And stay out!

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.

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13 thoughts on “And stay out!

  1. Hee. I know. I’ve had months where my very own felines look particularly delicous.

    But, couldn’t you give them the paper clips and lint? Nothing feels less homey than a starkly clean desk without paper clips and lint in the drawers?

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  2. Hi KN – explains my last measly fare-well gift – most companies obviously work on the same system!
    Can donate an irritating, pushy feline that thinks it’s human to the next collection. Will deliver (in a pillow-slip – claws are razor-like…)

    Cheers
    Albie

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  3. oh i HATE the envelope with the request for funds. its either give my co-worker a shitty gift or get my coffee for the day. i usually choose the coffee.
    i also hate that my boss, who makes 8 times what i make an hour bitches about having to contribute to the said fund. i’m like, dude, put two bucks in and SHUT UP!!!

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  4. Thanks for making my workplace look so incredibly wonderful and generous! We regularly donate for funerals, births, adoptions, etc. and many of us actually seek out said envelope! Fortunately, people don’t leave often, so we don’t have to deal with that very much.

    The pasture is evidently greener elsewhere.

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  5. We have quite a good birthday fund going, but we still get party poopers who moan about a few rands.I would like my boss to have some kind of rcognition scheme going. We do start to feel like numbers.
    It would be so cool to put a huge gift in the envelope, just to see the person’s face, not knowing where it came from. How about suggesting that, and then quitting 🙂

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  6. albie: Very generous, but I’m going to have to insist on a canvas bag for all donations.

    anduin: That sounds like a good idea, although I’m not so sure I’d want to hug certain colleagues.

    delboy: Indeed not. Chitty should start his own collection and the sooner the better.

    lisa: It seems to be the way of the world. It’s peculiar how often generosity is inversely proportional to salary.

    beastarzmom: We have a fairly brisk turnover in my office – there’s usually at least one or two resignations a month, but it still catches me by surprise every time.

    scott: I’ve already let it be known that I don’t want a gift if I resign. I figure my co-workers deserve a break.

    livewire: It sounds like your organisation has put the cart before the horse. The whole ‘unloved and worthless’ ploy doesn’t make sense unless they’re trying to get rid of you.

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  7. Del, KN: I am setting up a collection box in my name… at the reception. In that way I hope to that enough money will be donated to buy me a decent present.
    Failing that, I will take the envelope around personally. I figure it will be much harder to be stingy when the person you are donating the money for is standing right in front of you.

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