The town clock was striking midnight as wind howled and snow pounded against the frost-covered window panes. Asleep in the comfort of warmth and peace was Ebenoozer Magoo.
As a dedicated individual, he looked forward to his Christmas vacation. For the last several years he worked diligently at the local furniture manufacturer.
All of a sudden Ebenoozer sat straight up, with eyes wide open and bones shaking as he listened to the sound of slow footsteps echoing across the room.
"EBENOOZER, EBENOOZER," called the spirit, "I am the Ghost of Work-World Past. Please Ebenoozer, be open-minded to change. I am asking you to welcome growth and change; sure we can all be proud of past accomplishments, but new knowledge and techniques prove to make a difference.
"Be willing to stretch and expand your comfort zones. After all, the years of manufacturing have only been a few decades since the historical Industrial Revolution. What are the odds that the first ways of managing and working together are the only ways, or the best for these current times? Yes, we have had success, but the times call for new insights and knowledge so we can reach our potential."
Ebenoozer was still in shock as his trembling hands rubbed his bloodshot eyes; he still could not believe what he was seeing.
No sooner did the spirit leave, when another one arrived through the window.
"EBENOOZER, I am the Ghost of Work-World Present. Do you not see the difference in the various departments? Some have energy, commitment, trust, focus toward a sense of mission and goals, a team model and constant learning.
"They care about the company and are provided opportunities to improve process - their opinion and input are seen as value added. Do you not recognize that these departments have the highest quality of work life and job satisfaction? Do you see that they also are the most productive and have the highest quality?
"Ah, maybe there is a relationship. Think about it, contrast it to the department you work in now where progress is stifled by the barriers of change resistance.
"Remember, Ebenoozer, just because you do not understand a concept or feel comfortable with it, that does not mean it is not a superior one having potential to make a difference."
With a swirling gust of wind, the spirit vanished. Ebenoozer was left alone with a perplexing facial expression and challenging thoughts. He sat at the edge of his Victorian bed and gazed in silence at the stars. Their brightness stimulated an optimistic reflection on his own potential and that of co-workers.
After brief moments of reflective silence, another swirl of wind revealed the Ghost of Work-World Future.
"EBENOOZER, my dear man, think of the vast creative and productive progress that will materialize when you and your coworkers are ever so involved in opportunities to continuously learn and apply the skills to continuously improve.
"Think of the personal fulfillment and sense of accomplishment, think of the productivity and quality gains, think of the customer excitement, think of the importance of security; Ebenoozer, you do not need to just think about it - DO IT! and experience the same results that thousands of other organizations are having when the priority of 'doing it' prevails. Good luck and farewell, Ebenoozer."
Again, silence prevailed as Ebenoozer pondered his thoughts. He realized the last ghost had a similar appearance to that of Santa. How appropriate, for that ghost left gifts of vision, courage, insight, excitement, optimism and a willingness to do and become.
As Ebenoozer stared out the window toward a sky of vast beauty, the stars seemed brighter.
Machamer is a human resources professional and college instructor who is working on authoring a book. He also is a consultant with Pinnacle Consulting LLC in Williamsport. Machamer's column will be published on the last Sunday of each month. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.