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Girlfriend made to feel uncomfortable at work

(33 Posts)
Bugeatsbread Tue 01-Nov-16 18:40:26

Looking for some opinions on a work matter regarding my gf.
Posted on dadsnet but doesn't seem to be many people there.

She works in events. The team is small, she has one line manager just for her, and there are 3 other women at her level managed by an overall manager.

They occasionally have to work away on the lead up to events, and work meals are booked at a restaurant chosen by the aforementioned managers. I should make it clear that these meals are not mandatory, in some instances they would be as they include a debriefing meeting for the day but this is not currently the case. Back at the hotel these managers usually stay drinking at the hotel bar and are usually accompanied by a couple of the other women.

Now, when the event comes around they stay away for a couple of weeks to prep, hold the event, and then breakdown.
During this prep week my gf turned down one of the evening meals, she told her line manager that she instead wanted to go and clean up and rest in her hotel room as she had been doing a particularly messy job that day.

The next day her line manager pulled her aside and asked her if she was ill, she replied she was not. She re-explained why she decided not to attend the meal.
He then said that he'd like to give her some advice, that this advice was passed down to him in his years at the organisation under the overall manager of the team. He said her work performance is excellent and she'd done a good job, that one of the women my gf works with is especially good at this ("this" referring to the point he's about to make - not the work), that he doesn't agree with it ("it" again being the point he is preparing to get to), but it's just how things are.......and then proceeded to finally get to his point: she needs to attend after-work social meals/drinks because when the director for their department visits during the actual 3 day event the only time she is going to interact with him is during late night evening drinks, and not doing so would negatively impact her career progression and promotion chances.

Any thoughts on this? Is this "just the way it is?"
Call me old fashioned but I thought career progression was based upon the excellent job you are doing, and that your direct managers would communicate this performance further up the ladder and recommend you for promotion?

This has made her feel very uncomfortable and I was looking for some opinions on this and how best she might raise the issue?

Or are we blowing this out of proportion?

WeAllHaveWings Tue 01-Nov-16 19:03:59

Sounds like he's advising her to take advantage of networking opportunities. What is she uncomfortable about?

AgentProvocateur Tue 01-Nov-16 19:06:22

I'm not sure why it makes her feel uncomfortable. TBH, networking and socialising are an integral part of a lot of jobs these days. If she doesn't enjoy it, events is maybe not the best sector for her to be working in.

MaybeDoctor Tue 01-Nov-16 19:07:37

Hmm, networking and post-work socialising is fairly normal in some industries - but everyone should have the option of taking a night off from it.

FeedMeAndTellMeImPretty Tue 01-Nov-16 19:13:23

posted on your other thread smile

coolaschmoola Tue 01-Nov-16 19:15:13

Of course she should be able to say no, but it sounds like he was trying to help, not hinder.

On paper you are right, but the truth is, 'It's not what you know, it's who you know' still has a foothold. Socialising as a team can also help to build solid working relationships.

So, whilst she has every right to say no, she may want to consider taking the advice of her line manager.

Yes passing on information about her great work will help with promotion - but if it came down to two equally capable staff members and one was seen to be a team player and had spent time speaking to the big boss at team social events, who do you think will be the stand out candidate?

EBearhug Tue 01-Nov-16 19:15:48

I think if she knew the director would be there, and it would be her only chance, then yes, it would have been a good idea to have been there. But if no one bothered filling her in on all that - well, she's not psychic, is she? And it's not unreasonable to want a rest.

Networking is important these days - it doesn't matter how good you are if no one knows you exist. Being good at your job isn't enough to progress these days, unfortunately - you do need to network and do self-promotion and make sure people know what your "profile" is.

PlumsGalore Tue 01-Nov-16 19:17:08

As the others have said, not mandatory but don't cry if the senior boss remembers the person he met on a previous evening and gives them the promotion.

Is your girlfriend uncomfortable or are you?

