One of my colleagues is leaving the company, so it’s collection time again. We have this tradition in our office that when someone resigns, a hat goes around so that we can buy them a going-away present. A heart-warming concept indeed, but one that is severely hamstrung by the fact that the collection does the rounds near the end of the month. Put it another way – if you are reduced to digging in the back of the sofa for train fare and the neighbour’s cat is starting to look curiously delicious, you don’t really have spare funds to shower on your soon-to-be-former workmate.
It would make far more sense to have the collection at the beginning of the month, but resignations in this office are treated like state secrets, so the staff generally only find out about it at the last minute. I have a theory that this is a cunning strategy by Management to stick it to the person leaving for their apparent betrayal of the organisation (What’s wrong with OUR pastures, dammit! Aren’t they green enough?).
This means that when the envelope has completed its circuit of the building and is returned to the designated gift-buyer, it is full of paperclips, lint, sweet wrappers, staples and small-denomination coins, but very little actual money. As a result, the person leaving doesn’t get that nice coffee table book (full of glossy rain forest photographs) that they’ve always wanted, but rather a pamphlet on ‘how to prevent forest fires’ issued free by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.
I can’t think of many better ways to make someone feel utterly unloved and worthless.