Author Topic: Farewell after seven years' service - no card, no gift, and no speech for you!  (Read 10286 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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Background: DF works for a large Organisation. He has been working in his particular branch (Old Branch) for 7 years. Recently, he was headhunted by a different branch (New Branch), within the same Organisation, and accepted a new position there.

DF's Old Branch has a history of throwing rather lavish farewells to anyone who is leaving the branch. The tradition is to have a "team lunch" at a nice restaurant, with everyone chipping in for the person's meal. At the lunch, the person leaving is presented with a card signed by the whole team, and a gift. The person's supervisor also makes a speech, thanking them for their service to the branch. This is done for everyone, regardless of the amount of time they've worked for the branch (for example, recently a contractor who had been working in Old Branch for merely six weeks got a farewell lunch/card/gift/speech).

The quality of the gift varies according to the length of time one has worked for Old Branch. For example, people who have been there between 5 and 10 years tend to receive things like a lovely set of crystal wine glasses.

Naturally, over the years, DF has signed cards, and chipped in many, many times for meals and gifts for those who are leaving.

Current Issue: DF's transfer was confirmed on Monday, and his last day in Old Branch was Thursday. His team took him out to lunch on Thursday, and covered the cost of his meal, as is usual practice.

However - DF received nothing else. No card. No gift. His supervisor (nor anyone else) did not make a speech. Everyone just ate, then left.

Back at the office, DF was packing up his desk, when the Branch Head (Big Boss) came up to him. He (Big Boss) mumbled something about being sorry that no one had made a speech at lunch. He then wished DF well, thanked him for his good work over the past seven years, and hurried off. DF stated that the entire time, Big Boss appeared really uncomfortable, and did not make eye contact with DF once. DF said it was all very weird.

DF was (and is) upset at what he perceives to be inequitable treatment (ie the lack of card, gift, and speech). He discreetly asked a couple of his co-workers, who he's close to, if there was any particular reason why there was a departure from the norm in his case. They claimed they didn't know why, and told DF that they were very surprised that this had happened to him.

DF's personal theory is that his supervisor (not Big Boss, but the next guy down the chain of command), who only joined Old Branch three months ago, dislikes him (DF) for some reason, and deliberately chose not to make a speech at lunch (and possibly told others in the team not to bother with a card and gift for DF).

The question is, what should DF do now (if anything)? Some suggestions are:

- bring this to the attention of the Organisation Head (and maybe suggest the Organisation implements a consistent policy on farewell celebrations);

- write a letter to the Organisation's monthly magazine, outlining what has happened;

- complain to HR;

- nothing (it sucks, but it's done, move on, etc); or

- something else?

Any ideas?




Perfect Circle

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While it sucks, he should do nothing. Doing something will just burn his bridges and one should not do that.
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Zilla

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Big boss saw and didn't do anything.  The few co-workers that were close to him also didn't do anything as with circulating a card etc.  I would just leave it alone and look forward to the new job.  Saying anything will make him look petty and bitter at not getting a gift/speech.  Not to say that's why and I understand the principle of the slight.  But others may not see it that way.

weeblewobble

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Do nothing.  Yes, it sucks and is hurtful, but now is the time to move on to bigger and better things.  Complaining would look petty and is not the way he wants to start his new position.

bonyk

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Another vote for say nothing.  Obviously, people noticed the disparity.  Better to look like the bigger person.

AvidReader

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Long time lurker, first time to post.

Maybe I'm filling in a bit here, but after having read your post carefully several times, is it possible that Mr/Ms not Big Boss, being just a few months on the job, has not been through the leave-taking ceremony either at Old Branch or at Organization prior to your DF's and is simply unaware of the extent of it (card, gift, speech, etc.)?  That Mr. Big Boss did address the matter privately later (however uncomfortable and wierd) suggests that he is embarrassed by the lack of the full ceremony (and is not looking forward to a corrective chat with Mr/Ms not Big Boss). 

My feelings would be hurt too, but I think that rather than take any action, I'd let this one be water under the bridge and move on.  I'd try to be the bigger person and in the future attempt not to let this happen to anyone else in my circle of colleagues by stepping up to fill the vacuum if I didn't see any effort to collect donations for a gift, a card, or speech or I'd prompt the next Mr/Ms new Boss of the organization's culture for exiting employees.

I worked in a place with just the opposite situation.  Exiting/retiring employees were forced to endure the organization-wide leave-taking party complete with gifts, speeches, and a scrapbook of their service to the organization.  I had one very introverted staff member with over 20 years service in my office in floods of tears because she simply did not want the attention and would rather just slip away quietly.  Despite my best efforts there was nothing I could do or say to the top brass about the situation.  My only victory was when I said that my department was not going to pay for a gift, the party or anything else or even help organize it.  Top brass had to step up, collect to pay for it all and make all the arrangements.  They did and my staff member simply endured it with grace and class.  After the top brass party-enforcers retired (there were two of them), things got a little more respectful of the departing employee's wishes.  When I retired some years later, I stated my desire not to have the organization-wide party, the gifts or heaven-forbid, the tacky scrapbook.  I enjoyed a fun lunch with my small staff and selected former staff and volunteers with takeout from our favorite hamburger joint.  It was my pleasure to pay for everyone's lunch.

artk2002

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Your DF, and you should ask yourselves the following questions: What do I want to accomplish? If you complain, what's the result you want to see? Would a card and speech at this late date make everything better, or would it feel hollow?

Personally, while I know that this hurts, I wouldn't do anything about it. Complaining now isn't very far from a 5yo complaining that the pinata at his birthday party didn't have enough candy.
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audrey1962

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I wouldn't say anything. While it's certainly nice to receive gifts, I doubt it is part of the compensation package. Also, if I understand correctly, the DF isn't leaving the company, he's just transferring to a different branch.

KimodoDragon

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I wouldn't say anything. While it's certainly nice to receive gifts, I doubt it is part of the compensation package. Also, if I understand correctly, the DF isn't leaving the company, he's just transferring to a different branch.

This.  And I would add that while it may be nice to get the "special attention", it certainly isn't a requirement.  People do things like this because they want to, not because they have to.


That Anime Chick

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Three simple words - Let it go.


IMO, I think your DF is being really nitpicky and dangerously close to burning bridges if he does make any noise about it. If it is really that important, then invite some of DF's co-workers/friends to a nice dinner at a restaurant and call it a day.
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jmarvellous

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I'm sorry to hear this happened to your husband.

I left my job (department eliminated) after six years without so much as a "goodbye" from most of my colleagues -- and it's tradition for there to be a cake, card and potluck treats, and for everyone (150-ish people in one huge room) to stand up and applaud as you walk out the door the last time. It hurt, but there is NOTHING to be gained by complaining about it outside of your home, I'm sorry to say.

Lynn2000

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I can understand that it's hurtful, but I join the chorus of saying he should let it go. Especially as he still works for the same company, it's only going to make him look bad. The only exception might be if this event was somehow inscribed in the company rules, but I find it unlikely that's the case. I think AvidReader has a good theory, about perhaps the Big Boss being uncomfortable because he was about to go talk to Lesser Boss about having forgotten/dismissed the gift/card/speech portion of the meal. Of course I can't say if it happened because Lesser Boss dislikes DH; that might well be true. But there might be something else completely innocent behind it. Sometimes awkward things just happen.

Years ago one of my co-workers, Amy, was winding up her contract with us; she'd been having some issues with her work and the boss (all danced around because our boss is very non-confrontational) so she was kind of going out with a whimper. She had a few weeks left of being paid hourly and one day she confessed to me that she thought our boss had lowered her hourly rate--Amy was working the same hours but getting less money in her bank account, and she calculated it back. She was really hurt that Boss thought so little of her and would punish her this way, without even talking to her about it, and she stewed about it for a while. Then... she discovered it wasn't Boss at all.  ::) I forget if it was an actual error along the pipeline, or if taxes/deductions had gone up a bit, but it wasn't anything Boss had done. I thought it was very telling that Amy's first thought, without investigating further at all, was that Boss had done it because Boss disliked her.
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peaches

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Do nothing.

Complaining will do no good, and could do harm to DF's career and standing within the company.

It's impossible to say why this happened. It may be an innocent error on the part of the person who is relatively new. Or that person may have an axe to grind against DF. Or, the company may be doing less of this sort of thing these days (lots of companies are cutting down on celebrations/ceremonies of all types).

Whatever the reason, there is nothing to be gained by compaining. He may be interacting with people in the Old Branch at some time in the future. It's wise to stay on good terms with everyone.

In addition, bosses and HR departments don't appreciate complaints (they may have to listen to them, but they don't like it). It just makes more work and trouble for them. I would have to have a very serious reason for bringing a complaint within a company. This doesn't meet the test.

I hope your DF will be happy with his new position and coworkers.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 04:01:42 PM by peaches »

TurtleDove

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Absolutely let it go.  To say anything at all about this does not reflect well on your husband, for reasons other posters have stated.  If it's really important to him, buy him crystal glassware and give him a speech at your house! :)

bah12

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I think the most likely reason that there was a 'departure from the norm' in your DF's case, is because his current boss is new to the branch and isn't up to speed on the farewell traditions.  While I can definitely understand his dissapointment at not getting the same big-to-do as others before him, I also don't think there's anything that he can or should do about it.

Farewell parties and gifts are nice.  But they aren't requirements and lodging any kind of complaint, be it formal or informal, would only hurt your DF professionally in the long run.

I suggest that instead, he go to his new branch with a renewed attitude.  And if he does feel that his relationships with his old boss or anyone else in his old branch contributed to his farewell party, then he'd be more productive to examine those relationships and apply any lessons he learns to the future.