What caught my eye this week.
A friend of mine was bemoaning how some of his staff were not enthusiastic about his upcoming office Christmas party.
Covid cancelled the previous two. My extrovert friend is beside himself to get back to the minefield of Secret Santa, the lottery of dinner seating, and drunken karaoke with two bemused blokes from the Reading office.
I suggested that if somebody didn’t want to join the party, he just gave them £100 in lieu to do whatever else they liked instead.
Which went down like the mini Bounties in a box of Celebrations.
Of course my friend protested that this was a bonding event. Which was what justified the £10,000 budget. An investment in team morale. A chance for colleagues who’d never met to get to know each other.
Indeed anyone who would actually take the £100 alternative would only be revealing themselves as being outside of the team.
The opposite of what he was trying to achieve!
Look, I see both sides. And I’ve been to some excellent office parties featuring genuine friends. Albeit usually as a contractor who rarely saw an 8.45am start with the gang – as opposed to being a wage slave forced to spend another six hours of my life with Gary from accounts, when all that keeps me sane is the 40-hour cap on Gary in a normal working week.
I don’t believe anyone should be put through the cruel and unusual punishment of an office party if that’s how they’ll find the forced festivities.
Besides, wouldn’t my suggested £100 Get Out Of Jail bonus equally inspire warm feelings from somebody dreading the alternative?
I believe so, but I didn’t win over my friend.
And so somewhere in London in the next two weeks you might run into yet another 50 incongruous diners in variously coloured paper hats talking about the prospects for an upcoming trade show – only to be interrupted by my friend standing up to deliver his surely-hilarious end of year awards.
He can’t say he wasn’t warned.
But what do you guys think? Am I being a Mr Scrooge? Or has the pandemic put the clad-iron case for certain office rituals to the sword forever? Share you worst – or who knows, maybe your best – Christmas party anecdotes in the comments below.
Enjoy the reading!
Emergency funds: how much to save, where to keep it, and when to use it – Monevator
Ten weeks on from the Mini Budget that (for a moment) broke Britain – Monevator
From the archive-ator: An investor among the anti-capitalists – Monevator
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FCA moves to create simplified financial advice regime – Investment Week
Half of mortgage borrowers have a fixed deal ending in the next two years – This Is Money
Next rescues fashion chain Joules saving 1,450 jobs – BBC
House prices set to fall 5% next year, says Zoopla – This Is Money
100 British firms sign up to four-day week with no loss of pay – Guardian
Oil prices are back below to pre-Ukraine invasion levels – Axios
The happiest places to live in Great Britain revealed – Which
Five million in the UK are on out-of-work benefits. Here’s the proof – Spectator
Products and services
First Direct has launched a new regular savings account paying 7% – First Direct
The best mortgage rates for home buyers and movers – Which
Last chance to claim! Cashback offer expires 12 December Open an account with InvestEngine via our affiliate link and get £25 when you invest at least £100 (new customers only, T&Cs apply) – InvestEngine
When are the best ways and last dates for sending Christmas parcels? – Guardian
Open a SIPP with Interactive Investor and pay no SIPP fee for six months. Terms apply – Interactive Investor
Venture capital trusts: overpriced or time to buy? [Search result] – FT
The American Express Small Shops scheme is back: how to earn £25 – Which
Homes for sale near Christmas markets, in pictures – Guardian
Comment and opinion
Does this count as market timing? – Oblivious Investor
A year of pain: investors struggle in a new era of higher rates [Search result] – FT
Getting wealthy versus staying wealthy – Morgan Housel
11 ways to give yourself a Christmas bonus in 2022 – Which
Everything in its right place – Fortunes & Frictions
Deep dive into why index funds are displacing active funds – Evidence-based Investor
How much growth can you expect? [US but relevant] – Of Dollars and Data
The thing that’s hard about markets – A Wealth of Common Sense
How to avoid arguing over money – Morningstar
Lies, damned lies, and performance benchmarks – Advisor Perspectives
Don’t panic! Europe is not facing immediate de-industrialization – Noahpinion
Crypt o’ crypto
Why they clapped for Sam Bankman-Fried – The Reformed Broker
BlockFi files for bankruptcy as FTX contagion spreads – CoinDesk
Bankman-Fried was always going to go big [and then go bust] or go bust – Elm Funds
Naughty corner: Active antics
The IPO outlook in one word [Search result] – FT
An interview with Lindsell Train founder Nick Train [Podcast] – AJ Bell
Who says you can’t time the market? – The Felder Report
An ARKK-typical problem – Klement on Investing
Why value investing can keep on performing – Franklin Templeton
Bollocks to Brexit mini-special
Brexit and the economy: the hit has been ‘substantially negative’ [Search result] – FT
Fingerprint and face checks at EU border to take Brits “up to four times longer” – Independent
Kindle book bargains
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou – £0.99 on Kindle
Surrounded by Bad Bosses and Lazy Employees by Thomas Erikson – £0.99 on Kindle
The Business Book by DK Publishing – £1.99 on Kindle
Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds, and Matches by Carlo Ancelotti – £0.99 on Kindle
(Don’t have a Kindle? Buy one and join the cheap and tidy book club!)
A UK tree provides hundreds of pounds of benefits a year, report finds – Guardian
ESG investing after the war – Klement on Investing
Government to offer £1bn in grants to insulate middle-income homes – This Is Money
A new tax on UK renewable energy – DIY Investor
Penarth swimmers hail ‘excellent’ water rating – Guardian
Rare bird lost for 140 years rediscovered in Papua New Guinea – Business Insider
Off our beat
How monopoly enshittified Amazon – Pluralistic
New research shows flexible work boosts employment and slashes poverty rates – Prospect
Is AirBnB about to go after the longer-term rental market? – Dror Poleg
The myth of the 25-year old brain – Slate
What do you want? – Humble Dollar
You left out the all CAPS part – Seth’s Blog
“Reality is a fiction with an unlimited budget.”
– Hernan Diaz, Trust
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