... Cover story, continued
was a chance to engage in revelry before 40 days of lean living. In other words, it was the binge before the purge. Today, Mardi Gras celebrations certainly bring to mind images of people bingeing. The tourist experience of Mardi Gras is one of drinking on Bourbon Street, crowding the bars, and staying up all night. While you can definitely have that Mardi Gras if you want it, most locals will tell you that the “real” Mardi Gras is something else entirely. “Mainstream media tends to showcase a very specific kind of Mardi Gras,” says Solange Knowles, “but my experience of Mardi Gras is very different; it’s very cultural.”These cultural traditions were created by social clubs called krewes. The krewes create floats, dress in ornate costumes, and parade down the streets trailed by brass bands known as second lines.
Eventually, though, it morphed into a citywide party more secular than religious in nature.
iced bread; the dough closely resembles brioche. On top of the cake, you’ll find icing in green, gold, and purple, which are the colors of the Mardi Gras flag. A figurine called a feve is hidden inside the cake, usually in the shape of a baby. It is considered good luck to be the person whose slice has the figurine inside. All of these institutions are still in place today and have come to represent what Mardi Gras means to residents. Mardi Gras in the United States is now a celebration of distinctly New Orleans culture as much as it is a festive release before Lent. From the music and the food to the costumes and the parades, Mardi Gras is New Orleans. Or, as legendary NOLA pianist Professor Longhair once sang, “If you go to New Orleans / You ought to go see the Mardi Gras.”
In addition to the Gulf Coast of the United States, Mardi Gras celebrations occur throughout the world. In Brazil, where it is known as Carnival, it is the nation’s most celebrated and well-known holiday. It’s also a major event in Belgium, the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, and Germany.
No matter where Mardi Gras happens, it’s always something of a bacchanalian feast. That’s also the result of its Catholic origins. Lent, a time of fasting and giving up earthly pleasures, begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras. Historically, Mardi Gras
The official food of Mardi Gras is king cake. Though called a cake, it’s actually more of an
The Reason Employees Are Quitting in Droves
percent of respondents believed they could rely on the support of their managers and colleagues.
The numbers paint a disheartening picture of the average workplace. If you’ve been a manager for a long time, it can be difficult to imagine how frustrated an undervalued member of your team can feel and how these feelings can spread throughout your organization, leaving all your employees discontent. It’s imperative to listen and respond to your employees’ concerns. It takes more than instituting an open-door policy and relaxing work requirements — two characteristics of healthy workplaces, as rated by respondents. You need to commit resources to eliminating the problem. Start with the highest-level leaders of your business. Work with them on how to interact with the rest of your team in more human, empathetic, and responsive ways. Training and assessments are a good start, but you may also need to revamp the mentality and core values of your company. In a world where finding a new job is easier than ever, managers cannot afford to ignore the needs of their employees. Evolve and acknowledge the emotions in your workplace or risk losing all that you’ve invested in your top performers.
According to a survey conducted by Randstad, 60 percent of American employees either quit or strongly considered quitting their jobs last year. That’s a number that should terrify any business owner. However, instead of panicking, consider this record-breaking moment in U.S. employment history an invitation to take a long, hard look at your organization. Are members of your team waiting for the perfect moment to bail? And if so, why? It’s not because the majority of employees are ruthless careerists or disloyal money-grubbers. If we look at Mental Health America’s 2018 Workplace Health Survey, it mostly boils down to the fact that over half of American employees feel unappreciated, unsupported, and disrespected by management. In fact, 21 percent of respondents said that instead of being paid what they deserve, they’re nickel-and-dimed when raise season arrives, and 77 percent believed that instead of being lifted up for their accomplishments, employees were forced to toil away in the corner, feeling invisible. Sadly, scarcely more than 34
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