Bugeatsbread Tue 01-Nov-16 19:30:50

The event finishes late, around 11pm and starts early the next day. She feels that drinks in the bar afterwards should be optional, not mandatory, and not under the veiled threat of not progressing in her career if she doesn't wish to attend.
She doesn't consider it networking, she already has a professional connection with this director, he's her boss and should hear of her achievements through her line manager surely?

monkeywithacowface Tue 01-Nov-16 19:34:08

Well in an ideal world we hate how it would work but given the industry she works in I'm surprised she's surprised. Maybe it was a veiled threat or maybe it was just a heads up about the reality of the situation. Up to her if she takes the advice or not. I certainly wouldn't "address" it as an issue

monkeywithacowface Tue 01-Nov-16 19:34:43

That's how it would work not we hate how it works

HermioneWeasley Tue 01-Nov-16 19:34:55

Well, fair or unfair the reality is that spending time socialising with the director is likely to be helpful to her career

I'm surprised you're both so shocked by this

gettingtherequickly Tue 01-Nov-16 19:39:28

I wouldn't see that as a threat, it's advice to take up a networking opportunity. Certainly in an events industry I'd expect it to be part of the job.

Bugeatsbread Tue 01-Nov-16 19:40:34

Missed a few posts here sorry.

Bugeatsbread Tue 01-Nov-16 19:44:32

They have specific networking events, and she works in the office each day with this specific director, and there is only one other person with her job title.

It's the "have drinks with your boss or don't get promoted" inference that has made her uncomfortable.

WeAllHaveWings Tue 01-Nov-16 21:36:37

I think her line manager has worded it clumsily or she had interpreted it wrongly.

It's networking, pretty standard practice, especially if this is the only time she will see and get to discuss the event directly with him. It's good advice and an opportunity not to be missed.

You make the "have drinks with you boss" sound a bit leery, would she feel different if it was a female boss?

DiegeticMuch Tue 01-Nov-16 22:30:43

Sounds normal to me. So much networking is done in bars these days. At least it's not the golf course.

blueshoes Tue 01-Nov-16 23:02:26

It is not a threat. Her line manager is stating the obvious. Her manager did not have to but is actually helping your girlfriend out by pointing this out. Maybe the manager intends to progress your girlfriend's career and wants to position her with the director.

OliviaStabler Wed 02-Nov-16 07:42:24

There is no 'threat' here, just sound advice based on experience. Networking and business relationships are very important to career progression. It seems that in this company this happens at these dinners and drinks.

She feels that drinks in the bar afterwards should be optional It doesn't matter what she thinks, it is how it is in this company it seems.

In an ideal world she should not have to attend these events if she doesn't wish to. However, as a pp said, if the choice for promotion was between her and someone who does attend, the latter sounds like they would get the job.

Blankiefan Wed 02-Nov-16 09:19:57

Everyone is right. Manager was offering sage advice. I don't agree with it either but it's a reality. People work with people and those that play the game do best. I've pushed back against this and still done well in my career BUT I'd definitely have done better if I'd gone along with it. She can do what she likes - she's not obliged to go/drink/socialise but if she chooses not to, she has to accept that others will and they're likely to benefit.

Ellypoo Wed 02-Nov-16 13:47:28

I agree with everyone else.

Also, it is optional - she could choose not to go, but accept that it could impact negatively on her career.

toffeeboffin Wed 02-Nov-16 13:52:33

Part of the job, surely?

Scrumptiousbears Wed 02-Nov-16 14:04:29

I agree with the others. It's a case of get involved and get your face known. It's a fact of life those who put themselves out tend to get further than those who do not.

How do you feel about her drinking with her colleagues?

AxminsterCarpet Wed 02-Nov-16 21:15:34

I have seen this very thing happen recently with a work colleague.

Basically, the pushy one won and has just had a promotion.
Sad but true.

DragonMamma Wed 02-Nov-16 22:07:04

I agree with everybody else. Drinks are usually optional but those who get involved tend to do better in work than those who don't.

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