Absurdly Driven usually looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
These days, there are the lucky and the not so lucky.
As Coronavirus pulses through the world, many people's health is at risk. Their jobs, too. In the U.S., there are more than 15 million unemployed.
Then again, there are still those who are in comfortable positions.
Should an employer, though, try to guilt fortunate employees into understanding their good fortune?
Last week Porsche gave its employees a 9,000 Euro bonus. That's around $9,800.
It's a positive gesture, given that the company has temporarily closed its main plant in Zuffenhausen and its Leipzig production facility.
In offering this bonus, Porsche acknowledged 2019 had been a very successful year.
Yet the bonus announcement was accompanied by an entreaty:
Employees are encouraged to make voluntary donations to charitable organizations.
Moreover, the company added "an appeal for donations to its employees to support the 'Porsche Aid' program."
Did this need to be said? Does it feel like overt strong-arming?
In the announcement, Porsche explained its executives were increasing their own charitable contributions:
The Executive Board at Porsche AG is also personally supporting this initiative and is donating a total of half a million euros privately. This donation supplements the Porsche donation program for hospitals and charitable organizations.
I fear some might imagine the executive board can rather afford it. I fear some may see here an uncomfortable guilting of employees.
If they don't donate to Porsche's own charitable program, will the company notice? Are employees somehow supposed to declare -- subtly or not -- which other charities they are currently supporting?
It's all emotionally tricky. Potentially coercive and intrusive, too.
One imagines a strong brand like Porsche will survive, especially as it's based in a country whose Coronavirus preparations have been among the more prescient. Is there a pressing reason, therefore, to be pressing your employees?
You never really know your employees' private lives. You never know what responsibilities they feel and to whom. You really shouldn't know, if you're their employer, what charitable contributions they make and to whom.
Directly suggesting they should contribute some of their bonus to the company's charitable initiatives seems gauche.
Perhaps, at the very least, the charitable push should have been made under a separate announcement.
Of course, one can understand the company's fear that it's bad PR to be celebrating success, while much of the world is suffering.
But what remains is the potentially sanctimonious message: "Here's a bonus. You're surely not thinking of spending it on yourselves right now, are you?"