Author Topic: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent  (Read 9060 times)

frugs

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Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« on: January 17, 2020, 07:16:13 PM »
I keep getting hit up for money at work and I find it so bothersome and annoying. This typically happens in two scenarios:

-work baby shower (around 2 per year) someone asking for contributions to buy gifts

-unfortunate event (someone's parent dying or loved one in the hospital, etc, around 2 of those per year as well). In this case they will either send a food delivery and/or other material gift. For instance, something as completely ridiculous as a $75 candle holder (I am not kidding. It's called a 'glassbaby'. Don't get me started on those.)

This all voluntary and all through Venmo. I never send anything and perhaps by now my group probably knows I am that person who never contributes. I find all of this really bothersome and wish it would stop. While I feel for the person going through hard times, we all make good money in our line of work and in my opinion funds for this sort of thing should come from the employer and not the employees. Good thing I never contributed because if my money would have then gone towards a $75 candle holder, I would be so pissed.

I seriously feel like it is borderline inappropriate to get hit up at work like this. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. Is it unreasonable to feel this way? It is getting really hard to bite my tongue and I wish it would stop.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 07:23:30 PM »
One of the costs of living in a society. The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.  Someone has a FMLA problem and because theyíve either exhausted, donít have, or donít want to use an emergency fund, a mass email goes out asking for us to give up our leave hours.

I mean it sucks to be them, but I want my vacation time.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 07:40:06 PM »
That's completely unreasonable. Say no. You may also want to find a better place to work.

Ryo

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 10:57:53 PM »
Meh. I'm assuming you're being asked to pitch in somewhere in the $5-10 range (and not the entire $75), and if it's for the reasons you describe, ie. not some absolutely frivolous reason, then it's the gesture that counts. 

Bloop Bloop

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2020, 11:48:39 PM »
Yeah, I think if you're being asked to chip in $5 for a group present it's small enough to amount to practically nothing in the real world, plus you can just not participate, and it simply reflects the fact that a lot of people are social and like to give comforting but meaningless presents as a gesture. It may be rather pointless but it's trivial in the greater scheme of things.

Imma

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2020, 02:09:52 AM »
I always pitch in at work, for several reasons:
- work is easier when we pretend our coworkers are our friends
- many people really appreciate when they get a gift from work friends - it doesn't mean much to you apparantly but it does to others
- the gifts people get in my workplace are traditional things, not pointless stuff like a $75 candle. Illness = fruit basket, bereavement = flowers, wedding, graduation = flowers or bottle of champagne, childbirth = baby stuff.
- when you are the only team member who didn't participate in the gift, you appear rude. The recipient will likely see this is a personal snub or you'll be known as the greedy guy who makes a lot of money but still won't share
- Both of these perceptions will harm your career
- I am a woman, so there's a higher expectation of me to be friendly/warm/attentive
- the amount of money is trivial

In my workplace we have a tradition of taking our coworkers out for lunch to a restaurant on our birthdays. That means spending about Ä50 once a year that I wouldn't have spent otherwise. But I get to go to their birthday lunches too which is always quite fun. If I didn't participate at all in this tradition I would certainly be perceived as the office Scrooge.

Not There Yet

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2020, 06:32:01 AM »
Quote
The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.

This is the one I find really annoying - I experienced one instance where a co-worker (pregnant with triplets) exhausted her paid leave time taking a fabulous vacation and then requested donations for her maternity leave.

MayDay

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2020, 08:26:23 AM »
Quote
The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.

This is the one I find really annoying - I experienced one instance where a co-worker (pregnant with triplets) exhausted her paid leave time taking a fabulous vacation and then requested donations for her maternity leave.

These also annoy me.

There are certain scenarios where it is understandable- my father had an employee get in a horrible accident and he had a couple YEARS off work on STD and then LTD. Even a fairly comprehensive LTD policy typically has a long waiting period and you have a big gap between STD and LTD. In that situation I can understand it.

But what it seems to actually be most of the time is mismanagement of PTO. I work with someone who has limited PTO and is pregnant. You'd think she would move heaven and Earth to save her PTO but she's using it as fast as always and will likely end up asking for donations at the end of the year (which she won't get because she is not the only one who wishes and hopes a magical PTO Donation will come through.)

rockstache

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2020, 10:35:51 AM »
Quote
The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.

This is the one I find really annoying - I experienced one instance where a co-worker (pregnant with triplets) exhausted her paid leave time taking a fabulous vacation and then requested donations for her maternity leave.
This is interesting to me. We donít currently allow this but are considering moving to a system where donation is allowed. Recipients will be able to apply to a committee which will decide on the award (or deny it).

The issue currently is that we donít allow carryover of vacation over a certain amount of hours. Several people earn more than they use in a year (and we donít deny vacation requests so itís by their own choice) and so they lose it every year. Moving to this system and allowing them to donate will hopefully help them feel like they arenít Ďlosingí as much. We wonít be soliciting for donations though, and people wonít be able to judge where itís going (to avoid it becoming a popularity contest).

I have to admit that Iím a fan of the idea, although I have no dog in the fight. I use all my vacation and I donít need donations.

FINate

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2020, 12:10:07 PM »
I assume, as others have, that you're being asked to pitch in $5-$10 and not the full $75 or whatever. With ~4x requests per year this comes to $20-$40 which is a rather small price to pay for keeping the peace and fitting in with co-workers.

