“Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
— The ghost of Marley speaking to Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Tis the season for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of reruns of that old Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Its message, of course, is timeless, as reflected in the opening quote. Perhaps we never tire of hearing it because so many companies and its owners, investors and even managers haven’t got the message yet — and so many of you work for them.

I’m wondering how many people feel they work in a setting not unlike the one depicted in Scrooge’s office, albeit a more modern-day setting. I doubt that many companies use coal to heat their premises — in the West, at least.

As companies cut back in a bid to boost the bottom line for investors and owners, it seems many workers are finding themselves doing the jobs of two or three or more people — with no extra pay or even the odd thank-you from the higher-ups. They only get feedback — the negative sort — when something goes wrong. There seems to be an attitude in some companies that your paycheque is your thank-you, and that you should be grateful for even having a job. (Now get back to your workstations, and shut up!)

It’s not like that everywhere, of course. A close friend of mine works in a happy environment where all employees actually receive bonuses every quarter, a percentage pegged to the company’s earnings. They’re regularly thanked for their work, given lavish Christmas parties etc. In short, her company appreciates the employees, and shows it. Yes, the bottom line is important for the company, but so are its employees.

It’s about social conscience, I guess. It’s about what Dickens was saying in A Christmas Carol, that companies shouldn’t be sacrificing people on the altar of profits to fatten the purses of a select few who are probably already wealthy beyond their ability to spend it all.

How about you and your company? Without naming it, are you and the employees happy campers? Or do they feel unappreciated, that they are working for . . . Scrooge?

Yes, I realize it is Saturday morning as I write this post, and that people might not want to talk about work. So, feel free to write a response next week . . .



P.S. I will be returning to the A Christmas Carol theme once or twice more during this holiday season.