Office Gift Contribution Reform Bill

Like so many things in life, work and where you work can be a political mine field of personalities, office politics and just plain stupidity. Anyone who has ever worked any where and has been approached for a “sunshine fund” or asked to buy wrapping paper from their co-workers kid knows that saying no and can be almost as painful as saying yes is to your wallet.

Things that were once nice gestures are now demanded by co-workers. Yes, I have been at both the receiving end and giving end of these types of gestures, but I never would expect it. Even DEMAND it. Where I work now we do a “cake” fund. where we put in $10 dollars and for each persons birthday we get a cake for that month. So, in March (I think am remembering this correctly) I will share my Birthday cake with another person. In January, 3 people shared a cake. I don’t have a problem with this. I could have opted out.. I didn’t. But then there are the million other things we do collections for from time to time. At Christmas when people have the most hardships, we do Secret Santa, we do a collection for our 3 bosses, and I honestly believe we are expected to give cards/gifts to everyone in some way, shape or form. Again I am apart of these actions. I think that putting in for my bosses, who I like working for and make my life a little easier from time to time is a nice way to say thank you. But I’m sorry I don’t expect people to give me a photo card of their kids, when they might have to purchase a completely extra set to do it for the whole team. People don’t have the money. I don’t expect people to purchase a vase and fill it with greens and holly and bows and put it on my desk. It’s nice, but I don’t need it to happen.

Back in May when I went out because of my appendicitis two of my co-works sent me flowers in the hospital. This gesture was made by two close friends at work, who knew because of Mad Dog’s schedule and how far our family are from us, I would be sitting in the hospital alone and might need some cheering up. They were right, and their gesture had the right sentiment. On arriving home, a box of wonderful cookie (AMAZING COOKIES) was waiting for me and the family to enjoy. This thoughtful gift was sent from the rest of my department team and selected by my supervisor. It was the perfect token, to tell me I was missed and to get well (and back!) soon. I did not expect this. I wouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have. Even with my ailment being a complete “act of God”, which I had not honestly per-knowledge of I didn’t expect this!

When collections are take in our department for things like this, it is always stated that you give “what you can”. There is no set amount in these cases, they don’t figure out what they’re going to spend and say “Hey, everyone owes me $15.00.” No it is what you can give. And people do give generously, and people give what they can and then there are those people who don’t give and yes they are still allowed to sign the card. I’ve been on the collecting side of a few of these and I know that sometimes the balance is completely out of wack. But if people are giving what they can, who is making up the slack if the money isn’t enough?

Recently a co-worker went out for elective surgery. A gift was sent. I will tell you, no collection was taken and this gift was sent out of someones pocket. After the gift was received, this person received an email from our ailing co-worker that the gift was being returned. She questioned the monetary value of the gift and was insulted by it. A better gift was expected? EXPECTED?

These are things that make me want to just go to work, and not socialize outside my cube. It’s completely understandable. If the person in the cube next to you feels the need to put a little something on your desk for your birthday, should you be expected to do it in return? Should you have to buy a gift for someone who is rude to you, doesn’t talk to you for weeks on end because they had one glimmer of kindness towards you?  I don’t think so. I don’t think it should be expected. If it is the company should dock your pay and that money would be like a contribution to office politics (like contributions of your tax refund to Massachusetts Aids Fund, or Military Family Relief Fund). I don’t think so. I don’t think anything should be expected. You don’t know what anyone else is going through, what their hardships are and what their life demands of them. The only think you should expect is a paycheck and even in these times thats a privilege too.

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~ by Cute Fan Girl on February 7, 2010.

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