The talk of Wall Street is the immense bonus pool to be shared by the fortunate employees of Goldman Sachs. But elsewhere in corporate America, employees are far more likely to find lumps of coal instead of bars of gold in their Christmas stockings this year.
Earlier this week, the consulting firm Hewitt Associates reported that two-thirds of companies won't pay holiday bonuses this year, up from 59 percent in 2005. Of the 34 percent of firms that will dispense holiday largesse, "39 percent will award cash, 37 percent will provide retailer gift certificates, and 27 percent will give employees a gift of food (e.g., turkey or ham)." Meanwhile, 65 percent of companies have planned a holiday party, down from 74 percent in 2005.
This trend isn't surprising. Of late, America's CEOs have acted like a bunch of Scrooges all year round. As profits have soared to record levels, they've been unwilling to share the bounty with employees in the form of substantially higher wages, benefits, and bonuses. And for every Goldman Sachs, there's a Citigroup, which just appointed fearsome cost-cutter Robert Druskin to the post of chief operating officer. Meanwhile, as Slatereported earlier this year, examples of idiotic corporate penny-pinching abound.
We know that for every tale of yuletide bounty, there's a tale of yuletide parsimony: employees being forced to pay for holiday parties, the discontinuation of a traditional bonus, or, in some instances, a Christmas gift that strikes the wrong chord. At Slate, for example, where memorable holiday gifts have included Jacques Torres chocolates and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, some ingrates still grumble about the year staffers received freeze-dried organic food products.
And so, in an effort to spread a lack of good cheer this holiday season, Slateinvites readers to share their tales of Christmas parties canceled, bonuses revoked, lame gifts, and general Scrooge-like behavior. The bigger the company, the better.
Send your examples to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Dec. 18. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.) We'll publish the best of the submissions next week.
And we're no Scrooges. Five responders, selected at random, will receive, perhaps in time for the holidays, a copy of Moneybox's international best seller Forbes Greatest Business Stories, as well as a piece of certified Slateswag.