Sometimes unexpected things happen. There are situations where I’m really proud of my colleagues.
In May, 2015, I set up a “Peer Earnings” experiment to distribute a bonus of 5,000 Euros among the team in a self-organized way: All full-time team members who had been with us for at least one year were given a budget of 100 Euros (aliquot amount for part-timers).
I set up a large spreadsheet with one row and one column per team member. Everybody was asked to distribute one’s budget among the colleagues, e.g. 1 Euro for everyone, or 100 Euros for just one. The entire spreadsheet was visible for everybody.
Around that time there was a series of earthquakes in Nepal. Since we also have a few team members in Kathmandu (capital city of Nepal), a large part of the bonus was assigned to our Nepali colleagues.
When I set up the peer earnings experiment, I didn’t expect a charitable outcome. However, it feels good to see that our team members don’t automatically put themselves first, but are well prepared to donate money to those in need.
Each larger Catalysts location (Linz / Vienna / Cluj) has a certain budget for team events. Our team in Cluj (Romania) decided to use some of their budget for charity. Amalia Goia is going to tell us more about two such charitable events.
In Cluj, almost everybody is aware of or at least has heard of the situation from Pata Rât, a settlement situated in the suburbs of Cluj, where Romani families living in the city were evacuated some time in 2010. The people were promised facilities by the local administration (thing that is yet to happen), but are now living in extremely poor conditions. The story of how things ended up this way would be worth of an entire blog post in itself, but the main idea revolves around preconceptions people have about this ethnic group and about a lack of vision from the local administration in terms of social insertion programs.
The responsibility process (see 10.2 Responsibility) reflects outside “working hours” as well, so we felt that we shouldn’t be oblivious of the situation those people are facing, even if we cannot entirely solve it. We gathered our forces as a team and prepared 300 sandwiches (in as short a time as 1 hour, due to the optimization of the whole process, see the following video).
We later delivered those sandwiches to the children of the community. Every team member who wasn’t busy that day was more than eager to contribute. Our biggest “thank you” was the joy on the children’s faces and the realization of how petty our daily problems are, compared to theirs.
Bake a Smile
The idea of “Bake a Smile” had its origins in a fair our branch manager Alex Cosma attended in his home town a while ago. Together with some more companies from the same building, we gathered cookies, cakes and other baked goods from employees and used our rooftop with its amazing view for selling them. The atmosphere was quite pleasant as well, as we had a string quartet at first and 2 DJs later playing for our “customers”. Hundreds of people attended and bought the sweet goodies and bid on cake auctions. The whole event was an exciting opportunity for people at Catalysts to turn for a few hours to something entirely different from what we do day-to-day: we had ad-hoc “cocktail masters”, DJs, auctioneers and last but not least, sweets salesmen. The entire sum gathered was donated to a few charitable foundations from Cluj and everybody had fun taking part in this event and felt good about themselves at the end of the day.