The other day was our office had its corporate Christmas party. And where was I? Here at home, with my son. So why didn't I go? I just didn't feel like it, for a variety of reasons. The past several months I've been losing interest in all things related to work. I find the decisions made irrational, most of the key people mediocre, the motives questionable, and the integrity, wanting. In all likelihood, these observations don't just apply to my office. It probably applies to the government in general.
A prime example of this irrational thinking so prevalent in public service was the aforementioned corporate Christmas party. Due to an administrative guideline which requires the office to adopt cost-cutting measures, the corporation didn't actually sponsor a Christmas party. It was subsidized by donations and ticket sales, which come with "complimentary" bingo cards. That's all well and good, but someone had the bright idea of making attendance to the party compulsory, meaning you were required to buy a ticket, whether you wanted to attend the party or not. And to make matters worse, even if you did buy a ticket, you're required to attend so you can sign a logbook proving that you were actually there. If you weren't, they would consider you as working undertime.
Is it just me, or is this just too plain illogical?
Somehow, I have a a bone to pick with this kind of arrangement.
First, while there's nothing wrong with holding a party, but making attendance mandatory kind of negates the purpose of a party in the first place. You're suppose to have fun, and celebrate the holiday season, but being forced to have fun and celebrate? Where's the fun in that?
Second, I'm actually required to give my own hard earned money just for the privilege of being able to attend the corporate Christmas party. What is this, a corporate party, or a private party? If it is indeed a corporate party, why should I be forced to shell out money just to attend? Well, the ticket isn't that expensive, but it's the principle. And if it is a private party, why am I required to attend? For the record I'm a Catholic, but what if my religion doesn't even celebrate Christmas? Would they still require me to attend?
Third, what's the deal with the bingo cards being given out with the tickets? I don't even like bingo. Yeah, I know its a fund raiser, but like I said before, I don't like being forced to do something much less pay for something that I don't even like doing. Just like bingo. If its anything work-related, I'd do it in a snap even if I didn't enjoy it. But we're talking about our own free time here folks. And again, what if my religion prohibits gambling? Well, come to think of it, I think it does.
Fourth, If you don't buy a ticket, or if you buy a ticket and don't show up, they consider you working undertime and deduct the hours from your salary. Even if you stayed in the office and worked till closing time. And I thought this wasn't actually a corporate sponsored party? And I think its foul hitting you where it hurts, in your wallet, for exercising your choice not to attend.
So what did I end up doing? I filed a leave of absence a week before to spare me from this ordeal. I happen to know that a lot of colleagues bit the bullet and bought tickets, logged in at the venue, and left. Seems like they don't like being told what to do to enjoy themselves as well.
Suffice it to say that its this form of thinking which is seriously crippling the public sector. While I do believe that the government should exert efforts to reduce government spending, there are just some things which are worth the additional expense. For me, that includes employee morale.
Charging for a Christmas party and threatening you with reduced pay for not attending is no way of building up employee morale, or corporate loyalty. You just can't put a price tag on those sorts of things.
And you think that that would be obvious to everyone. Well, that's public service for you. And, after more than ten years working in government, the story of my life. Leave it to government bureaucrats to screw up something as nice as Christmas.
I just wish decision makers in government actually knew what they were doing instead of just being management poseurs. That's probably one of my wishes for the new year.
If only I could be so lucky.
But let's not let that spoil the mood. Holiday greetings to everyone. :-)