Author Topic: The haves and have-nots at the company party  (Read 12754 times)

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yokozbornak

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2013, 08:46:21 PM »
Honestly, OP, I think you are the one with the attitude problem. It sounds like they are generous employers who are kind enough to invite their employees to their home, feed them well, and allow them to enjoy the wonderful things they own.

If you find them off-putting, you can always get another job or skip the party next year.  I don't think it's fair to accept their hospitality and then roll your eyes at them behind their back because they are wealthy and you aren't.  Choose to be happy for them that they have found financial success to the point that they can hire and pay employees. 

 

I think I agree with this.  They have done well for themselves, are sharing it with their employees, and they get criticized for it.  Just smacks of sour grapes a little bit.

No, they're not "sharing" it with their employees, they're "showing" it to their employees.

Unfortunately, one's employees are the last people who one should be bringing over to crow, "Hey, look at all our stuff! Isn't it great?" because employees will likely see this as a zero-sum issue. More money going into Boss's pockets means less money going to them. Now, if they view their workplace as a bastion of fairness and opportunity, they may be happy to see their employer rolling in dough as a just reward for their efforts. However, if, the staff has just been given the lecture about how "times are hard, and some of you will have to go, and the rest of you will have to get used to making less money for more effort," this will only persuade them that Boss and Mrs. Boss are hardhearted robber barons who are wallowing in luxury at their expense. This will *not* in any way improve workplace morale.

Boss and Mrs. Boss should restrict showing off their material wealth to their friends and neighbours, whose envy may not be unappreciated. If they want to have a nice party for their employees, they should do it at an outside venue where there is less chance of invidious comparisons.

The OP said nothing to indicate that her workplace is anything like you describe.  It think it would be silly to hire an outside venue when they have a home where they can comfortable entertain a lot of people and seem to love to do so.

I don't get the comparison to robber barons at all.  Presumably they pay their workers a fair which, quite frankly, is all they owe them.  If they are indeed horrible people who treat their workers unfairly then the OP and the other are free to find another job.

Instead of getting worked up about what she doesn't have compared to her boss, she should choose to be inspired about what can be achieved if you work hard. 

Yvaine

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2013, 08:53:48 PM »
Instead of getting worked up about what she doesn't have compared to her boss, she should choose to be inspired about what can be achieved if you work hard.

Where do you get the idea that the OP is "worked up" about the actual things the boss owns (in fact, she says she appreciates them), rather than about the boss's bad manners? I think it might "inspire" the guests to decide that, if they do become wealthy in the future, they'll be more tactful about it when talking to others.

(ETA: I've been to a party at a house that was at an absolute palace, complete with original art by artists everyone here has heard of and staggeringly amazing architecture, without feeling this way. Because the hosts were not rude show-offs and just acted like warm hosts and let their property speak for itself instead of bragging about it.)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 08:55:31 PM by Yvaine »

Sharnita

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2013, 09:37:40 PM »
Yes, sorry - the wife is talking about the firing range for next year. I hate the smart phone.

ladyknight1

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2013, 11:03:01 PM »
Pod to Twik. It is in the poorest of taste to brag. I don't believe etiquette is in the boss lady's favor.

Twik

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2013, 10:45:51 AM »
I can understand being happy about new things. It's a lot of fun to go "Whee, look what I just got! It's SOOO cool!" However, it's not generally accepted as polite, unless you're careful about how you do it.

In particular, your employees are not the ones you should be using as your audience for this sort of thing. They are, as a group, likely to be less well-off, but more importantly, their wages are part of the employer's expenditures. Bragging about how much you're spending on other things should be restricted to people who (1) are approximately level with you in income, and (2) are not likely to be thinking, "wait a minute, we were just told that there'd be no raises this year because business is down, and we can't get the stuff we need to do our jobs, because of the budget. We were prepared to accept this for the good of the company, but they have money to spend on this stuff?"

