From The Desk Of The Office Manager: Tragedy Of The Commons

by Sam Kemmis


The holidays are coming right up and many of you are probably wondering why you have not been paid for several weeks. First off: CALM DOWN. I'm your office manager, not your life coach, but didn't anybody ever tell you that money cannot buy happiness? A few weeks without pay isn't going to ruin your life.

Second, the payroll system has switched over to a group of graduate students performing a large-scale social experiment. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? You will no longer get paid with direct deposits every two weeks, but through a series of experiments intended to demonstrate the TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS and THE INHERENT SELFISHNESS THAT UNDERMINES ALL HUMAN INSTITUTIONS.

Here's how it works:

  • All salaries will be pooled into a collective "pot."
  • Any employee may anonymously withdraw any amount from the pot.
  • Whatever amount is left in the pot at the end of a payroll will be DOUBLED and DISTRIBUTED EVENLY to all employees.

So if nobody withdraws from the pot for two weeks, everybody will receive an equal share equal to twice the current average pay. However, individuals who withdraw anonymously from the pot can receive a DISPROPORTIONATE, and FAR GREATER share.

If no funds are left in the pot at the end of the payroll period (i.e. if selfishness prevails) then all employees will be terminated.

- Bye -

Katherine Tull-Putts, BA
Office Manager