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to think that having a work outing every week/two weeks is a bit excessive?

(35 Posts)
Absy Mon 15-Oct-12 09:28:53

The head of my department is really into building the team, which is nice, so initially started with putting in a team event once a quarter. So far so good, despite spending 5 days a week with my colleagues, I could handle do something every three months which was not work related (though some of them I'd prefer never to see, but you can't choose these things).

Then, it started being the occassional drinks. And then more than occassional drinks and now, last week there were drinks, there's a lunch this week, a dinner next week and so on. If you do make excuses, the boss is a bit hmm about it all and makes sarcastic comments when you do come along "oh, you decided to grace us with your presence" type of thing. Thing is as well, it's not like everyone in the team is young, free and single. At least half have children (including the boss who has a newborn) and even so, it is nice to have a life outside of work.

AIBU thinking this is way, WAY too much?

StripyShoes Mon 15-Oct-12 09:31:26

Gosh, sounds like a lot to me. It does sound like.some are in work time though so I guess it isn't like you are out a night each week?

Pascha Mon 15-Oct-12 09:31:32

WAY WAY WAY too much. I would be the one refusing more than once a month I think, because I have a life too.

VinegarTits Mon 15-Oct-12 09:31:45

yanbu - i would rather saw my own leg off than spend that much time with my work collegues

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 15-Oct-12 09:32:16

If it's not in work hours, then that's very excessive IMO.

Fine to organise nights out etc if she wants to but to then make sarcastic comments at those who chose to not go is a form of bullying and is totally inappropriate.

Team building is something that can and should happen in work hours, with just the occasional, optional social event.

lurkedtoolong Mon 15-Oct-12 09:32:36

Oh god, that sounds awful. Even if you get on brilliantly with your colleagues there's a limit. I'm all for team-building exercises of the nice meal and several bottles of wine variety, but on a quarterly basis definitely not weekly.

greenrabbits Mon 15-Oct-12 09:36:16

That sounds awful and excessive. Are you expected to pay for these outings as well?

Absy Mon 15-Oct-12 09:44:28

Thank you! I thought I was being normal. I was asking a friend about meals out at his work, and he said "oh, we've only gone out for one meal in two years" which made me think "that's my dream, that is".

Now my line manager has started making comments about me not being sociable enough. I go to the occassional thing, but honestly, I do like to spend time with other people. And yes, we're expected to pay for all these outings.

Any advice on how to deal with it? I've turned down the lunch on Weds (if asked, I'll say I have too much work on) and the dinner next wednesday as I have a class (rather than real reason of "I would rather chew my own arm off than have an awkward dinner with my team")

Poledra Mon 15-Oct-12 09:45:30

Wot Vinegartits said. I rarely go on work nights out, as it's just not my bag these days, but then, there's no 3-line whip in our place. My boss goes even less, as he lives a long distance away from work and likes to get home to see his kids in the evening!

Pascha Mon 15-Oct-12 10:11:23

Don't lie. Be straightforward and say its too much, you have many other commitments and a full life outside work and you are not often available for socialising outside work hours.

If its work related it should be within work hours or you should be reimbursed.

Pascha Mon 15-Oct-12 10:12:51

(says she who hid from the courier this morning because she didn't want a confrontation at the door for refusing to take in yet another parcel for the viles next door whilst standing in dressing gown and toast in hand)

yanbu its too much to expect people to pay and take up time outside work. I don't mind an occaisional invite but hate the xmas 'oh, lets go for expensive lunch after that meeting' and xmas meals that cost a fortune for shit food. One yes, one for every team... no.

grin pascha I have been known to do that exact same thing.

Pascha Mon 15-Oct-12 10:18:02

The Boy was bouncing around in full view on the sofa by the window though, and the radio was blaring. There was no way he thought I was out blush

dysfunctionalme Mon 15-Oct-12 10:19:48

The boss is an idiot. If he really wants to build a good team spirit he needs to quit the sarcasm and let his staff have a good work-life balance. Spending excessive time with colleagues is not a healthy way forward.

It's absurd, how can you be expected to fit all that in with children and a job? Don't they have kids?

I would second the idea of being upfront, ever so nicely explaining that you have a family and also you cannot afford it.

