Friday, April 11, 2008

That's encouraging

I'm a part of a problem solving group at work. And one of my responsibilities as a part of the group is to give occasional progress updates at our Monthly All Employee Meetings. Which is very cool because it gives me the opportunity to practice my public speaking skills on a captive audience.
Well, this week was one of those opportunities. I had to give a presentation on the progress of our Designated Smoking Area. Also very cool since I'd been looking forward to sharing the info with everyone. And because a few of the smokers have really pissed me off recently.
I shared the information that I had with everyone about the progress of the new concrete and the picnic tables that are on order. Then I made sure to throw a dig at the smokers who have been pissing me off.
You see, many of the smokers have expressed great consternation with myself, and others in our group, that we will not be adding an awning or a roof extention over the patio area. Mainly because it has always been Respironics unspoken policy that they will not make it any easier for their employees to smoke. An awning would defintely make it easier for people to smoke. That has lead several smokers to be rather confrontational with me. And I don't respond pleasantly to confrontations, especially when I can't really do anything about the unspoken policy. Even more upsetting was when one of the ladies used the "someone's gonna die of pneumonia because of this"...
Excuse me! Someone's gonna die of CANCER!
Anyways.
At the end of my presentation I added this statement;
"For those of you concerned about the fact that we will not be adding an awning for adverse weather, allow me to just say that Respironics will not prohibit anyone from smoking inside their own vehicles."
In the first shift meeting, it went over like a lead parachute. But in the second shift meeting I got a lot of laughs. And afterwards I got a lot of compliments on how well I did. Even many of the smokers, those who don't have a problem with the Designated Smoking Area - as it is, told me they liked what I had to say. And I've been hearing it all week long. I even had someone from HR tell me that I should do these presentations more often. And that's something that i find to be encouraging.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Jeff A said...

Hey cool!

Usually if I have something to say at one of our meeting my boss buries his head in his hands before I even open my mouth!

1:58 AM  
Blogger M+ said...

Jeff;
Why am I not surprised?

I actually have a very solid reputation at work. But some of the smokers hate me at the moment. When people ask me if that bothers me I just tell them "Look at my haircut. Do you really think I care about anyone's opinion of me but my own?"

BTW; What's the deal with your blog? I click on my Blogroll link and I go back to your Monster Ballads post from December.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff A said...

Well thats odd! It only seems to do it to you. I tried it several times and it worked for me. What browser are you using?

2:25 PM  
Blogger M+ said...

Internet Explorer. Must be my set-up. I'll look into things on my end.

4:21 PM  
Blogger One Wink at a Time said...

Oh wow. This is a very sore subject with me so I will behave ;-)
We had our smoking room "removed" a couple of years ago. Our smoking area consists of a patio with a table and canopy at one end of the building, which takes a third of our breaks walking to and from there. We also have a table with an umbrella purposefully situated where people driving by the facility cannot see. What riles me is that there is a huge handy covered patio that is large enough to be shared by smokers and non-smokers alike but a few non-smokers who whine about whatever they can find to whine about (or make up stuff if nothing is available) complained about the smoke. Funny part of that is, not only are they never on the patio, when it rains or snows, they're not even there on sunny days. But we don't complain because we're made to feel like lepers if we do. I am a considerate smoker and don't impose my bad habit on others.
I don't understand why non-smokers find it necessary to take our habits personally. I don't raise a fuss because I'm always cold at work because the temperature seems to be set for overweight people who are hot all the time. Or that animal hair off other people's clothes ends up on my coat. Everybody has their beefs and I find it's best to just keep quiet and try to get along. That's all I want to say about it.

9:12 PM  
Blogger M+ said...

Wink;
I understand your reasons for being so upset about your situation. And I don't mindif you vent a little bit here. But allow me to explain that the situation at my work is far different.
We're being quite accomodating to our smokers. We're just not going to modify the actual building by adding the roof extention or an awning. In fact, we actually allowed everybody the opportunity to share their own ideas with us when we first set out to do this. The general consensus of our population was "If we're not going to be a smoke-free facility, then we at least need to keep the main/visitor's entrance smoke-free." And that was also the most common response of our smokers. So, that's what we chose to do.
We already had a patio where we're moving the DSA (Designated Smoking Area), and we expanded the size of it to accomodate more people. We're adding new tables and benches (all made of recycled materials, too). And we made sure to choose a patio that is close to the cafeteria so the smokers wouldn't have to spend most of their break time in transit.
We also offered a smoking cessation program, paid for by Respironics, to anyone who wanted to quit. It was well received. Many of our smokers ended up quitting. Others have chosen not to. And that is their right.
But we're also placing certain stipulations on our smokers. We expect them to keep their DSA fairly clean. We don't want to see butts and cigarette packs all over the patio. If the smokers can't keep their DSA presentable, then we will become a smoke-free facility.
As for your situation, I'm sorry that your employer is not so accomodating, but I think that's just a reflection of much of our culture. There are plenty of "tobacco nazi's" out there trying to infringe upon your right to smoke. And they're willing to use the fact that smoke isn't a stationary thing as a way of isolating people and possibly shaming them into quitting.
Not all non-smokers are such opressive ogres when it comes to people smoking. One of the reasons why I asked to be a part of this particular project was because I didn't want it to be decided by the "tobacco nazi's" where I work. But be aware, the way the laws (damned politicians and legislators) are heading these days, your situation might be more the norm than ours.

4:16 PM  

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