around the table, where a lady learns to trust, just a little today; try, just a little today; take a chance, just a little today; and maybe, just maybe, believe, just a little today that this hope, this dream might just be true. Maybe these people are for real. Just maybe….
Hey, please pass the cranberries!
If you want to help us bring on more survivors, and support the survivors already here who are rebuilding their lives, you can donate.
It’s Christmas time already, so come on by our store at the Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope (515 E 9th St, Jax 32206) and get your Christmas shopping all wrapped up in a relaxed, fun, and peaceful environment with no holiday stress. And don’t forget…you’ll be changing lives while you do it!
The store hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday and 10-4 on Saturdays, from November 26 until December 17.