We have 2 social occasions a year and that is enough!

Birdsgottafly Mon 15-Oct-12 10:21:34

It sounds as though he is making excuses so he doesn't have to spend time at home, tbh.

This was a big criticism of many occupatins that were traditionally male dominated, the legal profession in particular.

Most working women with children (and now men) cannot do the socialising expected of them, to get to the 'top rungs on the ladder', when it should be judged on the person's merits whilst in the workplace.

I agree that it is to much and the comments are low level bullying.

I had to be honest with a much younger supervisor once, it's different for those who want to make friends via work, but i didn't have enough time to spend with long standing friends, or family.

I started to resent having to sit through work do's.

larrygrylls Mon 15-Oct-12 10:21:57


It is way too much and, in addition, asking you to pay for it is a real cheek.

I would ask for a private meeting with your boss and explain clearly your position. Also explain that his sarcastic remarks make you feel uncomfortable and could be deemed both to be harrassing and as indirect sexual discrimination. State clearly that you are committed to the team but have a life outside work, as well as the fact that it is unacceptable to financially tax the team. If possible, do this with a couple of allies who are in the same position as you and share your views. I am sure that several people feel the same as you.

If he continues, I would complain to HR that you feel bullied and sexually discriminated against. That should quickly put a stop to it.

Numberlock Mon 15-Oct-12 10:22:46

Never explain and never apologise.

MadBusLadyHauntsTheMetro Mon 15-Oct-12 10:23:05

The boss sounds like a knobber. Never can understand why people think team spirit is built by weekly boozing - usually the exact opposite happens and everybody bitches away because they can't really think of anything else to say, and it fosters a culture of "can't be arsed" at work.

MadBusLadyHauntsTheMetro Mon 15-Oct-12 10:26:07

I would leave off the sexual discrimination angle, personally, I don't think it really holds water. The bullying thing is quite true. It's none of his fucking business why you don't want to go out with a meal with them every single week.

If you do ask around for support, don't just ask the parents. I can't imagine all the non-parents are thrilled about being browbeaten in this way either.

larrygrylls Mon 15-Oct-12 10:29:09


The indirect sex discrimination angle does hold water in employment law and absolutely terrifies company as compensation for it is uncapped at tribunal. Personally, I am not sure it holds water in reality but it is a great negotiating tactic.

eBook Mon 15-Oct-12 10:30:09

YANBU and your boss sounds unpleasant.

HipHopOpotomus Mon 15-Oct-12 10:30:23

I spend all day with my work colleagues - it's a small team and I love them dearly.

Beyond the Christmas party (which we all voted to make a day event rather than an evening event a few years back now) we do very little together (probably nothing actually) outside of work hours. We are bonded just fine.

I have worked at very social places in the past - which is fine when I was in my 20's, but it was never compulsory.

Is your boss bored/recently separated or something? Why so desperate for all these events? Surely most people have a life outside of work hours that all this desperate "team building" interferes with? I'd be saying I'm more than happy to participate during work hours, and if they are covering the cost. Outside of that 4 x per year, inc Xmas function is more than plenty.

DP's work does something a couple of times a year. Which is fine, however he has to pay himself. He earns not much for a Londoner (certainly not a living wage), and has to pay for these functions himself - which takes up a huge chunk of his meagre disposable income, and is v unfair (everyone else earns more than him). He also has to pay about £50 at Christmas for the Xmas function - which I think outrageous!!!! When you earn sweet FA, any extra spending at Xmas should be on your family/kids not your work xmas function!

MadBusLadyHauntsTheMetro Mon 15-Oct-12 10:32:53

I'll take your word for it, Larry.

Maybe the boss is a bit desperate for approval. Is he newish/recently promoted?

HoneyDragon Mon 15-Oct-12 10:34:50

This is one of the reasons I was not entirely gutted when dh asked if I would resign to let him take a promotion. My team leader was lovely but took it as a personal affront if you didn't attend every social event hmm

When she complained I'd simply grin and say "Good Lord, is it not bad enough to work with you? I have to socialise with you now?" This worked although some junior members of the team used to sulk because they thought I was getting away with something. As opposed to simply saying "No thankyou I have other commitments".

UANBU that is an excessive amount of team bonding.

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