Dear Aunty B,
It’s Melbourne Cup tomorrow and I like a bet with my staff.
But several years ago I hired a religious woman (don’t know what she is) who is against betting and who then introduced a friend to work in accounts who has similar beliefs. Last year they protested against the betting and said it made them feel uncomfortable.
Then yesterday they asked if instead of betting, we could collect the money and send it to a charity! Well, you can imagine how that’s going to go down with the blokes.
What do I do Aunty B?
Blokes? We like a bet too, Jack. Look, that’s why it’s called Cup day. Everyone puts some money in a cup and some mug wins the lot.
But you need to handle this strategically.
Explain that while you respect her traditions, this is a tradition at your office and people will be offended if it is dumped.
Tell her the Cup is a bit like the collection plate, and that everyone at the office is a worthwhile recipient of people’s largess as we are all being hit in some way by the credit crunch.
But do add that you respect her point of view, and to reward her you are making her Charitable Events Facilitator.
Her first task is to organise a raffle and a hamper for the poor kids at Christmas.
Lastly mention that the deadlines for the big project she is working on have been pulled forward to Cup day 5pm. That should keep her happy, busy and out of the way.
Your Aunty B.
Lorraine writes: I’ve loved reading your column for quite a while now, but this is the first time that I’ve been tempted to write about anything. I can understand the point of view of the lady who does not like the betting on the cup. I’m a Christian who also doesn’t believe in gambling. However, there is a difference between having personal views and imposing them on others. I don’t gamble. I have worked in a school were people had the usual cup draw. All that those who don’t like to gamble have to do is to politely (emphasis on politely!) decline when invited to participate. It is then also up to the gamblers to equally politely respect her decision. Gambling is, after all, a personal choice and is not compulsory. Keep up the good work!