Author Topic: Christmas Work Party  (Read 6065 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

perpetua

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2212
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2013, 01:11:44 PM »
IF you created a mandatory work party then you also created a situation in which people had to "call in sick" to the party rather then reply no to the invitation.

I agree. Your post makes it sound like you expected them to be there, rather than issued an invitation that they were free to accept or not. If you had those kind of expectations for the party then it should have been held within working hours (although perhaps that's difficult in your line of work?). Otherwise, people are free to decline if it eats into their family time, especially around the holidays.

LeveeWoman

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4207
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2013, 01:20:38 PM »
My husband is a pastor and has a small staff who we invited over to our home for a party. Saturday had been originally chosen but two couples had issues and so they chose Friday. It didn't matter to us. This is a light-hearted time of snacking, playing Christmas games, gag gifts, and real gifts. Our theme was Ugly Sweaters. Everyone RSVP to the date. But on the day of  the party, I received a phone call from my husband that one pastor said he and his wife can't come because they couldn't find a babysitter and the other couldn't come because they had to travel to their daughter's university hours away to pick her up.

First, it's not required for spouses to attend but they are included to be nice. So why wouldn't the husband attend to his work party since his wife is perfectly capable of taking care of her own children? Second, It was just odd that the second person just couldn't say we have to pick up DD that day and can't make it. We later found out that the original time for the picking up DD was the next day but that the person wanted to actually go down earlier to attend a BB game. Again, why the deception? Especially if you are posting it on FB! It's how we found out.

My husband called to ask if we should reschedule when the others could be there. I said NO!!! I'm not changing plans and the RSVPs of those who could attend the original date just to accomodate the people who chose to not honor their reply by giving them a second chance.

For a very small group of people, we had a nice time. Games helped. Yes, more people would have livened the atmosphere, but all in all, it was a nice evening with friends more than a party atmosphere.

I feel hurt and disrespected. I know I will see these people in Church tomorrow. What should I say when they either ask about it or make a comment about being so sorry they couldn't come? They could have come (at least one person from each couple - the one who works at the church).

They're his children, too.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2013, 01:36:07 PM »
I had some thoughts on this subject in a more theoretical sense since work holiday parties are coming up so much around me.  Aside from the fact that last minute cancellations are not okay absent an actual unexpected reason...

The problem here seems to be that you are mixing the rules of social etiquette with work etiquette.  For a purely social situation, I don't think most people would expect a couple to send only one person if they couldn't find an adult.  If they chose to do that, I don't think there would be an automatic expectation that the dad would come and the mom stay at home. 

In a purely work situation, There would be some expectation and a higher likelihood that the couple would consider splitting up for that night in order to make an appearance. You wouldn't expect the non-employee mother to attend, you'd expect the dad (not because he is male, but because he is the employee) if they did choose to split up. 

The conflict between this arises when you schedule something that is for work during off work hours.  You are pulling employees into the private sphere of socializing, but still applying the expectations of the workplace.  If you had invited the couples to come to a holiday work party during work hours, then yes, I'd bet the wife would have stayed with the kids if they couldn't get a sitter and the husband would have attended because it would be clear that it is mandatory.  Doing it off hours means that it isn't mandatory, so they should be able to say no.     
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 01:37:48 PM by NyaChan »

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7068
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2013, 01:43:48 PM »
   I realized I didn't answer the question ...You politely say "I'm sorry you couldn't make it."  It would still be polite to say " its too bad you found out about the conflict so soon before the party." (I really wouldn't though) 

Maybe their great employees but socially awkward , maybe they felt too much pressure to attend , maybe they resented not spending the evening with their families, maybe they tried really hard to find a babysitter and maybe the university daughter called in tears. It's fair that canceling at the last minute will effect them in some way at work maybe they will be just be thought of as just a tiny bit less reliable.  I think you planned a fun party and it seems like most people came and enjoyed themselves and you had time to bond a bit, that was your goal , right?  Calling them out even politely IMHO will just make any future social gathers  you host a DEMAND then even people who want to come could fell a little resentment;You could demand that people attend the "company" Christmas party but you can't make them like it.  So I think you should let it go.

katycoo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3855
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2013, 09:01:33 PM »
"First, it's not required for spouses to attend but they are included to be nice."

That's your first mistake. If you have this party during non-work hours and you are not paying the employee, you are required by etiquette to invite the spouse/significant other.



I disagree.  In the corporate environment I don't believe there is any obligation to invite spouses.

SamiHami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3372
  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2013, 09:44:05 PM »
"First, it's not required for spouses to attend but they are included to be nice."

That's your first mistake. If you have this party during non-work hours and you are not paying the employee, you are required by etiquette to invite the spouse/significant other.



I disagree.  In the corporate environment I don't believe there is any obligation to invite spouses.

But it is on the employee's personal time, unpaid and not taking place on company premises. It's not a corprate environment; it's a holiday party given by the employer.

As for the couple that had to pick up their daughter; we don't know why they had to pick her up. I'm guessing that if it had been a preplanned thing they wouldn't have RSVP'd yes, so I am (again) guessing that they didn't know they would have to go get her. If I am correct (a big if, I know), then they did nothing incorrect.

I actually think that company parties are a terrible idea unless it's a luncheon that occurs during working hours.There are always some who feel like they have to attend for fear of offending the boss. Honestly, the holidays are busy enough without having that sort of unspoken (and sometimes spoken) pressure added.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6797
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2013, 09:59:47 PM »
I think it's perfectly legitimate to cancel on a party because a babysitter can't be found.  And I don't think it's necessary for the male half to attend a party he had planned on going to with his wife because it's his work and she's "capable of caring for her own children."  I get that you're disappointed by the turnout, and I'm normally in favor of people doing their best to attend work events, but I also think it's ok for a guy to choose to spend an evening with his wife if that was the original plan (even if the location of that evening has to change due to child care logistics).

As for the couple that chose to pick up their daughter early and go to a BB game instead, I get how that is perceived as rude.  I hear people say all the time that you can't cancel on plans with one friend because a better offer came up.  And in most cases, I believe that to be true.  I think, though, that there are some "better offers" out there that are understandable.  For instance, if I had a chance to spend an evening with a family member I don't see much and love very much, I'm pretty sure I would cancel on a work event to do it.  Same for 'once in a lifetime opportunities'. I'm not going to make judgements about this particular "better offer" and will concede that the last minute cancellation was frustrating and likely rude.  I think though, how you react to this couple in the future, shouldn't change based on this one thing. 

What you say to them in church is this: "We had a lovely time.  Thank your for asking.  I'm so sorry that you couldn't make it."

I agree with this. I'm sure all of the staff works long hours during the holiday season and the one staff member probably didn't feel good about leaving his wife home for another night.

As the mom of a freshman college student, I also have sympathy for that couple. If DD had called up and said "Mom, instead of coming up on Saturday can you and Dad come on Friday? There's a basketball game and I thought it would be fun to go with you guys and you can meet some if my friends." I'd decide the work party is loosing out even knowing I'm making an etiquette blunder canceling out on another commitment.

I hope you smiled and wished them a merry Christmas when you saw them.

Library Dragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1556
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2013, 10:10:25 PM »
Employee "personal time" is going to vary dependent on the type of employment--Hourly vs. salary. There are many types of social events that are also business. For salaried employees it can be "see you there" and there is no off time argument.  This can include staff parties with or without spouses.

OP--I understand your frustration with last minute cancellations.  I've found that in some parishes/congregations it's easy to lose a sense of collegiality in all the needs that have to be met. Don't give up. 

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10022
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2013, 12:46:40 PM »
Babysitter- Maybe the sitter cancelled last minute and finding another one on short notice wasn't possible. I don't think that was unreasonable for having to change your RSVP.

Daughter and basketball- They were rude to cancel last minute. I'd be mildly annoyed, but let it go.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

kckgirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2939
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2013, 12:47:42 PM »
As for having to pick up the child from school several hours away; seriously? You think that one spouse should have the burden of driving several hours both ways just so the other one can come to your party? I think you are bordering on special snowflak territory with that one. Who knows why they had to go pick her up...but if it is a several hour drive and you object to both parents going to get their kid, that's just wrong, IMO.

Here's why I think she is miffed:

Second, It was just odd that the second person just couldn't say we have to pick up DD that day and can't make it. We later found out that the original time for the picking up DD was the next day but that the person wanted to actually go down earlier to attend a BB game. Again, why the deception? Especially if you are posting it on FB! It's how we found out.

She didn't say only one parent only should go pick up the DD. They said they would be there, then canceled to go to a basketball game.
Maryland

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8545
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2013, 10:53:48 PM »

The problem here seems to be that you are mixing the rules of social etiquette with work etiquette. 

...

The conflict between this arises when you schedule something that is for work during off work hours.  You are pulling employees into the private sphere of socializing, but still applying the expectations of the workplace. 

This sounds like it's definitely an issue.

The description of the party sounds purely social - playing games, gag gifts, real gifts, ugly sweater theme. But the expectations sound work related - children are not invited, employees are expected to come, leaving their spouse behind to tend to family matters if needed, and the party comes before family commitments.  And when two employees RSVP'd no, the party was rescheduled, emphasizing that attendance was important.

