Thursday 4 March 2010

The Cake Policy

[Something lighter ... here are some extracts from my workplace's Cake Policy, which I had a hand in developing. Every tea room needs one! Please feel free to use and adapt for your own place of work.]

A Workplace Cake Policy


“Let them eat cake” (Marie Antoinette)

“Man shall not live by bread alone.” (Jesus)

There are undeniable differences between these sayings of Marie Antoinette and Jesus of Nazareth. But regardless of those temporal and thematic disparities, both clearly envisaged that cake, and all that it represents, should be a part of how we live.

For what is a cake but a confectionary embodiment of the celebration of life, its highs and its lows? And also of the need to bring joy, and sometimes reparation, into the daily lives of those around us. The untimely executions of the two persons above quoted should in no way discourage us from following their culinary examples. Let us laugh in the face of our own metaphorical grim-reapers, and bring on the cakes!

Mission Statement
To embrace the concept of ‘cakeable happenings’ and ‘cakeable offences’ and provide a regular supply of comestibles to foster communication and general bonhomie amongst [workplace name] ‘cakeholders’*.

The Cake Policy Proper
A person who has committed, taken part in, been subject to, or undergone a ‘cakable happening’ or ‘cakeable offence’ is required to provide a comestible (preferably cake) for morning tea. Should said ‘cake-ee’ renege, forget or otherwise appear to ‘evade the cake issue’, inordinately rude and unchivalrous derision shall be visited upon them, and another, grander cake will be required the next working day. With some ‘recalcitrant cake-ees’ the compounding effect of missing too many cake days has been such that on retirement they have had to hold a slap-up banquet for the whole workplace as a way of making amends – don’t let this happen to you!

P.S. No cheating for weekends, public holidays, and/or leave either, it carries over till the next working day.

Interpretation of the policy is based on common law (the commonly held view of cakeholders*) and precedence (evolving custom). More technically we may refer to Section (II) of the policy as Tarts for Torts – a tort being “the branch of law concerned with civil injuries and their remedies” (Macquarie Dictionary).

Any aggrieved cake-ee who feels they have been unfairly caked, can take their grievance to a ‘cake moot’. A gathering of cakeholders that will be held the following day between 10:30 and 11:00 am. Be warned, however, that such cake moots do have an unsavoury predisposition towards doubling or trebling the penalty unless the grievance is extremely funny.

* A cakeholder is deemed to be anyone who turns up in the tea room between (but not limited to) the hours of 10:00 and 11:00am with a fulsome and hearty desire to ingest a comestible.

Section (I) – Cakeable Happenings
These include, but are not limited to the following clauses:
1. birthdays;
2. an addition to the cake-ee’s family (baby, cat, dog, other being of emotional focus and social and fiscal responsibility, such as a Land Rover);
3. having one’s name, photo, project mentioned in the media (television/paper/radio or other electronic media) on occasions other than advertisements and public notices;
Sub-clause 3.a – it may be necessary to establish a Special Cake Offence Feeding Fund (SCOFF) for high profile projects;
4. commitment ceremony, marriage, shacking up together etc;
5. settlement of a significant acquisition such as a house, a boat, a car or the like (excluding Land Rovers – refer Section I, Clause 2);
6. commencement, return or leaving (wilfully or otherwise);
7. promotion, reclassification, contract extension, granting of permanency;
8. receipt of an award/prize or other such acknowledgment;
9. major achievement such as a degree or other such qualification; publication of a report, paper, etc;
10. the taking of long service leave of greater than 2 months duration; and
11. in the case of the taking of extra long leave (i.e. death) the cake-ee’s progeny are released from any standing cakeable events and offences incurred by the deceased. However, deceased cake-ee’s are encouraged, through whatever good graces may be available to them in their new plane of existence to attempt to materialise the odd cup cake or lamington - particularly around Halloween - for old times sake.

Section (II) – Cakeable Offences
These include, but are not limited to the following clauses:
1. tearoom telephonic transgressions, ie mobile phone calls. The phonee whose phone emanates an audible noise or a noticed vibration shall be deemed to be caked;
Sub-clause 1.a – mobile telephonic trangressions in situations other than the tearoom may also be deemed cakeable if sufficient embarassment and disruption ensues. (Examples may include during a public presentation or while the Minister is being interviewed.)
2. tearoom talk transgressions, ie discussion of work in the tearoom. On the rare occasion that such discussions are consensual, that is approved of by all potential caker-holders present, the behaviour is deemed exempt. However, should someone new enter the tearoom, a new agreement must be negotiated. Where agreement cannot be reached, any person continuing work-related discussion could be called to account (‘caked’) for transgressing the terms of the policy stated herein;
3. being caught speeding (receiving a fine) in a work vehicle;
4. having an accident in a work vehicle. An exemption will be granted where the river is physically injured necessitating medical intervention. However, a consultation for precautionary documentation and recording of events does not exempt potential cakees;
5. being caught placing work-related literature on the tearoom table noticeboard acceptable);
6. having to be ‘rescued’ from being bogged, reported lost and the like;
Subclause 6a – helicopter rescues count double, with exemptions only as per Section II: Clause 4; and
7. the General Manager receiving correspondence regarding driving expertise or general behaviour.


Nature Scribe said...

I love it that this policy is the most read, and the most complied with, in my work place. We have it framed on the tea room wall. It's even found its way onto our Intranet, alongside some of those "never-read" official policies!

Sally Louise Oakley said...

A very thorough policy, although I'm sure James will be able to pick a fight with it (if he so desires!)

If only all workplaces were as amusing and constructive.

I'm pretty sure that's not what Jesus meant, but quite willing to go along with it for the sake of some cake...

smudgeon said...

It's been several years since I left PWS, but I still delight in telling people about the official, management-endorsed Cake Policy. "Cakeable offence" continues to be an important part of my workplace vocabulary.