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Chocolatey goodness


At the weekend my kids like to have a croissant for breakfast, it’s something they have got used to and is now a kind of ritual.  They have them with chocolate spread.  It used to be Nutella, but seeing as we are such a “right on” hippy bunch, it’s now Green and Black’s.  I would cut the croissant to make two half moons, put a little spread on one and then put the two together.  A chocolatey croissant sandwich.  What’s not to like?

One Saturday morning, a few years ago, my son asked me, “Can I have the two sides separately?”  Seemingly an innocent question from a 7-year-old.  Until I realised the catch.  Open the two up and there was only chocolate spread on one and not the other.  I gave it to him that way.  “But there is no chocolate spread on this one”.  True.  And worse, seeing as I had always applied the minimum amount of spread (no threat of obesity in this household), there was no scraping and transferring to be done.  I was snookered.  (For the Americans amongst you, that means……ummm….well your balls are trapped).  And they were……fully.  I added more chocolate spread to the other half and returned the plate  where, with a knowing smile, he promptly put the two sides back together to make…….a double chocolate croissant sandwich.

And from that point on, the amount of chocolate on the croissant had increased.  There was no going back.

Now clearly I’m not writing about this because I want readers to avoid any croissanty unpleasantness on a Saturday morning.  More that this came back to me last week as we entered into pay negotiations (yes I know I seem to spend my life doing this).  The pot is small, the mandate is tight and in reality we have little to give.  I could do the big swinging dick HRD routine and go banging on tables.  But thats not really me and quite frankly I worry I might struggle in the dick department……

So the dilemma I’m facing is this.  The Unions are there with the croissant open in their hands.  One side has chocolate and the other doesn’t.  The minimum has been applied and there is no scraping to be done.  They’re asking for chocolate on both sides.  But once thats done, it can never be undone. What to do, what to do…..

Time to downgrade back to Nutella maybe?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/24/2009 13:41

    My dad used that phrase, “snookered.” He also told me not to take any wooden nickels, which nobody under 30 seems to know about.

    I would disagree that there is no undoing of the Nutella (which is no downgrade as far as I’m concerned), but maybe that’s because I am in a non-union environment. My husband’s vacation has been slashed, his salary frozen and there is no bonus this year. His department is short and will not hire, so he is doing the job of more than one engineer — more work for the same pay. (He came to bed at 3:45 last night.) Our attitude is Thank God he has a job.

    My unionized Delta airlines pilot uncle has seen his pay cut over 30% and he is just hoping to have a pension when he retires in a few years.

    Are things that much better on your side of the pond that the unions can make demands?

  2. teresahrgirl permalink
    11/24/2009 17:17

    oh HRD, just give them the damn chocolate if they are worth the chocolate.

    If they aren’t worth it, can you prove it?

    Ok, another more sensible approach maybe to disclose the budget. Telling everyone what the pot contains may help your negotiations. Or is that a little naive to think that smart people can divide the pie with the best contributors getting the biggest pieces even knowing that it shrinks everyone else’s?

  3. 11/25/2009 14:21

    Teresa, it was my assumption that the pot was smaller and that the union wanted more than their share. But yes, if they deserve more than the others, they should get it. Although how you decide that all employees in one group should get the same pay raise is beyond me. And why an employee would want to tie his fortunes to those of his colleagues if he was at all on the ball is even more beyond me. Now, if you are an underperformer, the system works great.

    I worked for a company where certain staff groups were automatically ineligible for the highest level increase (there was “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” and “needs improvement”). Employees in the legal dept could never get the “exceeds” rating, which made them ineligible for the 4% increase or whatever the associated raise was that year, plus the impact on bonus. That is unfair and lazy.

  4. 11/25/2009 14:41

    @class factotum – I think rather than things being better, it is more a question of what people are used to. There are expectations that have been built up over years. Whilst we can show the company situation, they will show rising fuel costs, rental prices etc.

    @teresahrgirl – I’m actully planning on giving them fake chocolate…..but don’t tell anyone.

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