COMMENT: My bank is unfairly penalizing me for not being a charity volunteer

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I am a technologist at an international investment bank. My job is to help the bank create best in class technology systems that will allow it to make money. And yet for some reason, I am being evaluated on my enthusiasm for participating in its endless flow of charitable activities.

It is not that I am against charity. It is not that I am against volunteering. I am against participation in volunteering days being included as a performance objective in my annual appraisal. I don't think it has anything to do with my job. I certainly don't think I should my bonus curtailed because of it.

Unfortunately I fear that this is exactly what is going to happen. I've been subjected to this 'charity clause' since around 2015 and have managed to seem sufficiently enthusiastic until now. This year, however, I just haven't been able to face the volunteering days. I've got a toddler and a tired wife, and one of them fell on my birthday. When I attend a volunteering day for work, I usually have to work extra time at the weekend. I'm not prepared to do that any more.

Banks, however, are always looking for an excuse to cut pay. When I didn't attend our recent volunteering day (off-site, East London, 9am to 3pm) I got a veeeeeery long look from my manager. I know what he's thinking and I'm already annoyed.

This should not be part of my objectives. It's meaningless: it doesn't mean I don't give to charity (I do) and it doesn't mean I'm not a team player (I am). It’s putting charity activities as a requirement into a workplace “performance objective” document that scandalizes me. I grew up in Soviet Union, and I did not expect to find the Soviet ritual of “subbotnik” (see Wikipedia) to catch me in the lair of capitalism.

Hubert Dobrowski is a pseudonym

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