Friday, December 22, 2006

Office Scrooges

Think your boss is cheap? Slate Magazine asked its readers to submit reports of horrible office Christmas parties, gifts, and bonuses. Of nearly 200 tales, they’ve chosen The Corporate Scrooge Contest Results. From the story:

A former employee of the firm that produces the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco reports that the company departed from its tradition of giving modest cash bonuses and instead gave out white painters' caps with the words "Bah Humbug" stenciled in red.

Sometimes, unemployment doesn't seem all that bad. But I’ve had my share of weird and grinchy Christmas office fiascos in years past. Most radio stations for whom I have worked didn’t give out any bonuses or gifts, and very few had a Christmas party, besides the standard potluck the disc jockeys put together while we worked on Christmas Day. Often, listeners would send homemade goodies, but we had to be careful who to trust since listeners who were that fanatic were usually pretty strange people.

One year, we got a gift from the boss- a small box of chocolate covered almonds. Nice, but the expiration date had passed. Those were gifts originally purchased to give to advertising clients, but they couldn’t give away expired candy now, could they? At least not to anyone they cared about.

Then there was that one terrible year. Management came up with this wonderful plan that most disc jockeys could take Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, or New Year’s day off. The three summer holidays were included, too. The catch was that one of us would have to volunteer to work all day alone on one holiday per year. See, this way, the company wouldn’t have to expend any extra funds to cover our days off. This seemed like a workable plan until Christmas Eve, when they fired an announcer. Who happened to be the deejay who had volunteered to work Christmas Day. Rethinking the plan, management decided all four radio stations in our company could run on automation, with a manager on call for emergencies. Said manager wouldn’t know what to do if something went wrong, but he’d be responsible for monitoring and calling some disc jockey if there was a problem. Oh goody.

However, we didn’t have any Christmas music recorded to computer for an automated program. We’d been playing all our Christmas songs manually off CD for a month. Looks like someone would have to record enough to cover all stations in a hurry. And that person happened to be the one who was on duty alone the afternoon of Christmas Eve.... me. So I worked a couple hours past my normal quitting time on Christmas Eve desperately recording all kinds of Christmas music for an oldies station, a pop station, and a country station, plus running live shows simultaneously on two of those stations.

In the middle of all this frenzy, the station owner calls me to complain that the live shows were not up to snuff. He said if I couldn’t do the job, he’d find someone who could. I said great, I could use the help.

Maybe he’s found someone like that by now, but I doubt it.

Merry Christmas!

PS, what’s the worst Christmas party, gift, or bonus you ever received from your job? I’d like to hear your stories!

PPS for something way more heartwarming, watch Its A Wonderful Life today at my site.


Blogger annie said...

getting laid off a couple weeks before xmas this year pretty much tops every other year. hey, at least there was severance pay. sigh. but like you say, unemployment doesn't seem all that bad, at this point. jerks.
i was with my (former) company almost 5 years. the holiday party was halted 4 years ago. since then, our "bonus" was having our birthday off, with pay.
better than a sharp stick in the eye, but still pretty humbug-ish.
i am going to go watch it's a wonderful at your blog now, in an attempt to "perk up."

5:50 PM  
Blogger zilla said...

Oh, how I loathe the office Christmas party! One year my husband's company held the party at a fancy hotel, and all of the employees from the out-of-town branch were invited to attend.

For months my husband had been receiving rather "breathy" phone messages from a female employee at the branch office -- she sounded as if she had just tumbled out of bed and the very first thing to cross her mind was my husband.

Anyway, I'd decided not to let this tart get the best of my at the party, because I knew she was going to try. After everyone had had a few drinks too many, I was returning from the ladies roomand I noticed that my husband and this hussy were dancing together, so I put a big smile on my face and cut in.

She immediately gave my husband the finger and stormed off.

Ho ho ho, not such a Merry Christmas that year...

7:37 PM  
Blogger zilla said...

(PS -- that was my FIRST husband. Just so's you know...)

7:38 PM  
Blogger beckyboop said...

My best friend's place of employment closed two weeks before Christmas this year and there was no money in the company account for the employees to cash their checks. This week they were finally able to cash them.

7:39 AM  

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