Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We'd Rather Have The Money

My husband, K, is one of the last of a dying breed:  He will retire from the only place he has ever worked.  (While he WAS in the Navy, I don't really consider that a job--more of a school/training sort of thing.  AND a way to pay the country back.)  So, he has put in over 30 years at the same power plant he was hired into a few months after he got out of the Navy.  The job is one that he likes and the pay has been good enough that I never had to go out and work.  As far as employers are, K hasn't complained too much, nor has he piled praise--it just is what it is.

A lot of work places have taken the direction that many schools have and that is to reward everyone for everything.  "You did SUCH a good job of washing your hands after using the toilet!  Here's a certificate for that!"  "You got here on time for FIVE days in a row!  Here's your gold ribbon for that!"  And on and on and on.  Don't get me wrong, I think it's good that people are appreciated, but sometimes companies go a bit far--like rewarding employees for doing what they SHOULD do, their normal jobs.  Yesterday, K got one of those rewards.

Working in a power plant can be very dangerous.  There have been severe accidents that could possibly have been avoided.  Many things can go wrong:  explosions, electrocutions, falls, etc.  And it is up to every worker to do everything in his/her power to do right and not have an accident, or cause one.  The company pounds safety into the employees' heads at every opportunity, which isn't a bad thing.  Unless it is because the company is more concerned about how much they would have to pay an employee if he/she was injured rather than the health and safety of the workers.  And sometimes I think it is just that. 

Anyway, the company is constantly giving safety rewards.  We will get $10 gift certificates and the crew will get pizza bought for them.  And they are appreciated, but not really necessary.  However, the reward that came home yesterday just kind of made all the employees who got it say "WTF?"  In a nice enough presentation box--faux velvet-lined, black with gold lettering--was a (solidly nice, I suppose) key chain and a laminated card stating safety 'rules' to be worn on the id card lanyard every employee wears.  Okay.  While a lot of people would wonder what the problem here is, let me tell you.  First, everyone thought the laminated cards were completely ridiculous.  Next, not everyone wants a key chain with the company logo embossed in it--no matter HOW nice it is.  Besides, who DOESN'T have about thirteen key chains laying around that they don't use already.  And last, WHY the hell the special presentation boxes?  While the company gets them at a good price, I would suppose, these are not all that cheap--so why?  I guess the bottom line is this:  Why spend all of this money on something that no one wants or can possibly appreciate?  I think most of the employees would much rather have a couple extra bucks in their paychecks, rather than some of this stuff that the company gives.

So, is this wrong to feel this way?  Is this a waste of money on the part of the company?  Are the employees just being completely ungrateful?  Input would be appreciated.


meleah rebeccah said...

You are 100% correct when you said, "I think most of the employees would much rather have a couple extra bucks in their paychecks".

* So, is this wrong to feel this way?

Absolutely NOT.

* Is this a waste of money on the part of the company?

Yes, I think so. Especially when the money spent on those key chains could have gone into their paychecks. Or better yet, a BONUS check.

* Are the employees just being completely ungrateful?

No, I don't think so.

cmk said...

Thank you, meleah. There are times when I think I've been so spoiled that whenever I complain it just sounds like whining, so it is nice to see someone agree with me. I'm sure this money that the company spends is all a tax write off, but I still think it could be used more wisely.

kristi noser said...

Show. Me. The. Money.

cmk said...

I really don't think that a lot of companies have any connection with their employees at all. I don't understand how they think we want a houseful of trinkets with the company logo on them. Now, if they were giving things with the RED WINGS logo on them... :D

Dazd said...

Well my hats off to K for being employed at the same company over 30 years. That was always a dream of mine...but alas that dream has come and gone a few times already. lol

And no its not being ungrateful at all. In these times, we tend to look at things from a different perspective. Ribbons and certificates were all the rage back in the day. Nowadays its been drummed into us that "Show me the Money" is the better deal.

cmk said...

Dazd: I HAVE been keeping up with your dilemma and my heart goes out to you. We have been VERY lucky with K having a job for all this time--he's lucky that where he works, seniority is definitely a plus. He's looking forward to retiring and, even though the numbers add up for him to be able to retire, I think he will stay for another five years. Unless something changes tomorrow, of course. :)

It isn't even that I worry so much about getting the actual money in the paycheck, but there definitely are ways that this 'fluff' money could be spent more wisely.

ordinaryjanet said...

Sounds like the PR person who thought up the "rewards" used to be a kindergarten teacher. I'm surprised the guys aren't given stickers for putting their lunch trash in the garbage cans.

cmk said...

Believe me, janet, it is NOT far off from that.