Author Topic: Bosses at the potluck  (Read 6523 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2014, 11:16:46 AM »
Maybe someone should send them this link, from Band of Brothers


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185906/quotes?item=qt0409384

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Coley

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #46 on: June 10, 2014, 11:38:33 AM »
Maybe someone should send them this link, from Band of Brothers


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185906/quotes?item=qt0409384

Quote
Don't ever put yourself in the position where you can take from these men.

Love it! As if coming down from the mountain every few months to eat the potluck lunch somehow puts them in the trenches with the staff.

It's good to be Queen

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2014, 11:57:30 AM »
My boss rarely participates in pot lucks in the office.  He is very likely to stop by, say hi and possibly eat a cookie from the desserts (there are always lots of desserts!) but he almost never eats with us.  He knows that if he does join us it changes the atmosphere of the lunch and he tries not to do that.  If he is planning on joining us for the lunch, he will let the organizer (usually me) know.  He doesn't contribute food, but he will give me money to buy the drinks or plates or whatever.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #48 on: June 10, 2014, 12:09:51 PM »
Morale is such a tricky issue.

Years ago, I worked for a company which put on a very elaborate Christmas party.  Filet mignon, open bar, company paid for taxis if you were too drunk to drive, professional DJ.  The company paid for everything.

Then after several years, the company started inviting certain customers to the party also: big accounts.  And staff started complaining.  It's our party.  We don't know these people.

It was still a lavish party, and we were all still invited.  But this one thing the company did for us, and we were pouting because we had to share it with strangers.
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lowspark

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2014, 12:12:09 PM »
My boss rarely participates in pot lucks in the office.  He is very likely to stop by, say hi and possibly eat a cookie from the desserts (there are always lots of desserts!) but he almost never eats with us.  He knows that if he does join us it changes the atmosphere of the lunch and he tries not to do that.  If he is planning on joining us for the lunch, he will let the organizer (usually me) know.  He doesn't contribute food, but he will give me money to buy the drinks or plates or whatever.

The bolded above is the main reason the bosses should not be attending in any capacity. They are just adding egregiousness by not bringing food, showing up without replying, jumping to the front of the line, competing for the prizes.

But the main thing that your DH should probably do is figure out a way for them to not be there at all in the first place. Sounds like you and he already know that but maybe communicating it in that way could help. The idea is for the employees to relax and having the bosses there "changes the atmosphere of the lunch".

mime

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #50 on: June 10, 2014, 12:31:59 PM »
As I read this thread, I keep thinking of the Dostoyevsky's "A Nasty Story", where the main character is a higer-ranking guy who crashes the wedding of one of his subordinates, expecting his mere presence to be an honor to all the lower people there. He imagined himself being the adored star of the show, but was instead a burden on the hosts and made all the guests uncomfortable.

I'm imagining the higher-ups in the OP with this kind of attitude. Like "my just being here is a gift to these people, so of course they want to feed meeeee and give meeee gifts and let meeee go first. They love meeee!"

In the story, eventually the guy got drunk and made a big fool of himself. At least if the big-bosses did that, you'd all have something to gossip about!


Sirius

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #51 on: June 10, 2014, 12:42:22 PM »
When I worked for the military the department where I worked was located in the command section.  So, it was protocol to invite the hospital commander, the section chief, and our section commander.  The top two usually declined, but our section commander usually attended.  Of the three that were there during my time working in this area, the first and second ones always brought something or gave money if they attended, and the last one just showed up to eat. 

However, the section commanders consisted of an older male colonel, an older female colonel, and a younger single male major who had just put on the rank.  This young major gave me the impression that he really couldn't handle the position; he wasn't very knowledgeable about the type of work we did, and didn't seem willing to learn, and in fact about the only times I saw him were for our potlucks. 

Lynn2000

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #52 on: June 10, 2014, 12:45:23 PM »
I like the idea of sending around the sign-up list as part of the invitation. That brings it home that people who attend--everyone!--are expected to contribute something.

Of course, it won't make the big bosses contribute something or even RSVP. But if they get the same invitation everyone gets, and the same updates (presumably) as the sign-up list is filled out, maybe they will get the idea that this is a certain amount of work, and that they don't have any special guest status that exempts them from contributing.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #53 on: June 10, 2014, 12:46:40 PM »
I really don't think they will. I think they consider themselves to be above the menial work of providing food.

Winterlight

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #54 on: June 10, 2014, 12:48:16 PM »
Well, I hope the bosses are getting their fill of free food, because they're costing themselves a lot of employee good will.

