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’tis the Season (for *required* charitable donations)

Ed. note: we have another would be GC writer throwing their hat in the ring. Enjoy!

'tis the Season for required charitable donations of the Schmucks

The only thing that irritates me more than having to wake up at 5:45 6:45 (let’s be honest) for work every morning is the influx of three-a-day charitable donation campaigns that have been hitting my inbox so often that half of my fellow CPAs are now one short click away from a “mark this as spam and report sender” flag.  I saw the email the first time.  Sending me the same email three times daily does not make it more effective – it makes you an asshole.  If you’re so bent on your charitable cause that you’re inspired to spam my inbox thrice daily, why not redirect some of that energy into – oh, I don’t know – making something of value to sell to raise money like brownies or friendship bracelets?

Ugh, I can’t believe I just advocated the creation of bracelets. If I had a dollar for every schmuck I know with a ball of string and an Etsy, I’d have enough dollars to single-handedly finance every hare-brained charitable Ponzi scheme my coworkers have thought up in the past six to eight weeks.  Seriously, though, do something of value in exchange for the cash you’re asking me to donate.  File tax returns for free.  Bike fifty miles.  Do SOMETHING that requires a little sacrifice on your part.  Don’t shuffle emails around and call yourself the United Way Committee.  It takes two seconds and four mouse clicks to forward me an email four times a day, and frankly, I’m uninspired.

So far this week, my fellow accountants have asked me to fight Juvenile Diabetes, to donate to my alma mater’s scholarship fund, and to feed the starving mouths of Detroit.  The required donation amount totals $250.

Excuse me.  Required amount?  I didn’t know that I was required to regift the money I that legitimately earn from the firm in exchange for my job skill.  One of the managers actually said to me “The office managing partner is really big on donations and watches that list pretty closely, so it won’t be good for you if you don’t donate.”

Here’s a thought – maybe when you talk to me next time, use the word ‘please.’

If I give the required amount for each charity, I’ll have given away $250 this week.   

$250 is a lot of money to me.  $250 is five weeks’ worth of groceries.  FIVE. WEEKS.  It’s called clipping coupons, people.

“But, lady, the scholarship money will go so that accounting students can study abroad!”

Um, *I* did not get to study abroad because I paid my way through college myself, and I’ve only been overseas twice in my life.  Why would I give up a substantial chunk of cash so that a student, who will no doubt receive a generous job offer straight out of school, can study abroad when I, myself, have not had the opportunity to do so?  Also, unlike most of my coworkers, I do not own a house, and thus, do not itemize my taxes and thus, cannot write off this charitable contribution, so really, I get no benefit from donating.  Donating to a study abroad scholarship fund does not make me feel good, and I can’t even write off the donation, so no, no, I don’t want to donate the required amount of money.   

No, I won’t donate to the scholarship fund.  Not even for the promise of a free Tigers game for all scholarship donors.  That reward doesn’t even tempt me because you know what I hate more than solicitous emails?  FREAKING BASEBALL.  I’d rather work for free than spend three hours of my life in the hot sun watching some obese center fielder in stretch pants hit a ball with a stick and run in a sloppy circle around an open field.  I feel that $100 should finance more than a vacation for somebody else and a Detroit Tigers game.  I feel like $100 should buy me, oh, I don’t know, two weeks’ worth of groceries?

Today a member of the United Way committee sent all the audit associates an email. “If you have the required $150 deducted from your paycheck over the whole year, it will equate to a salad from the cafeteria every paycheck!  We can all afford that, and it would be great to have 100% participation by the end of the week.  Think of all the kids your money will feed!” 

Listen, asshole, I usually bring my lunch to work because those cafeteria e.coli salads add up, and I am trying to save up for a house.  This particular person wouldn’t know anything about savings, though, since her parents paid for her education and bought her a house last summer.  Allow me to push this rant into the absurd and say – what about the food that $150 could buy MY children?  Which children? The unborn children that I CANNOT YET AFFORD TO CONCEIVE.  Stop emailing me.  Stop asking.  I have over a dozen emails in my inbox from this week alone, and it's only Tuesday.  Just stop.

So, I know someone out there is thinking, “Really, Miss CPA?  Is $250 going to put you out THAT much?”

No, it really won’t, but it’s the principle of the thing. A required donation is not a donation. No amount of spam, bribery, coercion, bracelets, brownies, or freaking baseball games will change my mind.

You know what might?  A please or a thank you or a “give as much as you can if you can” in one of these emails, but in the dozens that I’ve received over the past week, not a one has said PLEASE.  Not a one.  Unless you count the email that said “$250 is required, but give as much as you can ABOVE that!  FEED THE BABIES!”

Does my attitude suck?  Maybe it does, but I had many job skills when I signed up for this job. GENEROSITY WASN’T ONE OF THEM.