Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The death of the Office Christmas Party?

"The death of the Office Christmas Party?" on BBC News online struck a chord. The article is about how, understandably with the current recession, many companies are not having Christmas parties or if they are, getting staff to pay themselves. I do hope that those staff who wouldn't have wanted to go anyway, aren't forced to pay.

These were the comments in this article that really stood out for me:
- More people, like myself, prefer temporary contracts and do not expect, or want, to get involved with office based socialising. When I did have work I still preferred my away-from-work circles of friends, as described above.
- I'm not sad to see the end of the party, as a spouse I find that one ends up in a venue that really isn't to your taste, surrounded by people talking shop and trading office politics. Says it all, office politics was the biggest turn off for me.
- Who really wants to 'socialize' with their bosses anyway? Tomorrow I have an awkward lunch with my co-workers. Over the weekend I'll have a 'tree-trimming' party with friends, family, food and fun. No doubt which this person is clearly looking forward to a lot more.

I did try a couple of the parties when I had my last programmer's job in 1998 and 2000, ok those were paid for, but I did feel uncomfortable with some of the people at that place and I'm not one for meals out anyway, and in later years opted out. In my more recent admin work in the local public sector I was given peer pressure to go, resisted but got lots of "why aren't you going?" from my line managers and one particular person in the team at my level. There was to be a departmental lunchtime meal, a departmental ten pin bowling evening, and a big organisation-wide meal with disco, all at our own expense. Now I do enjoy bowling, and answered the line managers that I was going to that and felt it was unfair to criticise me for not joining anything when I was going, and I did enjoy it, but as for the meals that I wouldn't have enjoyed, for what I'd have paid to have gone, I went to several of the soul music dances I enjoy instead, with the better friends I have at those.

For how much I'm yearning for a job in my current unemployment, this time of year strikes me with that one thing I have not missed, the peer pressure to go to the office party and reading this article about their "death" strikes me, is that really such a bad thing anyway? The comments showed many folks aren't into socialising with their colleagues, just as I wasn't. I take the point that one person is quoted saying "The whole point of the Christmas party is saying thank you for all the things they have done throughout the year", but there are other ways of doing that anyway.

This post on the Career Surgery on Jobsite is a good read on the subject too.

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