Fishing unites ENMU staff

Jared Tucker

Faculty and staff of Eastern New Mexico University have been fishing every day since last year and haven’t baited a single hook, or even left campus.

That’s because fishing isn’t an activity. It’s a philosophy aimed at improving the workplace environment, according to Bonnie Sink, ENMU Information Technology Systems administrative assistant and Fish! program participant.

“The best thing about the Fish! philosophy is you can mold it and shape it into what works best for your company or organization,” Sink said. “We believe in the philosophy.”

ENMU employees in the Fish! program have participated in such activities as having water fights during their lunch breaks and earning prizes for workplace kindness.

Sue Bracksieck, a career advisor at ENMU, is the FISH! “Wrangler,” in charge of training and recruiting other faculty and students to the program. She said the program has helped her stay positive at work.

“It puts me in constant contact with positive people. It’s the tools to stop for a minute, and actually think of how to solve situations before they become stressful,” Bracksieck said.

Bracksieck hopes to have all ENMU staff and students participating in FISH! within a few years.

Sink said the program is complete with training manuals, videos and “fish cards,” which are given to employees who go the extra mile. The cards can be redeemed for prizes such as gift cards.

Created by filmmaker and ChartHouse Learning CEO John Christensen, the FISH! Philosophy began when he visited a fish market in Seattle, Sink said.

“He was hypnotized by (the employees’) energy, their fun, focus and excitement,” Sink said.

According to the ChartHouse website, the FISH! Philosophy is used by Fortune 500 companies around the world, and the curriculum has been translated into 14 languages.