They’re supposed to be a good thing. They might be a periodic gathering to promote team building, or maybe it’s a token of appreciation for a job well done. My department recently had an employer hosted department happy hour, and I just flat out didn’t want to go.
It wasn’t always like this, I used to love department happy hours. Even if my employer didn’t pick up the bill. I was the guy that would walk through the aisles at work telling everyone to shut down their workstations because it was time to go be sociable. The work would still be there the next day, but happy hour could and should not wait.
Somewhere along the way, my perspective on work social events changed.
Nowadays, going to any work related social event feels like an obligation. After all, it’s an invitation from my employer. Who says, â€œNo,â€ to their employer? Who would say, â€œNoâ€ to free food and drinks? I’m the guy that always says, â€œYes.â€ I’m the guy that never turns down a request from my employer. It feels strange to turn down the invitation.
The people aren’t the problem.
I like the people I work with. I don’t even mind spending time socially with them. The problem is the timing. I give my job 100% within my cubicle walls. But when it’s time to leave, I want to go home. I have school events, church events, and things that my wife and I do together. I have this blogging thing I do at night as well. Once I walk out my office door, I’m on my own time, and work social events infringe upon my personal time.
Work social events actually cause me stress.
It’s a lot like going on vacation, honestly. In preparation to go on vacation, many times you have to work twice as hard to prepare to be gone. Accommodations need to be made to ensure things keep going while you’re not where you usually are. Then, when you return home, you have to again work twice as hard to make up for not being where you normally are, and complete tasks that didn’t get done.
I can’t remember the last time I showed up at a work social event with my heart fully into it. Many times there is a legitimate reason why I can’t attend. Sometimes I make something up so my absence is expected. Occasionally I make an appearance and then cut out early to minimize the work/life balance damage.
How about you, Clever Friends, does anyone else dislike work social events or am I the only one?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock