Avoid Being Taken Advantage of at the Office

One of the things that I hated when I worked in an office was the constant drain on my finances. There were collections for birthdays, coffee supplies, and solicitations for every charity and school fund raiser. It got so bad that I seriously considered putting a, “No Soliciting” sign on my cubicle. It’s not that I’m opposed to giving money to causes I want to sponsor, for supplies that I’ll actually use, or for presents for people that I know and like. But I don’t care to donate to causes I don’t care for or understand, and I don’t want to front the cost for supplies I don’t use or give gifts to people I don’t even know. But it can


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11 Responses to Avoid Being Taken Advantage of at the Office

  1. Noel says:

    The article is great. At the same time, I wonder what do you do if your boss himself is one of those who asks to collect money for birthdays and gifts?

  2. sewingirl says:

    My five department coworkers and I decided to go together and get a gift card for our superviser for Boss’ Day. Only one ever chipped in afterward, and after I commented to the others, very casually I thought, how much the super enjoyed the gift card, no one ever made a move to reimburse me. So, I won’t be doing THAT again. In past years, I would have been very angry, but I’ve worked at a lot of jobs, so….. Live and learn.

  3. Jackie says:

    I work in a medium-sized office, maybe 200 people in the whole building. Thankfully, everyone is (mostly) grownup about these things. No one hold it against anyone else if they don’t want to participate or contribute and no one goes cubicle to cubicle with their hand out – they may announce their stuff that way, but no one expects to put another on the spot.

    Like most places, we have one or two who ALWAYS want to eat but never want to contribute a dish. We’re just very blunt and honest and tell them that if they don’t bring stuff, then they don’t get to eat. (not the first time of course, but after they mooch a few times no one has any issues with telling them no) Often this isn’t even an issue since most groups open up their food days after a certain time to discourage leftovers. :) Easy peasy.

    When I was younger and less experienced in the workplace, it did used to make me feel an obligation to be asked for a donation while at work. Now I know better, and lately the higher-ups have required a disclaimer about not feeling any obligation, I still sometimes feel the workplace is not really the place to solicit. On the other hand, you see these people 40 hours a week generally, it’s a logical place to go to to get a message out.

  4. matt says:

    very good article. i know how it feels to be on both sides. it is tough to say no and just as hard to get other people to chip in.

  5. Buried in pressure to buy girl scout cookies, popcorn magazines, candy, wrapping paper. It is so awkward all the time.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  6. M E 2 says:

    This is the MAIN reason I am SO glad I work for a VERY small company. Including me, there are 4 of us. And 1 of the others being the boss/owner.

    The boss buys each of us a gift for X-mas and our birthdays.

    The 3 of us exchange X-mas gifts. $25 limit.

    For each birthday, the other 2 go in on a gift ($20 max – $10 each)

    NONE of us bring any outside products in to be sold. IE: school fundraisers, girl scout cookies, avon, etc.

    Makes for a HAPPY work environment.

  7. Just Me says:

    Makes me glad that I am retired!

  8. Janet says:

    I work in an office of about 20 people. We took turns bringing in treats on Friday. He never brought in anything, but was always there to pig out. Nobody had the guts to say anything to him, just simmered quietly. It got to be such a thorn that we ended up dropping the entire practice.

  9. Gail says:

    One of my first jobs as a newly married woman making around $2/hour they took up a collection to buy my millionaire boss a recliner chair. I was stunned and offended. Here we barely had money to buy Christmas presents for each other and I was supposed to chip in on something my boss could go buy himself if he wanted. It wasn’t like HE gave us anything for Christmas. That was my first real taste of office giving other than a previous job where I told them politely that I didn’t drink coffee so would not contribute to the fund.

    I’m so glad I’m out of that mess. One year the girl in charge of getting the boss’ Chrismas gift spent all the money on herself! Why is it bosses that earn more always get a nice gift and the peons get nothing???

  10. mahanda says:

    i have to agree with most of this. i opted out of the secret santa this year and as i carry no cash on me did not contribute to the christmas gift for boss who makes more than me and gave his underlings nothing not even a card. i have stopped buying from co-workers for school stuff and such. i choose my own charities. no guilt here

  11. Commenter says:

    I work in a small office (about 30 or so) and we travel together for work and usually spend more time with each other than our families.
    I am usually tasked with soliciting donations for group gifts (for weddings, babies, or retirements). Most people contribute; one or two usually don’t (and they are the same ones repeatedly). I still have everyone sign the card or sign the card “from your friends at….”. I include the noncontributors because if the gift receiver figured out that Sally didn’t participate, it would cause hurt feelings and make it a more stressful workplace. But believe me, when something happens for Sally and a collection for a gift would likely occur, I won’t be contributing (and I doubt I’ll instigate the collection as well).

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