‘Down Bad’ for Taylor Swift

‘Down Bad’ for Taylor Swift

(Last of two parts)

Last week, we discussed the dilemma faced by P, a human resources head, when several company trainees and junior managers relinquished their tasks to fly abroad for a Taylor Swift concert.

P asked for advice on how to respond, whether to fire, sanction, or send out memos. I warned P that firing was unwise, and any possible sanctions would have to be in accordance with existing company rules. I advised P to talk openly with each errant employee about what is expected of them.


A company memo reiterating employee responsibility is also a good idea.


In April 2023, education superintendent Addison Davis of Hillsborough District in Florida warned students not to miss class to see Swift live. He used Swift songs (printed in bold) in his message, abridged as follows:

READ: Going gaga over Taylor Swift

“There’s a Delicate situation we must discuss. Are you Ready For It? … There is a rather big concert taking place in Tampa … In my Wildest Dreams, I never thought I’d be sending a communication saying this, however, This is Me Trying to be the best Superintendent I can be without creating any Bad Blood between myself and our amazing students.

“Students, You Need to Calm Down. Under no circumstances will Friday be an excused absence because you were having an Enchanted evening under the Starlight at [the] … Stadium … I am the Anti-Hero here, and Call It What You Want, but You’re On Your Own, Kid if you think being a Swiftie is a good excuse for missing important instruction. You know All Too Well you Should’ve Said No to attending a Thursday night concert. Especially one from an artist who is known for putting on a 3-hour amazing show.

“You may think you’re Out of the Woods since it is the fourth quarter, but make no mistake, if you miss an important lesson, you will not be able to Shake it Off. Your report card could be Treacherous because you refused to Stay, Stay, Stay in class. I know, I know, You’re Not Sorry for attending such a Gorgeous concert, but I promise you, this is not a Hoax.

READ: UP Diliman opens Taylor Swift elective classes


“All You Had To Do Was Stay in class. I hope there is not a Blank Space in your seat on Friday morning. It could be a Cruel Summer if you prioritize being a Swiftie over being in class. You Belong With Me, Me!, in school. Please don’t make me see Red with your absence.”

Forever and always, Superintendent Davis

Davis is an avowed Swiftie. Swift herself, known for perseverance and dedication toward her craft, would surely approve of his memo.

Closer to home, Dr. Raymond Baquiran, associate dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, wrote a memo last March that trended on social media. This situation is far graver, since clerks and interns play critical roles in patient care.

“It has come to my attention that some of you have either attended or planning to attend the Taylor Swift Concert … Attendance to this concert is not an acceptable reason to be absent. Nonetheless, some still went. The absence is not simply a … make-up for an excused absence, but an abandonment of post, even insubordination.

“As Clerks and Interns, you are already part of a healthcare team both in the hospital and community settings. Although you are still in training, you already have responsibilities to your patients, institutions and communities. [This] … preparation for your work as health professionals necessitates that you be clear-sighted with what your priorities are.

“Regardless of the reason, our Student Handbook states that ‘students should inform their … Coordinator if they are unable to attend … academic activities.’ Let me clearly state that attendance to this concert, or any other similar activities, cannot be accepted as a reason for being absent from one’s post, regardless of its classification as an unexcused absence.

“We ask you to uphold the values of honesty, integrity, professionalism and sense of justice at all times. Be always mindful also of your peers who are left behind continuing the work in the hospital and the community whenever a member of the team is absent. You share the responsibility to each other.”

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Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her book “All in the Family Business” at Lazada or Shopee, or the ebook at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected].

TAGS: All in the Family, Taylor Swift

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