Archived Story

Candy sweetens office relations

Published 10:27am Thursday, May 16, 2013

When I began my professional career, my mom gave me many tips on how to be successful. And one small tip that has stuck: keep candy on your desk – not for you but for your coworkers.

After acclimating myself to the daily activities of a newsroom, I surreptitiously placed an eco-friendly box, kindly created out of newspapers for me by my dear friend and Alexander City native Megan Welch, on my desk and filled it with Hershey candies.

I placed it near the edge of my desk near the aisle between me and my coworkers.

One by one, the bright candy wrappers caught my coworkers’ eyes. They would pause at my desk and then ask, “Are those for everyone?”

I’d nod my head and smile, and they’d say thank you as they selected their favorite treat from the box.

And as my little box gained in popularity, I was amazed at how, like magic, the candy made itself disappear in a span of 24 hours after I placed it on my desk.

At times, when my funds were low and I couldn’t refill the box immediately, some of my coworkers would pitch in monetarily or purchase candy to fill the box themselves.

And so the box stayed on my desk, and even when it was empty, my coworkers would stop by to say hello – even as they eyed the little box to see if I’d replenished the treats yet.

My coworkers’ children have also learned of my famed candy box and will raid it every chance they get.

My mom was 100 percent right – it’s a simple, inviting way to keep dialogue open among coworkers, even if they’re bonding over something as simple as some candy.

In community journalism, it’s so important to be able to relate to people – even those within our own office.

It’s amazed me how that little box, when supplied with the right treats, will bring together everyone from our drivers to our publisher.

All of my coworkers, it seems, have a sweet tooth (or two. Or seven.).

And despite a few protests about the healthiness of the decision to keep candy around, it’s been nice to be able to provide that one small thing to uplift my coworkers on those stressful days that go hand-in-hand with working in the journalism world.

Just like any business, sometimes things go wrong.

People may get upset. Deadlines may be pushed.

But when it goes wrong, that box will be there to provide a little sweetness until we can solve the problem together.

Spears is general manager and managing editor of The Outlook.

 

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