Office collections

Most politically sensitive thing in the office ever?

There's a bloke in my team leaving after a good number of years. I've been here about 6 months and it's a small legal team, who have varying views on office collections - I'm happy to chuck in a bit, as is the guy leaving, for birthdays/weddings/leaving dos, as it feels like a nice thing to do which keeps the harmony. Rest of team think differently and while they're more than happy to reap the rewards, they are unbelievably stingy.

Despite this, senior bod decides that the legal team should contribute to a fairly spenny present for the person leaving, but decides not to do an office collection as they can't bring themselves to ask other people for dosh when they don't contribute themselves (although the person leaving is generous and well-liked). 

Cue a shortfall in cash. And various follow-up emails for 'contributions gratefully received', and the brown-nosing colleague of the senior bod loudly proclaiming his wish for senior bod not to be 'out of pocket' and that he will make up the shortfall.

I've made what I think is a reasonable contribution (considering that (a) I'm the most junior here (b) I know none of them chipped in for my birthday collection (fair enough, but that's the way the cookie crumbles) and (c) I've only been here 6 months). Plus, I'm not going to be getting married/having babies while I'm here, and I doubt I'd get a big send-off when I leave anyway. It's really getting on my tits that I'm being made to feel not-very-generous, especially when the wider office would have gladly chucked in some cash even when the legal team NEVER DOES. GGRRRRRRR

on topic: asking people for 5 pounds for a gift for a new mum in the team. That's ok, right? Small team, good colleagues.

I use a sliding scale which is roughly as follows:

Someone in another team that I've barely spoken to - nothing

Someone in another team I've had some dealings with - £5

Someone in my team or that I've worked with a reasonable amount - £10

Someone that I consider to be a friend that I'll see after they've left - £20

I think if there are routinely collections for people's birthdays, I can understand why people are sick of it and don't want to contribute.

Perhaps they should limit it to leaving dos and maybe weddings/babies and see if people become more generous.

This reminds me of the Friends episode where Ross moves into his apartment and immediately gets asked to give $100 towards the maintenance guy's retirement fund and then gets blacklisted for complaining.

I would ignore the comments re the lack of generosity. Sounds like you're being entirely reasonable.

We recently stopped the team birthday collection as we each chipped in £3 per birthday and it ended up feeling like you'd just been contributing to your own present every year which was invariably wine or one one occasion a ridiculously expensive scented candle which was an utter waste of money.

wtaf at birthdays

surely you don't give colleagues birthday presents?

wedding, redundancy, retirement: that should be it

not just because joe bloggs is moving to a different firm


Reminds me of being made redundant and going to Friday night drinks and one of my colleagues suggesting it was my round.  I suggested that as they were still employed my colleagues could possibly sub me a round to help me drown my sorrows.

Wtaf indeed at birthdays - you have your family, friends (as opposed to colleagues in 99% of cases) and OH to pamper you there. In our office the birthday boy/girl brings cake for the team and that’s it. 

Birthdays/weddings/leaving dos - sails numbers are pretty good I think 

Birthdays is odd.  The birthday boy or girl buys cakes for everyone else if they want to or it is just ignored. The only exception to that rule is that the senior people for whom a PA works buy him or her a reasonably generous birthday and Christmas gift as a thank you for all the personal sh1t said PA has sorted out for them during the year.

Collections should be leaving, weddings and babies only (and tbh probably only the first baby...). 

Weird that the company doesn't pay for a leaving gift for a long serving member of staff. I think at our place the general rules is that the company will contribute up to around £500 if the employee has been there more than 10 years.

[email protected]

*was sure that there were a couple of 20s in the envelope for Graham when I left it in room 3.34 but now they've vanished and it seems to be weighed down with florins, groats and some low denomination deutschmarks*

Contributions from colleagues ought to be for something that has some connection to work imo. So only for leaving really. A colleague making a choice in their personal life such as getting married or having a child is nothing to do with me so I don’t give a penny, although I might sign a congrats card if I like the person

It's a bit offside to sign the card if you haven't put any money in, panda.

Happy to congratulate a colleague I like but not happy to pay towards their marriage / baby. It’s their choice and doesn’t have any effect on my working day. Besides, I’m sure they don’t need the quid I’d grudgingly give if forced to

By signing the card you are implying that you have contributed to the gift, which makes you a cheapskate freeloading on your colleagues' generosity.

I don’t see any such implication. There’s a card and then there’s a collection box / bag / whatever. There’s no freeloading as i’ve gained nothing from the whole thing. 

And the fact there are seemingly some unwritten expectations that I could unwittingly fail to live up to is the perfect reason not to get involved at all

I don’t see any such implication.

There is one, regardless of whether you choose to see it or not.

There’s no freeloading as i’ve gained nothing from the whole thing. 

Well there is, because you have made yourself look like a generous person who has contributed to the gift, without actually being a generous person who has contributed to the gift.

Either sign the card and chuck in a few quid, or don't sign the card.

Honestly, this is such basic stuff that I can't even believe I am having to explain it to you.

So try following your own instincts by not getting involved at all, rather than freeloading.

I’ll do what I want with my time and my money thanks, just like everyone else

"wedding, redundancy, retirement: that should be it

not just because joe bloggs is moving to a different firm"


WTF? Leaving gifts are a must, regardless of where they're going.

I agree birthdays not usually appropriate, although we did raise £150 or so for my previous gaffer's 60th.

Seems the rest of Cremes legal team think the same as Panda 

Law attracts a certain type 

Law attracts a certain type 

Yeah. Generally people who are way overpaid compared to their actual skills, but still manage to be tighter than a nun's minge.

Perhaps the type who isn’t going to do something just because someone else expects them to. 

I'm pretty sure most of us are lawyers because our parents expected us to get a steady job and we didn't have the imagination or guts to do anything more interesting or worthwhile, so hehmax @ that.

"I'm pretty sure most of us are lawyers because our parents expected us to get a steady job and we didn't have the imagination or guts to do anything more interesting or worthwhile, so hehmax @ that."

At least, that's what I said in my TC interviews


Come on, unless your parents are dreadlocked, pot smoking hippies who brought you up on a commune and are horribly ashamed to have a son who is a lawyer, you have done exactly what society expects of you.

With my looks, my parents expected me to be a model. A hand model.

what if you work as a lawyer in-house for , say, a betting company or the daily star or a tobacco company?