Pound coinsNobody who works an office week can truly hate Fridays. But there is at least one thing about Fridays that I really, really dislike quite a lot… Charity dress down day

Roll up! Roll up! Remember your jeans, folks!!!! Dig deep!!!!!!! Remember, it’s all in a good cause!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, right now, at just this stage, I need to puke.

For one thing: How many of those over-enthusiastic its-for-charidy-maters actually give a flying reproductive thrust about the actual underlying charity, eh? How many of them, when asked, “so what’s the charity for then?” will be able to give you a compelling answer that is both accurate and from the heart? Not. Very. Many. At. All. They just want to feel like they are doing some unspecified amorphous benevolent action. The details to them are completely irrelevant, as are the actual human beings* whose suffering they vaguely hope they might alleviate.

(* Or fluffy animals. When its-for-charidy!, the two are interchangeable, with cute animals having if anything the edge.)

OK, that’s maybe not such a bad thing. Who cares why they do it? As long as it’s for charity, right?

And for another: Since when did charity – proper charity I mean, of the sort that is genuinely good for the soul – become compulsory? Do I hand over my pound because I actually want to help someone? (Good for them and for me.) Or do I hand it over slightly resentfully, because I feel co-erced by the fear that people might think I am stingy and mean? (Still good for them, but bad for me.)

So what? Nobody cares why you do it. It’s for charity!

And then again: who picks these good causes? who gets the credit for giving? Aha. Now there’s the thing. The charities are picked by the company. The company collects all the money. The company writes a big comedy-sized cheque at the end of the year and takes glossy photographs of the Big Chief Exec Man smiling as he hands it over to grateful smiling children with only one limb each. Or something.

Cue glossy brochure and simpering paragraphs about corporate social responsibility.

Cue staff newsletter dripping with amusing photographs of some members of your staff doing wacky things to get other members of your staff to give money to your chosen company charidy, to show what a funlovin employer you are. So funlovin that the way you actually treat your actual staff 99% of the time is a mere detail. After all, they can wear wacky! red!! wigs!!! on Comic Relief Day!!!! They can express their inner generosity to the needy and poor!!!!!!! By giving their money to your favourite charity!!!!!!!!!!

Corporate social responsibility? People-focussed employer? My arse.

Co-ercing employees into giving money to a charity you have nominated so that you can get positive news stories in the paper is not social responsibility. It is a crafty PR trick whereby you, WadsaCash PLC can get the benefit – free, gratis and for nothing – of your employees’ vague sense of guilt about how privileged they are.

Me – I’m a conscientious objector.
I do not dress down.
I do not give*.

If people ask me for charidy money, I explain that I am a conscientious objector and offer to explain my reasons. Usually they decline – mostly because they actually don’t give aforementioned flying reproductive thrust and are only carrying the bucket round because it saves having to process just one more soul-destroying item of post.

Or whatever.

It may be because I am a miserable old boot who hates everyone. Or maybe I just can’t bear to participate in this particular manifestation of my own exploitation as an airheaded wage-slave.

Or, like, whatever.


* Lest anyone should think I am stingy and mean (like I care) I am saying that I don’t give to the corporate charity on compulsory gift day. This doesn’t mean I don’t give to anyone ever.