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This week, we've been having a conversation about the subject of demotivation, prompted originally by a story about a company where the founder had announced his plan to pay for the college tuitions of all the children of employees who helped him start the company.

One MNB reader asked whether this would "demotivate" people without children, and we've had some mixed reactions ... which continue...

MNB reader Jeff Folloder wrote:

There will always be somebody who feels slighted for the barest whiff of perceived unfairness.  Whether we admit it or not, we all keep score in some way.  Close your eyes and go back in time to the American workplace where cigarettes were not allowed but smokers were still around in droves.  About once an hour or so, the smokers would gather on the porch or the driveway or the loading dock and puff away.  Those who did not have the habit often wondered why they didn't get all those extra 15 minute breaks.  More than a couple.

I always figured that while the smokers were getting occasional 15 minute breaks, non-smokers were getting a whole bunch of years on the back end.

From another reader:

Perhaps this topic has run its course, however the note from a reader today regarding a fellow employees complaining about not being able to fully leverage a benefit and therefore being short changed reminded me of an ugly incident 20 years ago.

My organization announced that we were being acquired. In order to maintain the management structure a lucrative retention package was announced. It was based on tenure but had a very  generous minimal offering.  This package was announced via phone to a peer group who work remotely at that time.  The  first question raised came from a woman who had significant more seniority than the rest of us. She was irate that we would all be essentially get the  same number of months severance as her. Not a male but perhaps no surprise she was and I believe always had been single .

The demotivation here came from none of us in the group really wanting to work with her, support her, back her up or really in any way significantly interact with her in the future.

I get your point. But maybe we're taking too many shots at single people, suggesting that they're more selfish than married people.

Which was the point of another MNB user:

For the first twenty years of my working life, I was on the no spouse/no kids list and the next twenty on the yes/yes side. 
The situation is unfair/demotivating in that the company was paying a bonus retention fee for those employees that was unavailable to me.  I considered it then and now to be a cost of keeping and retaining qualified candidates. 
But this comment was offensive: "looking back I can see why they were single."  I am surprised and dismayed that you reinforced it. 
My voting record paints me as liberal, if the choice is only liberal or conservative.

I actually though it was a joke. But let's not let it get out of hand.
KC's View: