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Brand new employee here. Do I really have to attend staff Xmas meal?

208 replies

LuckySeventhWave · 05/12/2019 00:45

I’m new to the job, probation is 3 months. It will end just as Christmas busy sales close...

Been invited to staff Christmas meal. Small financial contribution requested towards it. We have to fill out silly questions to win awards about who we think is ‘most likely to’ whatever.

If that’s team building it’s not the place for it, at a Christmas staff meal. Better to send us off on go-kart making afternoon.

Anyway, I don’t want to go. I barely know them, they barely know me, the work is so busy that staff don’t have time to chat to eachother between customers, and we don’t get tea breaks.

It’s my day off and would mean missing the kids bedtime to drive to the next town, and not get back til gone 10 probably, then working the next morning (weekend). I won’t be able to drink if I’m driving.

But I googled and read it’s important to attend these things as it shows you’re committed to the team (and this shop is real big on being The Team), it’s an opportunity to know eachother better, and it shows commitment.

I’m very committed to this job. I like it, and I work hard then I go home. I need the job to feed my family. I don’t want to socialise with work colleagues outside of work.

How bad would it look if I didn’t go? I could pretend the kids are ill, or I can’t get a babysitter, because I’m the only one with young kids, everyone else is student age apart from manager who has older teens.
They are all live to work whilst I’m work to live.

AIBU not to go?

OP posts:
HowToStopThis9 · 05/12/2019 00:46

Just say you already have something else in the diary for that night.

frazzledasarock · 05/12/2019 00:48

Nah I’d not go.

I don’t usually go to ours I do go along to the team Xmas lunch as it’s during office hours.

I find enforced socialising with work colleagues irritating.

dellacucina · 05/12/2019 00:48

It probably will help you to feel more chatty and like more of a cohesive team in those times you can't chat, iyswim. It also may make people like you more and be more considerate of you in subtle and unquantifiable ways. I'd go if you can

ThighThighOfthigh · 05/12/2019 00:54

I think I'd be 'so sad but can't go' due to child's planned minor op - something that can't be argued with.

LuckySeventhWave · 05/12/2019 00:56


Yes that was my thinking too. Unbeknownst to them yet though, I actually have huge social anxiety ! I can do temporary and brief chat at work whilst busy working, but the thought of a sit down mean for 2-3 hours with a team who already know eachother for at least a year, and with me being the eldest by far, I think I’d do more damage than good by attending to be honest.

OP posts:
managedmis · 05/12/2019 00:58

Prior engagement as a pp said

Tbh, they'll kind of expect it anyway

LuckySeventhWave · 05/12/2019 01:05

Has anyone actually not attended one of these Xmas do’s as a new employee, and then felt a subtle shift in attitude towards you during your probation period because you didn’t go?

OP posts:
morriseysquif · 05/12/2019 01:21

They'll be so drunk they won't remember who went. Nobody will remember.

Don't sweat it.

morriseysquif · 05/12/2019 01:22

Next morning, say 'what a brilliant night' then say nothing. Seriously, been there, they will think you just left before them.

grisen · 05/12/2019 01:28

Been in my job as a manager for over 3 years, attended all of 1 staff party and wasn’t even for my usual location or country for that matter. Was awkward and I hated it, I don’t drink, I used to battle an eating disorder so foods a weird one.
As a newbie I’d suck it up, I only got away with it because I worked out of 5 locations normally so would always make sure to be at a different location for each party.
From a managers perspective: go, don’t get drunk until your managers are drunk, have fun, be nice, leave early. My company is BIG on family, and being a part of the family and trust me it does reflect badly on the staff who don’t show up to these things (based on a lot of different management group chats).
I work in a similar industry to yours.
Sorry for the horrible advise.
Although I am interested as to why you don’t think a dinner is good for team building but go carting is?
I hate it all so don’t mind me

TheNestedIf · 05/12/2019 01:42

Honestly, but kindly meant, I think your social anxiety is making you overthink this.

I was just out of my probation period, but only by about a month and a half when Christmas rolled around after I joined the company. I didn't attend the Christmas meal. Nobody took offence. I've been part of the furniture for a very, very long time now. People have got to know I'm very unlikely to attend meals out and never take it personally.

If you thank them kindly, make the excuse you have prior plans and ingratiate yourself by taking in some Christmas edibles in to share people will still see you as being all about The Team. Some of our team head out to the pub on the last day before the holiday. If you can bear half an hour or so, maybe concede to that?

ThighThighOfthigh · 05/12/2019 01:48

I think you should say little Timmy's very anxious in the evenings and you are between babysitters.

TheNestedIf · 05/12/2019 01:54

Just don't let it slip that little Timmy is 21 3/4 Grin.

IWantADifferentName · 05/12/2019 02:14

I totally understand where you are coming from. I would skip it citing a prior engagement or childcare issues and make a big deal of how much I wish I could be there the day before and the day after. Talk about it lots, make them believe you are missing out and that you recognise that fact.

Then stay at home and breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Ohpleasefuckofflove · 05/12/2019 02:17

I would go - if you want to keep the job. It’s absolutely crazy how bitchy even the biggest retail stores are. Unless they’re all genuinely, lovely nice people, you may get talked about, and it may go against you. Especially after they’ve specifically mentioned that they would like everyone to go. But if it’s going to cause mass feelings of anxiousness etc, then obviously don’t. But, you might actually enjoy yourself if you do go!

Medievalist · 05/12/2019 02:24

Would anyone really expect you to go to a works do on your day off? Surely not.

Creepster · 05/12/2019 02:49

You can do the so sorry previous commitment song and dance, or play dumb and say I'm new.
New as you are they may not even notice you didn't attend.

supersop60 · 05/12/2019 03:19

Previous engagement, but you'll try to pop along for dessert/coffee later on.

Dita73 · 05/12/2019 03:29

This is why people get fake impromptu migraines

Pixxie7 · 05/12/2019 04:29

I think you should try and go, you might find you enjoy it. I don’t know many people who enjoy these things but you say no one has time to chat this should help. Best of luck.

filka · 05/12/2019 04:48

On balance it would be better to go as there is clearly a team ethic and you are either in or out.

But if you are really determined not to go, I would say you will go, tell everyone how excited you are, but crash out at the last minute due to child illness.

JolieOBrien · 05/12/2019 04:51


Pretend you have a previous engagement you can't get out of. You can't get out of it every year unfortunately. I have to go to my husband works dinner and pay £55! I am seething because they could afford to pay for my meal if they wanted.

FergusSingsTheBlues · 05/12/2019 05:22

Youve only just started
You're in your probation period and need to get involved!

wowfudge · 05/12/2019 05:31

It's fine not to go, it really is. Whatever you do, don't come up with a crap excuse at the eleventh hour when your place can't be cancelled and still has to be paid for. Presumably you've all been invited? In which case it's an invitation, not a summons.

It could be a good opportunity to get to know people, but if it isn't convenient for you to go then don't.

thebadcop · 05/12/2019 05:36

I never go as I cannot get childcare for my severely disabled DD (and get critised for it at my annual performance review every year but not bothered). Just say you already have plans. you won't be the only one not showing up.

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