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!

Brent crude

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!

From Monevator

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


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view click through to read the article. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing to sites you visit a lot.

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

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!)

Environmental factors

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

Some unsolicited advice on unsolicited advice – Rob Henderson [h/t Abnormal Returns]

What do you want? – Humble Dollar

You left out the all CAPS part – Seth’s Blog

And finally…

“Reality is a fiction with an unlimited budget.”
– Hernan Diaz, Trust

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The post Weekend reading: Buying out of the office Christmas party appeared first on Monevator.

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