Even if the bosses are wonderful, generous people, and pay their staff well, it's bad psychology to remind your employees that you have that much more spare cash than they do. It's defeating the "we're all in this together!" idea that company parties are supposed to enhance.

It could be worse - at least they are not complaining to their employees about how difficult it is to pay the mortgage on their million-dollar estate.
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White Lotus

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2013, 11:18:23 AM »
Twik, I disagree.  It is never polite to brag about money or the cost of things.  It is nice to share ones's nice things, but not to boast about how much one paid for them.  That is very nouveau -- riche as well as rude, and snobbish into the bargain.  I doubt if it is being done with malice, but the employer's talk about what she spent on this or that and that the garage calling is the Mercedes dealer -- it is rude.  Old money/classy money (even if new)  tends to buy well and buy lasting, and not talk about how much it costs!  If this woman is the climber she sounds like, she would climb higher if she listened to the way those she would like to associate with discuss money -- which is not -- outside of a business context.

Shoo

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2013, 11:23:30 AM »
Twik, I disagree.  It is never polite to brag about money or the cost of things.  It is nice to share ones's nice things, but not to boast about how much one paid for them.  That is very nouveau -- riche as well as rude, and snobbish into the bargain.  I doubt if it is being done with malice, but the employer's talk about what she spent on this or that and that the garage calling is the Mercedes dealer -- it is rude.  Old money/classy money (even if new)  tends to buy well and buy lasting, and not talk about how much it costs!  If this woman is the climber she sounds like, she would climb higher if she listened to the way those she would like to associate with discuss money -- which is not -- outside of a business context.

The OP doesn't state that the woman mentioned the cost of anything.  She pointed out the amenities on the farm, talked about all the farm's features, etc. but the OP never says she talked about how much any of it cost.

Yvaine

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2013, 11:27:40 AM »
Twik, I disagree.  It is never polite to brag about money or the cost of things.  It is nice to share ones's nice things, but not to boast about how much one paid for them.  That is very nouveau -- riche as well as rude, and snobbish into the bargain.  I doubt if it is being done with malice, but the employer's talk about what she spent on this or that and that the garage calling is the Mercedes dealer -- it is rude.  Old money/classy money (even if new)  tends to buy well and buy lasting, and not talk about how much it costs!  If this woman is the climber she sounds like, she would climb higher if she listened to the way those she would like to associate with discuss money -- which is not -- outside of a business context.

The OP doesn't state that the woman mentioned the cost of anything.  She pointed out the amenities on the farm, talked about all the farm's features, etc. but the OP never says she talked about how much any of it cost.


What did not sit well with me and a few other co-workers was the attitude of “look what we have” that seemed to be underlying all the day’s activities.  Owner Lady told quite a few people of all the work they did on the house, how expensive it was to upgrade the house to the way she wanted it, and how she has professional decorators come in every season to decorate for holidays and such.  One of the day’s events was a hayride that should have been fun, but seemed more like a guided tour of the entire property, complete with stops here and there to show us where they plan to build another horse stable (“so we can buy more horses”) and a shooting range to use at next year’s picnic.  It was pointed out on several different stops where the property extends to and how they hold several of these kind of parties throughout the year.

I kind of figured there's no getting around this for next year.  I'm hoping they'll take the approach that Lowspark mentioned and think that since everyone saw the place this year, they won't feel compelled to show everything off again.  Either that, or maybe one of us will develop some mental telepathy skills!  We were all doing okay until Owner Lady was talking about the professional decorators and the hayride of how much they spent.

Owner Guy isn't so much the problem.  He's pretty down to earth.  He's usually on a jobsite and you normally can't tell him from the average worker.  Half the time, the people that contract with us don't know he's the owner or don't believe it.  Owner Lady is the issue.  She likes to name-drop wherever she can.  If her car is in the shop, she won't tell the receptionist to let her know if the garage calls about her car - it's "let me know when the Mercedes dealer calls."  Like none of us know she drives a Mercedes.  We're in a rural area and the winters can be rough, so her husband bought her a 4WD something or other that is NOT a Mercedes. She was in a snit for days over it because it "looks like every other car in a parking lot."   I think for Owner Guy, it was a "let's have everyone over and throw a party" deal and for her it was a "what a great opportunity to brag about my stuff" deal. 

