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I remember cringing at the time and I must have been less than six-years-old. The Sunday school teacher had been telling us how we should live the rest of our lives.

'JOY,' she proclaimed. 'What does that mean?

'Jesus, Others and Yourself. Think of them in that order and you will have JOY!'

I didn't have to be a cynical fat old hack to wince at the cheesiness of the sentiment.

Even at five, some things are obvious but, like The Bible, The Koran, or whatever your preferred life handbook, the old dear had a point.

Being the son of a vicar, I have heard enough preaching for one lifetime, so don't worry I'm not about to start now.

I keep reading the phrase 'corporate social responsibility' and it depresses me.

Not because I disapprove of companies taking on good causes, or setting aside time and resources for good works.

It's just so sad that we even needed to come up with the concept.

Now it has had the ultimate recognition. There are beardies and their female equivalent studying the phenomenon in our halls of learning.

Double sad, or what? Don't bother to help the community, just think and write about it.

It beggars belief. I have clients who have helped with dry stone walling, who have constructed a school garden, have carried out a UK-long relay and most of the contents of my bookshelves now reside in a Leicester school library somewhere following one of my once-a-decade clear-outs.

All good works and to be lauded, but isn't it sad that we actually have to formalise what should be a natural, humanitarian reaction.

If you see something that needs doing, that will help another human being, why stop to even think about it?

Companies now make much of the CSR programme and increasingly their good works are being factored into their PR programmes.

I agree that CSR projects can promote teamwork and I can see how publicising them can help in the long term with a company's image and with recruitment, but I do find it hard not to wince.

Maybe it's just me but I can't get comfortable with the idea of shouting from the rooftops what good boys and girls we are.

For those of you with your own belief system that may suggest that accumulated good works go towards your score for a place in the after life, here's a thought.

Wouldn't it be funny if you got to your non-denominational ecumenical Pearly Gates (or equivalent thereof) and found that the man with scorecard had been disallowing any good deeds that anyone else (except the recipient, of course) ever got to know about?

The wheezing noise you can hear is me sitting on my fluffy cloud, trying not to burst with laughter - and that's where you know that this was a fantasy, rather than a sermon
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 11, 2005
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