I’ve got my work Xmas Lunch today. I woke up this morning wondering if I could get out of it.
Seeing work colleagues everyday at the office/lab/factory/kitchen/farm/whatever can be hard enough. But to have to sit through drunken antics, drunken flirting and bad table manners (!) is terrible. There’s that uncomfortable silence before the alcohol sets in, when no-one knows what to say to each other, and we don’t know how questions about life outside work will be received. Everyone’s got the fake smile plastered on, pretending they’re having fun. And heaven help you if you actually LIKE someone you work with – because seeing them drunk at the Xmas party trying it on with someone else can be earth-shattering, especially if you’ve had a few. *sigh*
It’s just too hard sometimes – and I don’t see why I have to bother trying to relate to these people. I go to work, do my job and go home – it’s not a career for me. I have a job to get money to do other stuff. That’s it.
I work in scientific research with a bunch of science geeks. Now don’t get me wrong, some of them are very nice. But they are all about the science and, since I’m not a scientist (I do all their paperwork) I’ve got no idea what they’re talking about and I spend most of the time on my own. I can spell it, but I’ve generally no idea what it is. There’s perhaps 5 people out of the 35 I work with who I would be comfortable spending an evening drinking – but we always end up on opposite ends of the table. And the other thing is that I work closely with the boss, whom most of them only see once a week at the lab meeting, so I’ve got a very different relationship with him than they do. And they’re partly scared that anything they say to me will get back to him, partly (I think) intimidated by me. Oh, they’re always very nice at work, polite and friendly, but they don’t know what to say to me out of work – and I don’t know what to say to them. I don’t know if I care about talking to them and making nice. So I talk to myself, drink lots of wine and get drunk too quickly.
And I’m continually disappointed by the food at these things. We usually go out to lunch and then move from the restaurant to a pub and carry on drinking. But the lunches have left a bit to be desired. The first time I went out with this team the restaurant forgot that 3 of us didn’t order turkey (I don’t like the stuff, too dry) and we didn’t get our meal until 40mins after everyone else. By then the vegetables (that always seem to come in big dishes to the table now, and not on your own plate – what’s that about?) were stone cold, and the whole thing was very disappointing. The following year we went to a french place – the entree was lovely, the main was cold and the desert never arrived.
Now restaurants MUST be prepared for big parties – it can’t be something that’s only done at this time of year. So I’m having trouble discovering why it’s so bad…
The other humiliation of the work Xmas Party is Secret Santa. You know, everyone pulls a name out of a hat and that’s who you buy a small present for. People try to be witty and funny with their gifts, but they really can be just plain stupid. My presents in the past have included a sheepskin photo frame, flashing lights to put in your bra and make your boobs light up (WHY??!?) and a plastic caveman’s club that had a sign stuck on it saying it was my enforcer. Is THIS how I’m seen at work? Geez…
I always end up getting the person that I have the least contact with or is new to the office, so I don’t know anything about them and have a hell of a time finding a gift.
On the whole it’s a very disappointing day, and I’d be perfectly happy not having one. I’m not a big xmas person to start with, don’t get a tree or put decorations up, generally just another day to me.
*sigh* I’m being forced to celebrate xmas….