Don't know if you have kids, but just wait until you deal with schools and Parent Teacher Associations! Our district isn't shy about putting a dollar amount on how much each parent is expected to donate to cover enrichment activities and other incidentals, usually around $300 per kid per year. It's not required but very much expected, and it annoys me because the school should be funded by our very high taxes. DW can tell you that I grumble and complain about it, however, it's not a financial hardship for us so ultimately we bite our tongues and go along with it for the sake of the school, knowing that our "voluntary" (but expected) contributions provide enrichment opportunities for all.

That $75 glassbaby is facepunch worthy, and of course you'd never buy it for yourself, but for the person receiving it after a death in the family or other hardship it is a nice gesture and a small high-end item is probably appreciated more than a cheap gift basket filled with lots of junk.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 12:31:54 PM by FINate »

Imma

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2020, 01:32:39 AM »
Quote
The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.

This is the one I find really annoying - I experienced one instance where a co-worker (pregnant with triplets) exhausted her paid leave time taking a fabulous vacation and then requested donations for her maternity leave.
This is interesting to me. We donít currently allow this but are considering moving to a system where donation is allowed. Recipients will be able to apply to a committee which will decide on the award (or deny it).

The issue currently is that we donít allow carryover of vacation over a certain amount of hours. Several people earn more than they use in a year (and we donít deny vacation requests so itís by their own choice) and so they lose it every year. Moving to this system and allowing them to donate will hopefully help them feel like they arenít Ďlosingí as much. We wonít be soliciting for donations though, and people wonít be able to judge where itís going (to avoid it becoming a popularity contest).

I have to admit that Iím a fan of the idea, although I have no dog in the fight. I use all my vacation and I donít need donations.

Why not allow carry-overs instead? In my country we can save up PTO for a maximum of 5 years. That allows employees to plan ahead, if they know for example they want some time off after regular maternity/paternity leave or if they want to take that trip of a lifetime to Austrialia. That way no one has to donate and no committee has to be forced to judge those requests.

six-car-habit

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2020, 01:34:34 AM »
  "No thank you, I already have a couple of charities i give to annually.  In fact i don't generally give to charities with human beneficiaries. I tend to give to charities that help animals, such as the endangered XYZ, or abandoned dogs, or wombats, etc.... currently i'm giving to Panthera, did you know there are only approx 80 Amur leopards left ?   I think trying to save these creatures benefits all our children and the whole world. I can make a $10 donation in baby showers Baby's name if you think her mom would like that...."
   
 I find this tends to defuse the situation that you are basically saying No.  People haven't found a guilt trip that will work on me yet when i say the above or something close to it.  Of course its much more persuasive if true.

SeanTash

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2020, 05:10:32 AM »
  "No thank you, I already have a couple of charities i give to annually.  In fact i don't generally give to charities with human beneficiaries. I tend to give to charities that help animals, such as the endangered XYZ, or abandoned dogs, or wombats, etc.... currently i'm giving to Panthera, did you know there are only approx 80 Amur leopards left ?   I think trying to save these creatures benefits all our children and the whole world. I can make a $10 donation in baby showers Baby's name if you think her mom would like that...."
   
 I find this tends to defuse the situation that you are basically saying No.  People haven't found a guilt trip that will work on me yet when i say the above or something close to it.  Of course its much more persuasive if true.

I love this,. I'm going to use it if I ever end up somewhere again where there is always someone or other having a baby.

It is basically true too. I prefer animal charities. Or ones that help with family planning. That might touch a nerve though!



js82

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2020, 07:52:42 AM »
There are a small number of situations where I find it acceptable.  For instance, I had a friend/coworker (in his 30's) who died suddenly/unexpectedly - he was married and had several young children.  There was a donation drive started to support his family.  I contributed because he was a friend, and it's a totally awful situation that no one deserves, and no one could have predicted.


On the other hand, there are the work baby showers that make me cringe.  Those really bother me - mostly in the sense of "If I weren't your coworker there's no way you'd be inviting me to a baby shower, so you're really just fishing for extra gifts".  If it's someone I consider a friend I'll give a gift - but if it's someone who just happens to have an office in the vicinity of mine looking to extract extra gifts from their coworkers, I'll find a way to politely decline.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 07:56:43 AM by js82 »

crazy jane

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2020, 07:56:40 AM »
Five years ago I donated a kidney to my coworker's husband. The staff took up a collection for both me and my coworker. We were gifted gift card trees for restaurants and grocery stores to use during our recovery. Giving is living.

IsThisAGoodUsername

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2020, 07:57:16 AM »
Give them a Festivus card saying you've made a donation in their name to The Human Fund.

Dicey

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2020, 08:21:56 AM »
  "No thank you, I already have a couple of charities i give to annually.  In fact i don't generally give to charities with human beneficiaries. I tend to give to charities that help animals, such as the endangered XYZ, or abandoned dogs, or wombats, etc.... currently i'm giving to Panthera, did you know there are only approx 80 Amur leopards left ?   I think trying to save these creatures benefits all our children and the whole world. I can make a $10 donation in baby showers Baby's name if you think her mom would like that...."
   
 I find this tends to defuse the situation that you are basically saying No.  People haven't found a guilt trip that will work on me yet when i say the above or something close to it.  Of course its much more persuasive if true.
Six, telling your co-workers you care more about animals than humans might be a little tone-deaf, IMO.

Following @Imma's excellent advice is a much better tactic.

You seem to be making mountains out of molehills. In the grand scheme of life, these petty annoyances are nothing. Being a miserly Scrooge is no way to go through life. My advice is to set a budget for work giving  and stop grousing about it.

SunnyDays

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2020, 11:07:34 AM »
It got to the point before I retired that I would joke I'm leaving because I can't afford to come to work anymore.  In addition to the baby/wedding/death donations, it seemed that ever second person had some side hustle going that they tried to convince you to support - Scentsy, essential oils, Partylite, dips, etc.  Nice to not have to face that anymore.

kanga1622

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2020, 03:27:00 PM »
One of the costs of living in a society. The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.  Someone has a FMLA problem and because theyíve either exhausted, donít have, or donít want to use an emergency fund, a mass email goes out asking for us to give up our leave hours.

I mean it sucks to be them, but I want my vacation time.

It can be helpful for people that are almost maxing out vacation time with no plans in the near future. Iíve had to take random days off so I didnít max out before. Not such a problem now that I have young kids and need to cover their sick days. But I donít mind donating (when I can) for a fellow employee that is dealing with cancer and taking leave without pay means they have to fund the employer portion of the health insurance. Iíd rather they stay covered and not burden their family with huge medical bills.

ETA: I should clarify that my workplace only allows leave donations for parents of children battling life threatening illness or employee battling life threatening illness. Anything like maternity leave is not eligible for donations.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 04:38:05 PM by kanga1622 »

iris lily

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2020, 04:00:48 PM »
It *is* inappropriate to pass the hat for all of these social events.

If the workplace wants to recognize employees for life markers or death events, let the workplace fund them.Marriages, babies, house warmings, etcói finally put a stop to money grabs for these things.

When I managed 25 people I did not allow hats to be passed, both coming from within my department and from outside. There was no solicitation.

 If moms were peddling their kidsí school sales things, they had to put  sales sheets  in the break room and people could sign up to buy crap there if they were so inclined.

If employees wanted to hold a birthday celebratory event (which I dont give a crap about) I set the standard as this: we will have a monthly food event to celebrate ALL birthdays in that month. They didnt want to do that, so there were no group -sponsored birthday events.

It was always ok for anyone to bring  food, stored in the break room for all departments to take from, including any birthday person who might want to bring cake for their own birthday. Hardly ever happened.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 06:13:57 PM by iris lily »

rockstache

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2020, 04:31:54 PM »
Quote
The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.

This is the one I find really annoying - I experienced one instance where a co-worker (pregnant with triplets) exhausted her paid leave time taking a fabulous vacation and then requested donations for her maternity leave.
This is interesting to me. We donít currently allow this but are considering moving to a system where donation is allowed. Recipients will be able to apply to a committee which will decide on the award (or deny it).

The issue currently is that we donít allow carryover of vacation over a certain amount of hours. Several people earn more than they use in a year (and we donít deny vacation requests so itís by their own choice) and so they lose it every year. Moving to this system and allowing them to donate will hopefully help them feel like they arenít Ďlosingí as much. We wonít be soliciting for donations though, and people wonít be able to judge where itís going (to avoid it becoming a popularity contest).

I have to admit that Iím a fan of the idea, although I have no dog in the fight. I use all my vacation and I donít need donations.

Why not allow carry-overs instead? In my country we can save up PTO for a maximum of 5 years. That allows employees to plan ahead, if they know for example they want some time off after regular maternity/paternity leave or if they want to take that trip of a lifetime to Austrialia. That way no one has to donate and no committee has to be forced to judge those requests.
Oh I agree that would be nicer but theyíre not going to do that because of the balance sheet. They donít want to be carrying thousands of dollars in liabilities for highly compensated employees who donít (can, but choose not to) take vacation.

meghan88

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2020, 11:56:32 AM »
I sympathise.  After various weddings, numerous babies, countless birthdays, x-mases, retirements, operations, departures, deaths, etc., I've shelled out about $2,000 total over the past five years, always in cash.  What I gave was in line with everyone else - I guess we're particularly generous where I work.  Opting out is just not done.  Regardless, I am happy to remain blissfully event-free myself (e.g., I don't celebrate my birthday).

mm1970

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2020, 01:09:52 PM »
I sympathize, sort of.  I think it depends on what kind of work place you have, and how close you are to your coworkers.

(Full disclosure, my work place threw me a baby shower 8 years ago.  I did not want it, a coworker forced it.  BUT, grand total of 4 babies born to women at work in the 11 years I've been there).

I liken it to weddings.  I've had several coworkers get married.  I was not invited to any weddings, including that of my officemate.  Why?  We don't hang out.
We don't go to lunch.
We don't invite each other for dinner on weekends.
We don't go out for beer.
We don't workout together.

So, why would I be invited to his wedding?

So likewise, for a baby shower.  Is this someone I hang out with?  Would I invite them to my wedding, or to my birthday party?

(Full disclosure, I am a woman and work mostly with men.  So, I occasionally give Xmas gifts to a few close coworkers.  I have made blankets for a few babies for guys that I've worked with for a long time.  Said officemate has boys a few years younger than my youngest, so I happily pass down hand me downs.  I donated to a meal delivery service when someone's child died.  I sign all the cards if someone is sick or a relative died.)

On a side note, I believe in my own form of trickle down.  I'm more likely to give/ be generous to people who make less money than me.  Which is...a small percentage of my office.

mm1970

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2020, 01:12:30 PM »
Quote
The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.

This is the one I find really annoying - I experienced one instance where a co-worker (pregnant with triplets) exhausted her paid leave time taking a fabulous vacation and then requested donations for her maternity leave.
This may make complete sense depending on the company and state.

Certain states and companies will require you to use ALL your PTO before they allow you to take FMLA.  (Which leaves you going back to work with zero PTO and a 3 month  old infant.)  My company had this policy, but I looked up state law that said they could require me to use "up to 2 weeks" instead of the 3 weeks I'd accrued.

Going back to work with zero PTO is just nuts.

Zamboni

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2020, 01:57:15 PM »
^I think those types of policies probably backfire as much as they save the company money.

For example, my company had the "have to use all PTO before you can use FMLA or STD leave." I gave birth in March. I had been there for five years. Since I not yet taken any vacation that year, they paid out all of my vacation first for the next three weeks, them put me on leave. Corporate policy did not allow you to accrue sick time. So when I came back to work, I had zero days I could take off from work for the rest of the year.

My solution? I worked a couple of days and then gave two weeks notice. They begged me to stay bc I am very good at my job, suddenly having some solutions for me, such as switching me to part time (which meant I would lose my benefits, of course, no health insurance being just the ticket for someone who just recovered from surgery with a new born). It turns out it is easy for me to get another job, so I lined up another full time job that had all the benefits I needed and also had plenty of PTO for the rest of the year. If I had even a few days of vacation to use at my original job when I needed a day off here and there for the rest of the year, might I have stayed? Certainly I would have thought harder about it. I gave birth one time in my life. They lost me as an employee forever over it.

As far as the "pass the hat" thing goes, I always just chipped in. The biggest problem I had with it was that is was kind of a popularity contest, so the amounts collected for the "from work" gift(s) were never standard.

We also had a forced white elephant gift exchange at Christmas time. That was the WORST! I tried buying terrible gifts, and, when that didn't work, I switched to making a donation in the office's name.

HandleBarred

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2020, 03:39:04 PM »
One of the costs of living in a society. The requests that really annoy me are the leave donation requests.  Someone has a FMLA problem and because theyíve either exhausted, donít have, or donít want to use an emergency fund, a mass email goes out asking for us to give up our leave hours.

I mean it sucks to be them, but I want my vacation time.

I feel like that is more of a problem with the system then the co-workers though. You shouldn't have to rely on your colleagues generosity or ability to give to get adequate sick leave or mat leave.

In my office people get asked for donations for bereavement and babies, but it's done anonymously. An envelope is left on someone's desk and if you want to give you can and if you can't or don't want to, no-one will know.

frugs

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2020, 06:17:25 PM »
[quote

- Both of these perceptions will harm your career
- I am a woman, so there's a higher expectation of me to be friendly/warm/attentive
- the amount of money is trivial

[/quote]

Saying that not giving money for these things will harm your career is ludicrous. Hundreds of dollars shelled out over the course of my career is not what I would consider trivial. I do what I think is correct and appropriate, and my choices in regards to money or otherwise are not informed by peer pressure or what other people are going to think because I am of a certain gender, which is especially ridiculous to me.

I am generally nice and helpful to my coworkers and have a great relationship with them, but giving any of them my money is where I draw the line. No way. I would certainly donate if someone lost all their belongings in a natural disaster for instance, but there are no emergencies here.

Just to clarify, I was not asking whether I should start giving money to these things. That's not going to change. I was asking whether others feel this way and whether this is even appropriate. Any strategies on how other workplaces handle these situations would be ideal.

Imma

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2020, 02:02:01 AM »
[quote

- Both of these perceptions will harm your career
- I am a woman, so there's a higher expectation of me to be friendly/warm/attentive
- the amount of money is trivial


Saying that not giving money for these things will harm your career is ludicrous. Hundreds of dollars shelled out over the course of my career is not what I would consider trivial. I do what I think is correct and appropriate, and my choices in regards to money or otherwise are not informed by peer pressure or what other people are going to think because I am of a certain gender, which is especially ridiculous to me.

I am generally nice and helpful to my coworkers and have a great relationship with them, but giving any of them my money is where I draw the line. No way. I would certainly donate if someone lost all their belongings in a natural disaster for instance, but there are no emergencies here.

Just to clarify, I was not asking whether I should start giving money to these things. That's not going to change. I was asking whether others feel this way and whether this is even appropriate. Any strategies on how other workplaces handle these situations would be ideal.

[/quote]

Well, that's your choice and you have every right to act like that, but to say it won't harm your relationships with coworkers if you're the only one who don't participate in gift giving is just ridiculous. In the best case you will be perceived as the friendly geeky social outcast. Which is fine if you don't mind, but those perceptions can change over time into something more negative. That said I don't think all gift giving is OK, it shouldn't cost you large amount of money. In my environment those contributions are never more than Ä5 and happen a few times a year. They are on top of whatever our employers chooses to gift, this is a special gift from work friends, not from the boss.

For example, a coworker is having a baby. When it's born all the coworkers buy a book and a stuffed toy or some baby clothes like people do when babies are born. Your coworker notices everyone's name is on the card but yours. I guarantee you this will be perceived as a personal snub, unless you already have a reputation of being a Scrooge. And contrary to popular belief, promotions don't go to those who work hardest at their job, but those who have the best relations with others (and doing your job well is helpful, but not always necessary).

As a woman with a career, I can absolutely assure you society's expectations of women in the workplace are different from what we expect of men. I wish it wasn't that way but it is and if you want to move on in your career as a woman you need to find a way to deal with those expectations. That means I've actively learned myself to ask about someone's wellbeing or personal life (not in a rude way obviously) every now and then and accept that especially female coworkers feel the need to connect through token gift giving and home baked goods and talk of weddings. I couldn't care less but if you make that clear as a woman you're forever perceived as a cold hearted bitch.

All in all I spend less than Ä75/year and maybe 10 minutes a day on nurturing relationships in this way and it seems to work.

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2020, 06:32:08 AM »
I contribute to some of these things and don't contribute if I don't know the person or don't wish to contribute.   No one is holding a gun to my head. 

As far as leave donations, I have also contributed to a few of these.  Not most of them, but in the case where someone has a serious illness or family crisis, and has exhausted their leave, I may donate. 

My email system allows me to delete things.

iris lily

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2020, 07:43:02 AM »
[quote

- Both of these perceptions will harm your career
- I am a woman, so there's a higher expectation of me to be friendly/warm/attentive
- the amount of money is trivial


Saying that not giving money for these things will harm your career is ludicrous. Hundreds of dollars shelled out over the course of my career is not what I would consider trivial. I do what I think is correct and appropriate, and my choices in regards to money or otherwise are not informed by peer pressure or what other people are going to think because I am of a certain gender, which is especially ridiculous to me.

I am generally nice and helpful to my coworkers and have a great relationship with them, but giving any of them my money is where I draw the line. No way. I would certainly donate if someone lost all their belongings in a natural disaster for instance, but there are no emergencies here.

Just to clarify, I was not asking whether I should start giving money to these things. That's not going to change. I was asking whether others feel this way and whether this is even appropriate. Any strategies on how other workplaces handle these situations would be ideal.


Quote

.... Your coworker notices everyone's name is on the card but yours...


Funny you should mention ďthe cardĒ and whose  names may be written on it.

In my last place of work it was exactly this issue with ďthe cardĒ  that caused me to put a stop to gifting in my department. I inherited a group that did the usual passing around of an envelope with a card for their fellow employees, the envelope for monetary donations.

The doyennes in charge of gifting (self appointed, and they exist in every office) had decided that  employees who failed to contribute money would not be able to sign the card because ďit wasnt fair.Ē  In their mind it was not fair to contributing employees when non-contributing employees got the privilege of signing the card.

See how these tiny rituals blow up into convoluted social systems? I say convoluted because it seems perfectly fine to me that anyone sign a congratulatory card, why put rules on who can sign it?

So, I put a stop to any more group gifting and pressure to do any of it. I reminded my employees that everyone was always free to individually act. If Sally wanted to give Becky a baby gift, Sally gets to do that. However,  Sally may not initiate a group effort to organize everyone to participate.

Some of my employees were making salaries in the $20,000 to $30,000 range and they should not be pressured to contribute.

As far as gifting at work being social grease, I do agree with that sentiment. But I also see the other side that it is when gifting is publicly done as a group effort it is herd action, and is as much done for wide social approval as genuine congratulatory sentiment.


« Last Edit: January 21, 2020, 08:27:41 AM by iris lily »

Imma

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2020, 08:06:14 AM »
You're absolutely right that gifting is herd behavior but I think it's difficult to put a stop to it. If there's no collective gift for Becky, most people are still going to want to gift her something, except maybe a few people who don't confirm to social rules or don't like Becky as a  person. Now everyone is buying a book or a stuffed toy so everyone is paying more money and Becky ends up with a lot of stuff she may not need. After a few years people may start questioning the 'no group gift' policy again. Gifting is just such an ingrained part of our culture that it's difficult to quit the habit without offending people and in the workplace I personally think you'd be biting the hand that feeds you. I do try to influence my coworkers towards gifts that are not that ridiculous or wasteful.

I think The Card is a big thing in many companies. In my company, the card is paid for by the company so everyone can write on it. When I order flowers or something I try to write 'from the X team at MegaCorp' instead of all names.  It doesn't matter to me who may or may not have paid in.

talltexan

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2020, 08:35:04 AM »
Just say that you don't do the Venmo thing, but here's a $10 in your wallet that you have and can give right now (if the person asking is collecting). Try to reduce this at the margin rather than cultivate a reputation as the guy who doesn't give anything.

TysonGA

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2020, 09:24:22 AM »
Unless I'm missing something, it seems like friendly coworkers asking you to pitch in maybe $20-30/year is causing a lot of frustration.  That's a snack and a drink at one happy hour.

We are all on this forum because we are interested in living frugally but there must be some room in the budget to pitch in maybe .005% of the annual income to contribute to something nice for the coworkers.  If one of us is ever on the receiving end of this, I'm sure we'd all appreciate the gesture even if/when it's something as silly as an overpriced candle holder.

I would think very differently if this was a daily thing or if the sums were much much larger but occasionally pitching in 10 bucks isn't going to move the FIRE date back more than a few minutes.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2020, 09:54:12 AM »
Quote

- Both of these perceptions will harm your career
- I am a woman, so there's a higher expectation of me to be friendly/warm/attentive
- the amount of money is trivial


Saying that not giving money for these things will harm your career is ludicrous. Hundreds of dollars shelled out over the course of my career is not what I would consider trivial. I do what I think is correct and appropriate, and my choices in regards to money or otherwise are not informed by peer pressure or what other people are going to think because I am of a certain gender, which is especially ridiculous to me.

It's only ludicrous if you have the privilege and luxury of being considered for raises, promotion, etc. based solely on the quality and quantity of your work. There are a some work environments where pay and promotions are based solely on seniority. These are largely blue or pink collar jobs. In most white-collar office environments promotion and pay raises require at least a little bit of social engineering.

In what I'll call a social-engineering environment, it's possible to not have to do any of the actual social engineering work if you're born with an advantage. If you're tall, good-looking, with an accent and style of speech that corresponds to privilege, you have an enormous advantage. Same goes for if you were able to get into Yale Law or if you have an advanced degree and are able to look, dress, and act the part. Doors just swing open, and at times it seems inconceivable that other people should have to push at them for years and still not make them budge. Your hard work is rewarded munificently, so it's easy to tell yourself that your success is due to that work, and that other people who haven't made as much progress have somehow not worked as hard. That deficit of perspective is sometimes called "being born on third base but thinking you hit a triple".

Early on in your career, if you're privileged you're judged based on some amorphous "potential". Employers are willing to invest money and resources in your training, bosses are willing to take a risk on you, and you're allowed to make mistakes and learn from them without having them held against you for years or even decades. You're allowed to have your own style and personality, and if you accidentally do something offensive you're judged based on your intention. Everybody else is judged based on their results: in other words, their objectively verifiable track record and some social engineering. Trouble is, you can't do social engineering or have a track record until you get a foot in the door, and when you do you're always looking over your shoulder for the next new hire with "potential" who can take away everything you've scrambled and worked for, simply by showing up. When nobody believes in your "potential" (that is to say, something you haven't done yet) or is willing to reward you for it, you do have to cook for the potlucks instead of bringing commercially prepared foods. You do have to contribute to the baby showers, the chocolate bar sales, and the pledge sheets for various thing-a-thons. You do have to be the one to clean up the break room. If you don't take a share in the activity, there are consequences, because if you have a "bad attitude" and "aren't a team player" your peers and superiors will remember it when raise and bonus season comes around. (Of course, if you're a privileged person your slice of the raise and bonus is already guaranteed, so you can afford to overlook the Officially Voluntary but Unofficially Mandatory activities.)

TL;DR version... if you're being judged, hired, and promoted based solely on the quality of your work, then either you're in a union shop where everything runs based on seniority, or something about you or your circumstances has put you in a privileged position such that the normal rules don't apply to you.

Hunny156

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2020, 01:13:43 PM »
Yes, I find these things to be annoying, not only b/c I'm asked to contribute so often, but also b/c I'm often the one who has been deemed the person to do the collecting.

The company takes care of flowers or gift basket for the new babies, hospital/very sick situations, and the deaths.  Birthdays are up to the manager to do, and don't even think of expensing it!

That typically leaves the baby showers, weddings, retirements and the sickness funding.  I handle this over e-mail, explaining what the collection is for, and offering various ways of paying for it.  As a result, you can Google Pay, Zelle, QuickPay, Paypal, Venmo, Cash of Check me, and I'll get it all together into a gift card for Target, Amazon, Some sort of food delivery service or if the recipient tells me exactly where they want to spend it, I'll accommodate that request. There's also a card at my desk, and you are welcome to sign it.  It's inferred that you sign only if you donate, but it's on my desk, and I'm not policing.  I've had people donate anywhere from $3-$100 in the same collection, and while I keep track just to make sure I've collected the correct dollar amounts from the various payment sources, the recipient is not given a list of who contributed what.

Sometimes I prefer not to donate cash, like when someone else is hosting a baby shower.  I prefer to buy a cute token gift at a great price, and I wrap it up and give it to the person doing the collection, to present at the baby shower, which I also do not attend.  I like the idea of giving the recipient a few things to open at the party, and it goes over really well, so that's how I control it.

We recently had a situation where a co-worker was diagnosed w/stage 4 cancer, and we did both a collection for her, and we requested time off donations.  We have both PTO and sick time.  PTO doesn't carry over and cannot be donated, but sick time carries over and can be donated.  I have more time than I can ever use, so I happily donated 40 hours to cover the first week where disability would not cover it.  Our company policy also requires that all other available time be used before a donation can be accepted, but since you are always accruing the time, it was impossible to get her to 0.00 hours.  As such, my 40 hours were never approved to gift over to her, and no one else was able to contribute, which sucked, as she was out for months.  She's in remission now, thankfully.  My company also has a fund where you can donate excess time for anyone who needs it, so on my way out, I'll donate all remaining sick time there, and hopefully someone in need can utilize the gift.

In terms of birthdays, one spendy person in my dept always wants to make a big deal when our manager's birthday rolls around.  I know that some of the people in my department don't have excess funds to waste like she apparently does, so I always step up to manage the situation.  Manager's birthday is right around mother's day, and Costco has good sales on gift baskets, many of which have floral themes that don't specifically call out Mother's Day, so every year I present the team with 3 options, they vote on which one to order, and I have it delivered to her office on her birthday, and they reimburse me for the $6-8 share.

iris lily

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2020, 02:09:44 PM »
Igh. Gifting upward to a manager? That is socially tacky. Gifts go down, not up. Someone needs to revise their idea.

I am surprised to hear about a workplace that gives baby gifts but nothing on retirement. That is very strange to me because retirement is the one life marker tied to work. How funny! My workplace did various things for retirees, at minimum approving work time for the event and supplying a space. Not surprisingly,  my department was pretty low-key in their retirement celebrations.

In other departments I observed giant over the top parties with receptions that went on and on and I kid you not about this next point, one retiree planned  her own entertainment, a choir. So, a choir came to sing her praises, literally. good God.

Another ďretirementĒ party sticks in my craw because it was a big event with lots of food, balloons, giftsóall donated by other employees. The honoree collected all of the gifts on a Friday and started his new full time job at another, similar, organization on a Monday. I never got the scoop on that, but it was scammy. Gift granby.


nessness

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2020, 09:47:55 PM »
I'm a Fed, so there are regulations against the government paying for these kinds of things. My office handles life events in what I think it is pretty close to the ideal way - they pass a card around the office, everyone signs it, and those who wish put some money in an envelope. No one knows what anyone else contributed. Then the organizer uses the money to buy an appropriate gift. We also do lunches out for retirements, which are optional. Usually the retirees' boss treats them, and everyone else pays for themselves. One retiree insisted on treating the whole group, which was nice, though not necessary.

Leave donation requests go out by email, and donations are anonymous. Lots of long-time employees have use-or-lose leave and are happy to donate. I haven't had use-or-lose yet, but I donated once to a former coworker with chronic health problems.

I don't really understand getting your feathers ruffled about leave donation requests. I assume it's just an occasional office-wide email with information about eligible recipients and how to donate, right? And not, like, someone stopping by your cubicle to shame you into donating?

By the River

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2020, 07:36:14 AM »
Igh. Gifting upward to a manager? That is socially tacky. Gifts go down, not up. Someone needs to revise their idea.

My work place has a policy against gifts to your manager but not from your manager.  My manager just pays for a weekday lunch at relatively nice restaurant around Christmas for the department. 

talltexan

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2020, 09:03:34 AM »
Agreed. My sister-in-law invested much of a Saturday into planning a wedding shower for her manager's daughter. No one in the family seemed to understand why it squigged me out.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2020, 01:43:59 PM »
In other departments I observed giant over the top parties with receptions that went on and on and I kid you not about this next point, one retiree planned  her own entertainment, a choir. So, a choir came to sing her praises, literally. good God.

Oh, now I want this. A Hallelujah chorus to celebrate early retirement. It's not something I'll get to actually DO because of the work location, but it's awesome to think about.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2020, 02:30:16 PM »
Five years ago I donated a kidney to my coworker's husband. The staff took up a collection for both me and my coworker. We were gifted gift card trees for restaurants and grocery stores to use during our recovery. Giving is living.

Wow, now that is a serious work donation.

On the OP's question, I'm with @Imma in that these amounts are usually $5 and should not break your will to live.  When I was at large law firms, I regularly was asked to pitch in, and I did.  I cannot recall now, years later, how much I donated. 

I know for a fact that the one attorney who refused to contribute to these types of events lost an excellent secretary over this.  This secretary was incredibly smart, efficient, capable, cheerful, hard-working, you name it, the tops.  She was diagnosed with cancer, and we took up a monetary collection to help her out while she was out on FMLA leave.  I donated (don't remember how much, less than $100?), and her own boss didn't, saying she could just call him if she needed anything.  Of course, she wasn't going to call him and ask him for money while fighting the effects of cancer and chemo, and she felt hurt by his refusal to participate.  By the way, numbers were not disclosed--if he had given $5, she would only have been told that he gave something.  When she recovered, she quit our firm and went to another firm, where she does excellent work to this day.

At my kids' school, I'm constantly being hit up for $5 or $10 or $15 for some teacher's birthday or school event (hello costume for multicultural day that will end up in a landfill) of questionable value.  But I am often the first one to venmo the amount to the room parent in charge of collections.  This is the cost of being part of a community. 

And sometimes it's the cost of a great secretary.

iris lily

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2020, 11:00:49 AM »
I sympathise.  After various weddings, numerous babies, countless birthdays, x-mases, retirements, operations, departures, deaths, etc., I've shelled out about $2,000 total over the past five years, always in cash.  What I gave was in line with everyone else - I guess we're particularly generous where I work.  Opting out is just not done.  Regardless, I am happy to remain blissfully event-free myself (e.g., I don't celebrate my birthday).

It is hard for me to imagine the weak management that allows or possibly even initiates $400 in annual social giving.

But Iím taking away from your post that $400 a year is typical and there is pressure to give that.

That is insane.  I speak from a place where many of my employees made $20-$30,000. I saw my role as protecting them from that kind grifting.

And for the idea if there is no group gift then everyone would give more things and spend more moneyódidnt happen in my department.Some people mightíve given gifts, but if they did, it was done quietly without me knowing about it and thatís fine. I assure you the vast majority did not feel the need to give gifts to their coworkers for babies, weddings, etc.


Padonak

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2020, 11:03:04 AM »
One of the few good things about my job is that asking for money or donations is prohibited

MyAlterEgoIsTaller

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2020, 11:28:08 AM »
I always give a minimally-acceptable amount toward things like office baby showers and gift collections.  To not do so seems more damaging to my relationships with my coworkers than it's worth to save the small annual total.  But I don't work in a huge company, and we only have a few of these occasions per year.  I can see how it could get very expensive in larger workplaces, or ones that have excessive gift-giving rituals.

