HR Party Planners: Here’s Help From Your Secret Santa

It’s that time of year in offices all across America where Secret Santas are making their furtive appearance, and the HR department is planning the office party.

(Yes, of course, you can sit at the big table. Now, how about the Secret Santa?)

This is what stress is like in HR: First open enrollment, and then the end-of-year holidays that can land a visit from the EEOC or a process server or — JACKPOT — both. Just think of what your colleagues in compliance are doing:

  1. Calculating how few drinks can be served and still call it a festive event;
  2. Asking each other if putting a menorah on a Christmas tree covers the diversity issue;
  3. Deciding if the Secret Santa limit be upped to $20;
  4. Wondering what to do about Kwanzaa.

Shame on you for thinking you had it tough, sorting through 385 resumes for that accounting job. That you have to do yourself. But for the party planners in HR, here’s help:

  1. See the chart.
  2. No. Just skip the whole tree thing. It’s a big pain, and a fire hazard anyway;
  3. Yes, but make sure you put last names and departments on slips. I got cheated out of my gift when some dope only put “John” on the papers. There were two of us. I was a VP. The other one was the boss. Guess who got two gifts. (Yes, still bitter after all these years.)
  4. See #2.


After having my dreams of a filthy rich New Year dashed when someone else’s Powerball numbers got drawn, I turned a different kind of dreaming and pulled up jobdreaming.

I’ve been hanging on to the announcement of the launch of this site ever since I read it “allows active and passive candidates to describe their ideal next job in one fill-in-the-blank sentence.”

So I did, only to discover I was still dreaming. Nothing matched my pretty broad job preference. (I kept picking the “anything” category.)

So I dream on. As I once told Jason Davis, if you come across a job that requires no particular effort or skills, pays incredibly well and offers an expense account, I’m your man. Turns out there were several here in Southern California, but you have to get elected.

Maybe my Secret Santa will get me one.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /





John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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