Yep.

I'd feel pretty resentful that we are basically a way for them to get a free lunch, when they make easily four times my salary
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Spriggy

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #55 on: June 10, 2014, 01:59:47 PM »
Something else your DH and the other mangers can consider:

1) Instead of prizes for the activities - those who bring dishes to the potluck get a raffle ticket(s) and that is how prizes are handed out.  That way even if Boss(es) attend and don't bring a dish - they can't win the prize.

2) If they still want to have activities - they can have a silly trophy (we have one in our workplace that is made of scrap materials found around the office).  It's not worth anything other than bragging rights!

mime

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #56 on: June 10, 2014, 02:16:07 PM »
I keep trying to think of a workplace setting in which the workers would respond well to the behavior of the big bosses, because I can think of cases where you invite someone into full partipation in an event even without contribution.

IMO what that would take would be a more give-and-take relationship. From the posts, it is clear that this workplace environment is no "give" and all "take". Absolutely no free lunch. No company-hosted lunch at the end of the year, no big bosses bringing in treats at the completion of projects, no 1/2-day off for bowling (or whatever). No balance to the "give and take" equation. The bosses are all about taking and no giving. When the workers actually fund their own celebration by bringing in their own food, the big bosses want to be fed, and to be fed first. Why should the workers be happy about that?

I think, since everyone is contributing their share anyway, a new suggestion to try is a 'brown-bag' event. Everyone brings their own lunch, but all other activities stay the same. Sure people will miss out on the sharing of a potluck where you get to try lots of different special recipies. *but* it would be kinda fun to see what the big bosses do-- or if they even show up if they're so clearly not getting free food.

Arila

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #57 on: June 10, 2014, 02:44:39 PM »
We had a potluck once where Boss's Boss's Boss and HIS boss showed up and had food, though they didn't bring any. I actually didn't mind, but here are the differences:
- This was an ad-hoc thing, first time, last time "just because"
- They came in pretty much after we were all done eating, and it was obvious there was LOTS extra. They also had to be encouraged several times by multiple people. They had a little of everything and complimented all of it.
- We have two major employee appreciation events, and these guys actually man the grill/serve the food at no cost to the employees.
- They know my name (*because* they try to engage with the employees)


The bosses described by Coley make my blood boil. They are taking way advantage! :(

AmethystAnne

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #58 on: June 10, 2014, 03:02:33 PM »

<snip>

I think, since everyone is contributing their share anyway, a new suggestion to try is a
'brown-bag event'.
Everyone brings their own lunch, but all other activities stay the same. Sure people will miss out on the sharing of a potluck where you get to try lots of different special recipies. *but* it would be kinda fun to see what the big bosses do-- or if they even show up if they're so clearly not getting free food.

I love this suggestion! That gets the message across without a word being spoken! And makes it so much easier for the workers, saves them time, and each person can pack whatever kind of lunch that is appealing, and no one has to stand in line and wait their turn.

Also, no casserole dishes to carry to and from work, store carefully for food safety, no dishes to clean up, etc.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 03:06:55 PM by AmethystAnne »

silvercelt

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Re: Bosses at the potluck
« Reply #59 on: June 10, 2014, 04:08:57 PM »
Yes, I think the execs in the OP are being rude. As others have said, there might be some leeway for not bringing food or RSVPing, due to their uncertain schedules, but in that case they shouldn't eat much and also shouldn't participate in activities, at least not with the expectation of winning a personal prize. I could see a big boss thinking that doing a team activity with the lower-levels might be a morale booster, but if it's more like individual bingo, I think the big boss should not participate, or maybe be the caller or something instead.

Agreed. I'm the big boss in my office (senior VP- the C level execs work in another office, so I'm it for this location).  When the managers of the staff organize potlucks, I'm invited like everyone else, and I bring something- like everyone else.  I also usually give money for the basics, like cups, plates, utensils, ice, drinks, etc.  I don't like to "take" from my employees.  As someone mentioned, I make more than them and don't feel I have a right to freeload.  If I'm joining a celebration, I'm joining in like everyone else.  If I'm not specifically invited, I don't go (but will still usually bring something for the managers to put out, and offer money).  I know being there can change the atmosphere, so I don't want to intrude if they haven't offered. 

I could be different than most bosses though.  I love the ladies (we've ended up with no men in the office, somehow- men don't seem to apply for medical billing jobs so much) in my office and want them to be happy.  Contributing to things like everyone else helps.  So do the donuts I bring them randomly. :P
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 04:11:06 PM by silvercelt »