The Economics Of Christmas Vacation, as Explained by My Wife to Her Ten-Year-Old Niece

by Derrick Bostrom

My wife leaves her instant messaging client on all day while she's working. No wonder it takes her 60 hours a week to get anything done. It doesn't help matters that her ten-year-old niece periodically bombards her with interruptions. On the other hand, some of the transcripts are good enough to withstand the test of time:

Niece: I have a question.

Wife: k

Niece: How come you are coming Christmas Eve instead of a day earlier or something?????

Wife: because Uncle Derrick has to work

Niece: why?

Wife: he can't leave until Christmas eve

Wife: he works at a retail store, and during Christmas retail stores are filled with busy shoppers

Niece: he can work at our store

Wife: that isn't how it works

Wife: he supports his store only

Niece: poopie

Wife: well, in these troubling economic times, one wants to make sure they keep their employer happy

Niece: they're the same. aren't they

Wife: no, not at all

Niece: howcome

Wife: well, for one thing, your store already has someone doing uncle derrick's job

Niece: can't they both work?

Wife: the company can only pay one of them at a time

Niece: o

Wife: and then who would do uncle derrick's job at his store?

Wife: plus it wouldn't be fair to all the people who depend on him at his own store

Wife: if there were problems, they'd be in trouble right before the holiday

Niece: how would they depend on him

Wife: he keeps the computers working, makes sure all the prices are right, and makes sure the cash registers work

Niece: o

Wife: so you see, it's very important for him to be there on such busy shopping days

Niece: why

Niece: hmmmm?

Wife: imagine if you went to the store and they said "sorry, we can't sell you these things that you need because the computers aren't working right now"

Wife: because Derrick decided to abandon us and go see his niece a day early

Niece: sooo

Niece: i would go to a different store

Wife: and then all the people who worked at his store would lose money because you bought things somewhere else

Wife: that's not fair to his co-workers

Niece: why

Wife: they might get sent home early and not get paid since they couldn't sell anything

Wife: and then they'd have to take back the Christmas presents they bought for their kids because they had no money

Niece: no they wouldn't

Wife: yes, they would

Wife: they count on the money they get at Christmas time to make up for days that aren't as busy

Wife: some day you'll have a job, then you'll understand

Niece: no I won't

Niece: i am going to be a astronaut

Wife: an astronaut - so what would happen if one person didn't show up for a launch?

Wife: the rest of them couldn't go

Niece: yes they could

Wife: no, they couldn't because each of them has a very important job to do

Niece: yes they could

Wife: not really - you need people to be able to help each other.

Niece: what?

Wife: each person has their own skills and training. They work together and help each other

Niece: no

Wife: it's called teamwork


Niece: ok

Wife: A general dictionary defines teamwork as a "Cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause, unison for a higher cause, people working together for a selfless purpose, and so on." Applied to workplaces teamwork is a method that aligns employee mindsets in a cooperative and usually selfless manner, towards a specific business purpose. Today there is no business or organization that does not talk about the need and value of teamwork in the workplace.

Wife: In order for teamwork to succeed one must be a team player. A team player is one who subordinates personal aspirations and works in a coordinated effort with other members of a group, or team, in striving for a common goal. Businesses and other organizations often go to the effort of coordinating team building events in an attempt to get people to work as a team rather than as individuals

Niece: 0123456789

Wife: ok i have to go now, one of my teammates needs my help