To Tell?

I’ve mentioned on twitter that my day job is having a crazy amount of Christmas parties this year. It’s getting a little silly when you’re invited to five different parties.

The main one is a cocktail-style party that I organized with a person from the other department on my floor.

It’s at a bit of an unusual venue, but one I know well & like. We have a caterer that we know who should do a good job.

The problem is, I will end up working the entire night. Next Friday the plan is for the other organizer & I to leave work at midday & have the venue set up by 5pm. That’s fine, I actually quite enjoy the pre-function rush. It reminds me of my event management days. I love busy.


But I’ve been scared of something all along: that I will spend the night working. And last week, it came up. We had some colleagues cancel, so we revised our numbers down & asked the caterer to drop the number of serving staff that they’re providing. And the other person said what I had been dreading: “If we need to, you & I can pick up plates & serve people.”


At which point my mind was set – as soon as the function is set up, I’m leaving.


I don’t mind helping out in my day job with whatever tasks need doing. If giant pallets of stock come in I’m happy to go steer trolleys of it to the stock room. (I hate using the goods lift since it is terrifyingly unreliable but that’s another story.)


But I am 100% unwilling to work at my Christmas party. Firstly, I won’t be getting paid for it. I don’t know if that sounds petty but I don’t work for free. At all. Secondly, I don’t have that serving skill. I drop things. Regularly. I also don’t like small talk. (But that’s unrelated to serving food & more about my party aversions.)


And I just don’t want to!


My plan is to leave at 5pm when set up is complete & guests are arriving.


Normally, I would just be completely honest & tell them that I’m not a party person, so I’ll be helping out with the set up, then leaving. I don’t want to leave them presuming they’ll have assistance all night, because I don’t think that’s fair.


But this particular person doesn’t ever show me respect. I can best explain this with an example. I leave work at the same time every day. This person knows this! As I was walking out the door, she came over & started talking to me about fruit. Our jobs have nothing to do with fruit. She was ignoring my bag on my shoulder & the person I walk to the station with as we were walking out the doors & kept talking. She knew we were leaving.


So I turned my back on her & walked out the doors to the lift bay, got in a lift & went home. As soon as I was in the lift bay, she turned & asked my boss (who saw & heard the whole thing) if I was feeling ok.


Then, for the next week, she asked me every day if I was feeling ok, because apparently ignoring an irrelevant conversation & going home on time was unlike me & therefore I must be feeling unwell. I had no interest in talking to her so I just kept ignoring her and doing my work.


She is always trying to get me to do things after I leave work so she can go home early. She’s actually used me so she can go home early by lying to my face about us needing a meeting. All because she doesn’t have the guts to go home early on her own.


So if I tell her that I won’t be at the party, I will be subjected to 10 days worth of her not respecting my choice, of snide comments & straight out begging for me to attend.


Now, I think that I’ve been treated badly enough by her in the past that she deserves to have me run away at 5pm with no notice. But I also do try to be the bigger person, and being a bigger person makes me think I should just tell her and somehow force her to respect my decision.


What do I do? Be mature and tell her I will be leaving at 5pm? Or keep my sanity and drop it on her next Friday that I’m not staying for the party?

7 Replies to “To Tell?”

  1. I think you should tell SOMEONE that you’re not going, that you’ll help set up, but something has come up that night, and you can’t make it to the Christmas party. I’m sure it’ll get back to her in no time.

    1. Oh yeah, I’m not going to just run away! I’ve already told my boss about this & said that I will be leaving – he thinks I should at least stay and have a glass of wine for my efforts but I’ve said I expect I’d rather go home! (Plus I have to drive & I don’t drink at all if I have to drive.)

      1. That sounds like a good plan. Have a happy Christmas!

  2. Hmm that’s a hard one. The adult in me is saying be the bigger person and tell her straight out that you will be leaving at 5pm as you do not wish to attend the party. However I tend to lean towards what makes my life easier and dropping it on her at the last minute in this situation sounds like the best way to go. She hasn’t shown respect for your decisions and actions in the past so I can’t see this time being any different. Also it’s not up to you to pick up the slack. If more people turn up than RSVP then that is not your issue and you shouldn’t be made to become a wait staff. Even if you wanted to attend the party, it’s unfair to assume that you will want to serve people food instead of mingling and having a nice night. Hope you come to a decision.

    1. That’s the thing – I’m cranky enough at my day job for stuffing me around about contracts right now so I’m really not in the mood for someone to bug me for another 7-10 days! I’d be feeling more enthusiastic about the party if we were allowed guests, but not even partners are invited. I guess if me working the night comes up again I might say something.

  3. I’d drop it on her at the last minute. I’m a huge fan of not doing things you don’t want to do in the social sphere (I’m old enough now to realise you don’t have to go to things you don’t want to – wow!). My old standby excuse is the last-minute family crisis eg. mum needs help with something, brother needs a last-minute baby sitter or some such. One little white lie doesn’t hurt… does it?

    1. Yeah I think I’ll just set up & go. I don’t think I’ll bother with a lie, I’ll just say “Hey well I’m off for the night now, have a good time” and leave.

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