ST Dec 14, 2009
Corporate diaries harder to come by
Such year-end gifts are drying up as firms cut back on costs or go green
THE wave of corporate diaries and calendars that usually washes over workplaces this time of the year has dried up, with 2010 looming as the year people will just have to buy their own.
Banks and manufacturing companies - noted for corporate gift-giving - are handing out fewer goodies, which means firms that make these freebies are hurting, with their sales down by as much as 50 per cent.
Mr Frankie Chia, president of the Gifts Association of Singapore, said: 'Sales of corporate diaries and gifts are generally much worse this year as corporate customers cut back on their budgets.'
Retiree Tammy Leong is feeling the pinch as well. December is usually her favourite month, with corporate diaries, calendars and Christmas hampers flowing in from her bankers and insurance agents.
I think that it's not so much to do with the economy, but the fact that many people don't use paper-based diaries and calendars anymore.
They would rather use some electronic tool to achieve the same purposes. For example, you could use your handphone or PDA or Blackberry; or the calendar and to-do functions on your Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes; or some free online application such as Google Calendar.
I am a bit of a dinosaur. For my personal matters, I still use a paper-based filofax (remember those?). But at work I use the calendar and to-do functions on Lotus Notes to keep track of my appointments, meetings and tasks.
I still remember how the legal profession was like, when I first graduated (and that wasn't so long ago, just a decade or so). Senior lawyers would invariably advise a junior lawyer about the importance of maintaining, building and updating his own collection of "precedents".
What does that mean? Well, as time went on and you worked on different types of legal matters, you would photocopy useful legal documents and organise them nicely into thick ring files, for your own future reference. Effectively, your personal collection of legal precedents represented the sum total of your legal knowledge and experience, and was a valuable professional asset to be guarded carefully. A senior lawyer would easily have dozens of precious precedent files lining his shelves.
That was then. Now I have everything I need, on one thumb drive.