A decade at Sun redux

I felt a mild flutter of excitement when I finally received my 10 year Sun/Oracle service award notification on Friday, two months after my actual anniversary, because Sun had some nice gifts you could choose from (I chose a telescope for my five year award!).

Assuming Oracle would be much the same, I hastily logged in to see what I fancied, only to discover out that there was only one option: a ballpoint pen. A $200 ballpoint pen, certainly, but a ballpoint pen nonetheless.

How many people in the IT industry, I wonder, have a use for a $200 ballpoint pen? I certainly wouldn’t carry around a pen that expensive, as it’s the sort of thing I’d inevitably lose. Even as UI designer who does a fair bit of sketching, I just tend to use whatever pen or pencil comes to hand. And if I did want my own fancy, personal pen, it would be a fountain pen, not a ballpoint. (But you have to rack up 20 years at Oracle to earn one of those—even 15 just gets you a ‘rollerball’.)

Indeed, up until I left university, and for a while afterwards, I did carry around a fountain pen. But it wasn’t an expensive one, and it was in the days when I still wrote a lot more than I typed. I doubt there are many people in our line of work who do that nowadays.

So if you’re reading, corporate gift overlords, we minions do appreciate a choice. And if you’re not going to give us a choice, could you please at least give us something we can either put to good use without fear of losing or breaking it, or something that looks nice on a shelf? Or, if in doubt, just stick an extra few quid in our pay packet that month, and let us buy whatever we like :)

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10 Responses to “A decade at Sun redux”

  1. Boo-hoo! Worse things could happen!!!

  2. calum says:

    Sure they could, but you could say that about most gripes that anybody has about anything.

  3. Jannis says:

    Uh. How about a few hours less to work each week as a present? By now everyone should now that monetary and material gifts don’t necessarily improve anyone’s motivation to work on something passionately.

  4. Stormy says:

    The problem isn’t the gift. The problem is they obviously spent no time thinking about you. If the point of the gift was to appreciate the fact that you had spent 10 years with them, you would think they would take a minute to reflect on what they knew about you after 10 years. Or why you might like working there. Or even what might help you in your job.

  5. calum says:

    @Stormy Yes, that’s it in a nutshell really. Seems all the more odd given that the awards are supplied by a third party corporate gift vendor (as they were at Sun), who presumably do have much more in their repertoire than just pens and pencils. Even if it came in a case engraved with the employee’s name or something it would be a better effort, but AFAIK it’s not personalised in any way (but I can’t swear to that until I receive mine).

  6. Hylke says:

    $200 pens. capitalism at its finest!

  7. Giacomo says:

    You’re lucky you didn’t get a layoff notice…

  8. Anonymous Dude says:

    They give a pen for 10 years in IBM too. A cheapo one.

  9. calum says:

    @Giacamo: True… although in a way it would be better to get a layoff notice now than this time next year, as that way I’d still get the current Sun package, which I believe is a little more generous than the current Oracle one :)

  10. Ben says:

    Shouldn’t Oracle giving out pens be like Ford giving out buggies?