A little under two months ago, myself and a few other people were hired for a twelve month traineeship with a large company. This story comes from my friend “C”.
Now on this traineeship we are paid a low amount- enough for one person to live on if they are very careful and share a house with a few other people. Most of the trainees are young and are in the awkward stage of starting to pay for living expenses and learning to take care of themselves financially. This is widely known around the business and the majority of the trainees have some other “weekend” job to bring in that little bit more money.
Now my friend C has only been there a little under two months and is starting to take care of herself financially, like myself.
A lady from her department went up to her and asked for $40 as her share in buying another co-worker a present for her new baby. It was explained to C that they planned to buy the co-worker a big expensive present like a crib or changing table.
C thought being expected to contribute such a large amount of money to buy a present for someone she has only known for a short time was rather ridiculous and politely declined- with the [very true] excuse of that she didn’t have the money to spare.
I don’t know if it was the amount of money, or the fact that C was asked to buy something for someone she has only spoken to a few times- but both C and I were shocked that she was asked. Now I’m sure C wasn’t in the wrong, especially with the polite decline- but surely this was a big etiquette no-no? 0301-12
Contributions for a work related shower should be done anonymously and voluntarily. We used to pass around a large manilla envelope with string button tie and co-workers could chose to toss in whatever amount of money they desired while signing a group card. No one knew the amount each person was giving. The organizers of the shower gift then choose to buy something in budget with what was collected.
It’s always a sad state of affairs when one feels guilty for not playing by someone else’s tacky rules. Baby and wedding showers given and attended by co-workers can be quite nice but there should freedom to decline to give or to choose the amount one is comfortable giving. Just because a co-worker plans a shower doesn’t mean the rest of the staff must feel an obligation to cough up a decent chunk of money.