It takes 37 muscles to frown. And 22 muscles to smile. Why not smile?
According to snopes.com this is undetermined. There is quite a list on the website offering a variety of answers, all of which favor smiling. The Urban Hotel mandated smiling. Being trained to smile, captured on film smiling, posted on a wall smiling, is it so wrong to expect an employee to smile? I worked in retail for years before I career switched. Smiling was essential. Sincerity was also essential, and somehow softening the purpose of a mirror by the basement door with a comic didn’t ring genuine with me.
In this week’s reading we learned that all group learning ultimately reflects someone’s original beliefs and values. Someone in the hierarchy at Urban Hotel created their core values. By posting the smiling shots on the wall was the Urban Hotel offering social validation to their employees? Or if caught frowning would an employee be excommunicated? I found it interesting to reflect back on the Urban Hotel after reading the three levels of culture. In one statement from the culture chapter the U.S. organizations are described as “espousing teamwork while actually rewarding individual competitiveness” and Hewlett Packard is given as an example. The Urban Hotel staff was the opposite; the employees gave away services when they agreed, not independently, as if they feared their choices weren’t going to be validated. The ‘safety if groups theory’ seemed stronger, were they seeking stability and meaning? This enforced my original belief that these employees were being molded.
I feel like I’m all over the place in this post, but then my mind circled around to the video we watched of Chimamanda Adichie and her story. Is the story of the American organization one that claims to be team oriented, but is actually competitive? I admit I would have skipped the manicure to take a second chance on being quizzed at the company fair to get my name tossed in box twice toward that dinner out. And I would have smiled while doing it. Yet there is more to my story too…