A thing I find more difficult is the constant collecting for everybody's kids' fundraisers.  Girl scout cookies, cub scout popcorn, wrapping paper, daffodils, poinsettias... 
If it's a kid going around the office by themselves, sometimes I do buy the minimum number of whatever, because I feel like an ogre otherwise.  But if it's their parents doing the sales pitch/forms/collection then I use any legit reasons why I can't support that organization (like Boy Scouts discriminate against atheists).

Also difficult are the sponsor-a-coworker to... run a few miles, bike, jump in the cold lake... to raise money for [insert disease here.]  If I know that the coworker themselves have the applicable disease then I can't bring myself to refuse sponsoring them, but otherwise I fall back on "I'm sorry but I've already allocated my charitable donations for this year."

Villanelle

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2020, 01:14:35 PM »
A lot of time is spent on these forums talking about the difference between cheap and frugal.

To me, jeopardizing relationships with employees by refusing to make a minimal contribution to help celebrate a major milestone or difficulty is the former.  For $20-40/year, you play nice with others, do a kind thing for people you work with, and show the people responsible for raises and promotions that you are a team-player and kind human being. 

Seems like a bargain to me.

I never minded contributing to these things.  If it was someone I didn't know well, it was a few bucks.  (Ours were usually but not always a passed envelope where on put money and also signed a card, and in theory the two weren't related though being in the save envelope created an implicit tie, I suppose.)  For someone with whom I worked more closely or ate lunch or was in my direct group, it was maybe $10.  In our case, it was probably mostly anonymous, but I contributed anyway both because it was a nice thing to do and honestly $5 for someone having a new baby seemed worthwhile, and because it was part of the culture.  Being an outside in a culture where you spend 40+ hours a week isn't fun and seems worth $25/yr to avoid. 

iris lily

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2020, 02:00:26 PM »
Thereís so many more ways to grease social relationships then just donating to herd gift efforts.

Now if we are talking about me personally,  I made enough money to easily contribute, and believe me Iíd much rather put up cash to fulfill my social obligations then do the more time consuming things. But thatís me because I have lots of money. The herd effort is one size fits all.

Also mentioned above was an obligatory white elephant exchange that she shopped for.

Any white elephant exchange Iíve been to is not about the gift really. Such exchangeS that have only ďnice thingsĒ can be interesting if the group is large enough because you see what object is interesting to which person, but generally tacky objects are fun. One year at work  I organized a white elephant activity that was designed to be entirely painless for my staff. It was on work time so they didnít have to use their own time. If anyone had to leave for normal breaks or for whatever reason could not attend, that was fine with me. I brought all the 25 gift objects. The gifts ranged in quality from totally ridiculous like a roll of toilet paper to a case of beer and an envelope with $10 in it. It was fun and a nice break from the normal thing and it was a team building effort. No  one had to think about what object they were going to donate or if their object was good enough because I donated them all.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #46 on: January 23, 2020, 02:04:05 PM »
Thereís so many more ways to grease social relationships then just donating to herd gift efforts.

Now if we are talking about me personally,  I made enough money to easily contribute, and believe me Iíd much rather put up cash to fulfill my social obligations then do the more time consuming things. But thatís me because I have lots of money. The herd effort is one size fits all.

Also mentioned above was an obligatory white elephant exchange that she shopped for.

Any white elephant exchange Iíve been to is not about the gift really. Such exchangeS that have only ďnice thingsĒ can be interesting if the group is large enough because you see what object is interesting to which person, but generally tacky objects are fun. One year at work  I organized a white elephant activity that was designed to be entirely painless for my staff. It was on work time so they didnít have to use their own time. If anyone had to leave for normal breaks or for whatever reason could not attend, that was fine with me. I brought all the 25 gift objects. The gifts ranged in quality from totally ridiculous like a roll of toilet paper to a case of beer and an envelope with $10 in it. It was fun and a nice break from the normal thing and it was a team building effort. No  one had to think about what object they were going to donate or if their object was good enough because I donated them all.

That's awesome.

Scandium

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2020, 11:14:23 AM »
I keep getting hit up for money at work and I find it so bothersome and annoying. This typically happens in two scenarios:

-work baby shower (around 2 per year) someone asking for contributions to buy gifts

This is solved by working for an engineering company where the average person is a 55+ year old dude. No baby showers here.. More worried about funerals coming up

frugs

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2020, 10:45:55 PM »
I keep getting hit up for money at work and I find it so bothersome and annoying. This typically happens in two scenarios:

-work baby shower (around 2 per year) someone asking for contributions to buy gifts

This is solved by working for an engineering company where the average person is a 55+ year old dude. No baby showers here.. More worried about funerals coming up


This made me LOL. I love this solution. Are you guys hiring?

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Getting hit up for money at work. Need to vent
« Reply #49 on: January 24, 2020, 10:52:13 PM »
I keep getting hit up for money at work and I find it so bothersome and annoying. This typically happens in two scenarios:

-work baby shower (around 2 per year) someone asking for contributions to buy gifts

This is solved by working for an engineering company where the average person is a 55+ year old dude. No baby showers here.. More worried about funerals coming up

Trouble is, if you work for an organization full of 55+ year old dudes but you aren't one yourself, you're never going to get a raise, a promotion, acknowledgement for your work, credit for your work, or an opportunity to get through an entire sentence in meetings uninterrupted. No matter what you do, it will be wrong stylistically. Did you speak up? You talk too much and you're too pushy. Did you bite your tongue? You're too passive and possibly complicit in whatever someone else did. Your solution space will be zero.

Frankly, I'd rather have the gift grabs.