George
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George Hull
CPSP Diplomate Clinical Pastoral Supervision

Master Fezziwig Knew a Thing or Two about Celebrating Employees

Master Fezziwig Knew a Thing or Two about Celebrating Employees

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Borne there by the Spirit of Christmas-Past, the scene opens: It is Christmas once more, and Scrooge is standing outside the warehouse where he was once an apprentice. They go inside, and Scrooge is delighted to find his former boss – Mr. Fezziwig.

Mr. Fezziwig instructs a young Scrooge and his fellow apprentice, Dick, to prepare the premises for their annual Christmas party.

The scene fills as in comes a fiddler, Mrs. Fezziwig, all the other Fezziwigs together with all the employees.

They enjoy music and dancing, and finally, the joyous evening comes to a close; Scrooge is forced to reflect on his own treatment as an employer regarding his staff.

“When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas. When everybody had retired but the two apprentices, they did the same to them; and thus, the cheerful voices died away, and the lads were left to their beds.

During the whole of this time, Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. His heart and soul were in the scene and with his former self. He remembered everything and enjoyed everything. It was not until now, when the bright faces of his former self and Dick were turned from them, that he remembered the Ghost, and became conscious that it was looking full upon him, while the light upon its head burnt very clear. 

‘A small matter,’ said the Ghost, ‘to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.’

‘Small!’ echoed Scrooge.

The Spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices, who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig. And when Scrooge had done so, the Spirit said:

‘Why! Is it not? He’s spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?’

‘It isn’t that,’ said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. ‘It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.’

He felt the Spirit’s glance, and stopped.

‘What’s the matter?’ asked the Ghost.

‘Nothing particular,’ said Scrooge.

‘Something, I think?’ the Ghost insisted.

‘No,’ said Scrooge, ‘No. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my clerk, Bob Cratchit, just now! That’s all.”

 

In contrast to Fezziwig, who treated his employees with generosity and kindness, Scrooge regarded his employee with the mean-spiritedness of the cold-hearted businessman he was. For Scrooge, it was always profit over people, and the only thing that mattered in his personal and professional life was his bottom line. Scrooge was demanding of himself and, therefore, hard on others. It’s a general rule of thumb that one cannot treat others differently than one’s Self. Scrooge lived on the very edge of his own heart. He was a stingy man, a perfect misanthrope, and it cost him greatly in terms of his relationships.

 In contrast, to Scrooge, Fezziwig symbolizes all that Scrooge is not. Fezziwig was lavishly generous, and his extraordinary generosity was life-giving and in a manner that liberated the very heart of those who worked for him. Fezziwig, it might be argued, fostered a corporate structure of significance in which those on the lowest rung of the business ladder were celebrated with those at the very top and made to feel significant. Generosity was a characteristic of Fezziwig; it was not something he tagged on for profit. Generosity was part of the very fabric of his being and lived out in his business dealings. As Dale Partridge has said, “When generosity is who you are rather than something you do, it will seep out of your organization’s pores Naturally.” that’s the bottom line that even Scrooge could accept.

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