And one thing that happens when you schedule a work party outside of office hours, with the expectation that your employes should be there,  in the busiest social season of the year, is that you get employees who would really rather not be spending their evening with you, but feel that they have to, or risk their jobs.

The babysitting, I think, is a valid response - I'm guessing they thought they could get a babysitter, but their regular wasn't available, or fell sick. The second - technically bad etiquette, but at the end of the term I'd be pretty sympathetic to sudden scheduling conflicts involving picking up a kid at university. 

There's also the issue that if someone doesn't really want to come, they're under a fair amount of pressure to be there, and coming up with a last minute excuse could be a way around that.  If the two couples who cancelled at the last minute were the ones who originally RSVP'd no, I'd bet on that.

In the future, I think it would be better to either hold a small party in office hours, providing food and drink, or take the employees only out to lunch, or to schedule a party but not worry about rescheduling if people RSVP no, or if they have conflicts. Make it a truly optional event, and don't pressure people to be there (and when your boss is rescheduling around your attempts to RSVP no, that is pressure).


Texas Mom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3840
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2013, 12:47:26 AM »
My husband is a pastor .............

What should I say when they either ask about it or make a comment about being so sorry they couldn't come?

You are the pastor's wife & it doesn't matter that you feel disrespected or put out over a relatively minor incident.  (btw - I agree with the way you feel, you just can't let anyone in the parish know.)

If anyone says anything, you put on your best smile and say, "I'm so sorry you couldn't come.  Everyone had so much fun - we hope you'll be able to make it next year."  That's all.

Raintree

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6091
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2013, 01:41:04 AM »
It doesn't seem like RSVPing "no" was an actual option.  To hold anyone to RSVP etiquette they have to be free to RSVP "no'.  IF you created a mandatory work party then you also created a situation in which people had to "call in sick" to the party rather then reply no to the invitation.

I agree that this aspect should be examined. At this time of year, people have all kinds of other engagements and while some would love another reason to get together with people and celebrate, others start to feel overscheduled and family has to take priority. It sounds as though the polite excuse, "We can't make it that evening" would have been met with, "Well what other evening are you free?"

I once worked for a small office where the boss' wife always wanted us to get together for Sunday picnics and such. So we were each asked to mark off which weekend days in July and August that we were free, so they could pick a day we could all go. But I didn't want to commit to any weekend at all! I liked to use my precious summer weekends for outdoor pursuits and other activities. I was at a loss and I think I even posted my dilemma here on e-hell, because they basically made it impossible for me to use any polite excuse (who is going to believe, "I am booked up every weekend for the whole summer, sorry!"). So I was forced to say "yes" and then at the last minute, when it was all planned, "Oh, I'm sorry, I can't attend after all. Something (rock solid excuse) came up." Because the truth was, if the weather looked good, I liked to take off for the whole weekend on short notice for camping. To stay in town the whole weekend so I could attend an unpaid work picnic from 12-2 PM on a Sunday, sorry no.

I'm not trying to disparage the OP's party; I am sure it was a lovely time, but please avoid pressuring people by re-scheduling the whole party if they say no, and don't take it personally. Some people can only take so many social engagements before they burn out and they have to put their families first.

katycoo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3855
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2013, 08:03:26 AM »
"First, it's not required for spouses to attend but they are included to be nice."

That's your first mistake. If you have this party during non-work hours and you are not paying the employee, you are required by etiquette to invite the spouse/significant other.



I disagree.  In the corporate environment I don't believe there is any obligation to invite spouses.

But it is on the employee's personal time, unpaid and not taking place on company premises. It's not a corprate environment; it's a holiday party given by the employer.

If you are salaried (which most professionals/office workers in Australia are - being my own POV) then working and unpaid hours are much less clear.  And it IS a corporate environment in that my behaviour at the party woudl absolutely affect my employment should circumstances arise. It might be far far more casual, but you can't turn that stuff off.

I've had 4 Christmas parties at my law firm.  One has included spouses.  If I don't like that my husband isn't invited, I can always decline.  But honestly, I prefer when he's not there.  He doesn't know my colleagues.  He doesn't get the in jokes and I feel like I'm babysitting him all night, or worried that he's bored brainless when teh conversation turns shop (which it ALWAYS does with lawyers - we can't help ourselves!).

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8784
Re: Christmas Work Party
« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2013, 09:14:43 AM »
If you really want all the employees to attend the party, then you hold the party during work hours. If it's mandatory, then you have to hold the party at a time when everyone will be available.

I can see how, for a church setting, that might not be possible. But the fact is that a party outside of work hours is not going to be possible for everyone. People have commitments outside of work that they need to honor.

It's not a personal insult to you that these couples didn't attend, although it may feel that way.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn