I’ve been trying hard to avoid the impending office Christmas Party. I’m not a social butterfly, hard as that may be to believe. I don’t enjoy small talk or making pleasantries with whatever random people I end up sitting with. Frankly, I find events like this absolutely exhausting. Staying at my desk in hopes of getting something done actually sounds far more pleasant than eating an institutional lunch and trying to chat with a room full of strangers.
In the last week, I’ve gotten a spate of emails “reminding” me how much the food has improved, how important team building is, and what a boost for office morale these occasions are. I’m getting the distinct impression that while this is a purely “voluntary” event, the expectation is that we show up, paste on a smile, and pretend to have a good time. Because I’m Mr. Go-Along-and-Get-Along, I’ll probably end up caving in.
Even though I’m almost inevitably give in to peer pressure, it’s my firm belief that mandatory fun just isn’t, especially when you get to pay for the privilege of doing something you really didn’t want to do in the first place. Something about adding insult to injury. Really, the only saving grace of these activities is that they take place during normal working hours. If it was something I was expected to do on my own time, well, I think you can imagine how that might go over.
If anyone is reading this and actually wants to improve my moral, instead of coercing me to buy $15 rubber chicken and cold vegetables, how about giving me a raise for the first time in four years… or a bonus… or even a time off award that costs exactly nothing. I can fill my own head with platitudes about how important the work is, how valued I am, and that my contribution matters. Sadly, a cash bar, awkward conversation, and a mediocre meal just don’t rank high on the list of things that motivate me to do great and wonderful things.