Cami

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2013, 11:32:02 AM »
I spent a summer as a photographer's assistant photographing the historic houses owned by the rich in a certain geographic area (for a coffee table book by Abrams). There was a clear divide in the attitude between the "old-money" and the "nouveau-riche".

Both groups of people were eager to show their homes off, but the divide occurred in how they talked about their housees. The old-money people generally talked about the memories they had of their home (if it was an old family manse) and/or the ways they planned on using it in the future. This tendency was true even if the house was used for professional or political events. The nouveau riche tended to do what I called a "point and price" tour -- they would take you through it pointing at various objects or architectural features and telling you -- to the penny -- how much it cost them. 

For the former, the house was a home for their family and it was primarily about their private lives. They also did not need to impress people because people already knew who they were and/or were of the same socio-economic class, so it was a zero sum game. For the latter, they were in the stage of family wealth development in which the money and the ability to buy was new and exciting and often something of which to be proud as it came from hard work.

At one point, we were touring the home of a man who had made his fortune by owning fast food restaurants. My boss, who knew the owner, made a joke about, "This must be killing Cami seeing as how this is the first summer she hasn't had to work in one of your restaurants." The owner turned to me and spoke seriously and sincerely about how "this too could be yours. Just work hard and apply yourself and you can have this too!  Just because I have it doesn't mean you can't! It's the American dream and you can have it too!" While I think that's simplistic, he really believed it. So for him, it wouldn't have occurred to him that showing off to a former employee was gauche -- he thought it was inspiring.


(And as one of the old money people said to me, 'Hey, we were once nouveau riche too! That's why there are gold faucets in the 'public' bathrooms. Because my great-grandmother wanted people to KNOW we had money to burn."

« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 11:34:01 AM by Cami »

Redneck Gravy

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2013, 12:03:24 PM »
I think there is a fine line between showing you their property and bragging about all they have, the Mrs. may have crossed it this time but I would hold off before sending to eternal eHell.

If it happens again next year or you continue to see her bragging around the office then you can cast her into eHell. 

I don't think you can say anything and come off good, it sounds like sour grapes no matter how you phrase it.  If she's a braggart, then she is, nothing much to be done about it...

Just grin & bear it.     

Oh Joy

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2013, 01:42:19 PM »
Here's the wrinkle: it seems to me that these kinds of comments and attention-seeking are part of Owner Lady's habits.  Changing the venue of the company party won't likely suddenly grace her with discretion; it will just change the topic.

yokozbornak

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2013, 05:16:40 PM »
I think the fact that they are homebuilders may have something to do with her talk.  My DH worked for a high-end homebuilder after college and we know a few socially.  All of them have showplaces for homes and are used to showing off their properties because it's part of doing business.  I guess that's why I don't consider her pointing out the homes amenities and decorating to be that unusual.

shhh its me

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2013, 09:23:25 PM »
  I wouldn't find "and we're getting a company to come hang Christmas light ect for the company Christmas party."  braggy as long as they have a company Christmas party there.  So I think mentioning the fire range was fine ,since she was in a way invite everyone to use it. 

Pointed out the property line ,unless it was to direct people not to cross it while horseback ridding, is a bit gauche.

Giving a tour and pointed out what they changed seem normal for a homebuilders company party, prices shouldn't be mentioned unless it was for training purposes.

It doesn't sound like OP is unhappy in the company so I;m guessing she's excited , clueless , rude and just doesn't know how to be wealthy but not setting out to be a snob.

LeveeWoman

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2013, 10:49:40 PM »
I think the fact that they are homebuilders may have something to do with her talk.  My DH worked for a high-end homebuilder after college and we know a few socially.  All of them have showplaces for homes and are used to showing off their properties because it's part of doing business.  I guess that's why I don't consider her pointing out the homes amenities and decorating to be that unusual.

She did more than point out amenities and decorations. From Yvaine's comprehensive post at 9:27 this morning:

Quote from: Shoo on Today at 09:23:30 AM
Quote from: White Lotus on Today at 09:18:23 AM
Twik, I disagree.  It is never polite to brag about money or the cost of things.  It is nice to share ones's nice things, but not to boast about how much one paid for them.  That is very nouveau -- riche as well as rude, and snobbish into the bargain.  I doubt if it is being done with malice, but the employer's talk about what she spent on this or that and that the garage calling is the Mercedes dealer -- it is rude.  Old money/classy money (even if new)  tends to buy well and buy lasting, and not talk about how much it costs!  If this woman is the climber she sounds like, she would climb higher if she listened to the way those she would like to associate with discuss money -- which is not -- outside of a business context.

The OP doesn't state that the woman mentioned the cost of anything.  She pointed out the amenities on the farm, talked about all the farm's features, etc. but the OP never says she talked about how much any of it cost.



Quote from: SCMagnolia on Yesterday at 09:03:12 AM
What did not sit well with me and a few other co-workers was the attitude of “look what we have” that seemed to be underlying all the day’s activities.  Owner Lady told quite a few people of all the work they did on the house, how expensive it was to upgrade the house to the way she wanted it, and how she has professional decorators come in every season to decorate for holidays and such.  One of the day’s events was a hayride that should have been fun, but seemed more like a guided tour of the entire property, complete with stops here and there to show us where they plan to build another horse stable (“so we can buy more horses”) and a shooting range to use at next year’s picnic.  It was pointed out on several different stops where the property extends to and how they hold several of these kind of parties throughout the year.


Quote from: SCMagnolia on Yesterday at 10:43:01 AM
I kind of figured there's no getting around this for next year.  I'm hoping they'll take the approach that Lowspark mentioned and think that since everyone saw the place this year, they won't feel compelled to show everything off again.  Either that, or maybe one of us will develop some mental telepathy skills!  We were all doing okay until Owner Lady was talking about the professional decorators and the hayride of how much they spent.

Owner Guy isn't so much the problem.  He's pretty down to earth.  He's usually on a jobsite and you normally can't tell him from the average worker.  Half the time, the people that contract with us don't know he's the owner or don't believe it.  Owner Lady is the issue.  She likes to name-drop wherever she can.  If her car is in the shop, she won't tell the receptionist to let her know if the garage calls about her car - it's "let me know when the Mercedes dealer calls."  Like none of us know she drives a Mercedes.  We're in a rural area and the winters can be rough, so her husband bought her a 4WD something or other that is NOT a Mercedes. She was in a snit for days over it because it "looks like every other car in a parking lot."   I think for Owner Guy, it was a "let's have everyone over and throw a party" deal and for her it was a "what a great opportunity to brag about my stuff" deal. 

*inviteseller

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Re: The haves and have-nots at the company party
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2013, 11:43:54 PM »
Bragging of any kind is rude..whether it is to friends, family, co workers or employees.  Showing your property is pointing out highlights along the hay ride, bragging is telling everyone costs and how much more you will be buying.  If there is a sudden downturn in business and there are pay freezes or layoffs, those employees will remember the stories of MORE HORSES! MORE REMODELING! NO REGULAR CARS! I SPENT MONEY LIKE IT WAS NOTHING!  Yes, it is very generous of the owners to throw a party for the employees on their dime to show appreciation for the hard work...after all, it is the employees that help the company earn the money for all these riches the wife is bragging about. She should be grateful for these employees who have helped get her and her husband so far because a company is only as good as it's representatives.  I don't get jealous over bragging (I have a relative who is notorious for saying what he bought and how much he spent on his latest toy), I just feel sad that they feel that they feel I will judge them by the worth of their toys rather than their character.