The holiday bonus is an age-old holiday tradition. Each year, corporations would reward their hard-working employees with a bonus check they could spend on holiday presents for the family. As companies tightened their belts over time and started sucking as much value out of workers for as little cost as possible, the bonuses began to morph into offensive mockeries of what they once were.
Here, workers share some of the worst bonuses they received.
No Bonuses Because Diversity
Some companies managed to weaponize diversity by saying it’s offensive to offer “Christmas bonuses” when not everyone celebrates Christmas. They couldn’t imagine changing it to an “end of the year” bonus to include everyone.
A “Coffee Break”
In a horrific show of heartlessness, one manager handed employees $10 Starbucks gift cards while laying 10% of them off. “It’s not a layoff, it’s a coffee break.”
A Book for Work
A salesperson said their “Christmas gift” was a book on improving sales. In a gift that keeps on giving, management also required employees to read it in their free time and discuss each chapter in weekly meetings.
Cheesecake from Elsewhere
Cheesecake Factory employees reported that their managers gifted them cheesecake for the holidays, but it wasn’t even from their store. It was from a grocery store.
Nothing says holiday cheer like forcing employees to pay money and attend a party with people they’d rather not associate outside of work. One employee said their “bonus” was a mandatory party they had to help pay for.
What’s worse than a grocery store cheesecake? A photo of a cake. The entire holiday bonus was a thank-you email with a picture of a cake.
Cards Signed by All
One worker said they were forced to sign a stack of holiday cards and then given the option to choose the card they wanted.
A Steak Knife
People in sales typically get hefty bonuses based on performance. One worker who was used to getting between one and five grand each holiday season had a record year and was expecting a fat bonus. Instead, they got a steak knife.
Many companies are initiating layoffs this season, meaning for many, the only “bonus” they get is the scramble to find a new job.
Ham must be cheap around the holidays because many companies think a giant ham is an appropriate gift. They must not realize that lots of religions prohibit pork consumption.
A Day Off (Conditions Apply)
A bonus paid day off isn’t a horrible gift for retail workers until you read the fine print. One worker said their boss offered an extra day off, but they couldn’t use it on weekends (including Fridays) or around the holidays, and if someone called asking them to come in, they had to come in.
Some companies give the gift of free advertisement for the holidays. They give their employees branded sweatshirts and coffee cups, hoping they’ll use these items and spread brand awareness. Who is this gift really for?
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