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Author Topic: Bringing a baby to a work lunch  (Read 12581 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2015, 09:41:47 AM »
First, they should seat Martha and Susie at the end corner of the table. They can have Baby Time down there.

The conspirators should sit next to them, and angle their bodies slightly to give them some privacy.

When Martha or Susie gush about the baby, other people should just go, "Hmm, yes," without looking at them--the nonverbal "I'm not really interested, but I can't just say so" cue.

Then, when it gets to be too much, anybody, somebody, should just announce, "OK, enough talking about the baby! This lunch is for Julie. Julie, tell us about the job! Where are you going on vacation. What do you think will be the hardest part."
    Or leap right in with, "hey, I saw The Lego Movie on Netflix--it wasn't as bad as I thought. Do you think it should have been nominated for an Oscar?"

Another option is to simply redefine the group. Don't have "all group" activities anymore. Just have 2/3 of the people go, and always always go on Thursday. Or, leave Susie out, which will be less hurtful since it will have evolved that it's never all everybody anymore. (This only works if they're all paying for their own food anyway.)

The other option is to say to Martha, "You know, lately it seems that all these lunches are only about the baby--the conversation about him seems to dominate. He's cute, I love kids--but we end up not really getting the team-bonding time."
   I like bopper's script, with it being an observation, not a complaint. And about the whole "let's not make the guest of honor feel sidelined." Nice!

Another option: meet for drinks after work at a bar. Bingo! no baby!
Maybe Julie should say that's what she'd prefer.

Kaypeep

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2015, 09:42:30 AM »
If no one is willing to confront the supervisor then I think what I'd do is cancel the lunch and reschedule it for drinks after work.  Because even lunch at a bar won't stop Julie from bringing that baby.  However, I think she'd think twice about bringing it to a happy hour session. 

I do think that if 2 or even 3 of the workers are on board with the no-baby at lunches rule, then they should all go together to approach the supervisor and ask her to tell Julie to plesae not bring the baby.  Cite the change of dynamic at the more recent lunches, and also cite that these are supposed to be team building lunches so any outside guests (spouses, SO's) would have the same affect of changing the dynamic.  Let her know there's already an undercurrent of resentment brewing because the baby is stealing the thunder of the GOH, and also undermining the purpose of team building.  Julie is welcome but the child is not.  I think if you go as a group to the supervisor she will have to do something. 

FauxFoodist

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2015, 09:44:47 AM »
Keep redirecting back to Julie or anything else not baby-related and be relentless (but pleasant).  If Suzy or Martha or anyone else protests they want to talk about baby, then be blunt and state, "This lunch is about Julie; if y'all want a lunch all about babies, feel free to meet for lunch at another time."

EllenS

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2015, 09:53:24 AM »
If these were client meetings, or celebrations of only work-related events like promotion or closing a big deal, then Suzy should know that bringing her baby is inappropriate. But 1) these are also celebration of personal milestones (such as birthdays and engagements) and 2) Suzy's supervisor encourages her to bring the baby.

I can't blame Suzy for thinking it's okay if her boss says it's okay/acts like it's okay. You take your tone from the boss.

If Julie doesn't want the baby there, she (or she and those who agree) needs to take it up with Martha. But, office dynamics being what they are, it's entirely possible Martha (being a huge fan of babies) will think Julie is being immature about not getting enough attention. (I'm not saying Julie is doing that, but it could come off that way to Martha). Heaven forfend anyone should use the phrase "stealing thunder." The last thing you want is for your boss to think you are stamping your foot and pouting because it's not "fair."

If Julie does take it up with the boss, she should not say anything about the baby being the center of attention.  Instead, she should focus on the fact that this is a work-related celebration (the secondment), not a social one, and she would rather the environment/discussion be work related instead of personal/social. Let the birthday child who doesn't want a baby at their birthday party, deal with that issue on their own. And good luck to them.

I think Julie's best bet to avoid having the baby there, is to have a sudden conflict on Friday and suffer the inconvenience of moving it to another day, even if it means losing a few other attendees. Better that than make a bad impression on your boss, IMO.

Arila

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2015, 10:09:25 AM »
I don't totally see Suzy as being rude bringing baby, but if the whole lunch is dominated by said baby, that's rude. If Suzy shows up with baby at the lunch, then I think it falls to Julie's co-workers to be the ones completely dominating the conversation and taking over the table with talk of Julie's accomplishment.

Martha: "Oh, baby is so cute!!"
Co-worker: Yes, he is.... Julie, tell me about your secondment...
Suzy: "Baby is rolling over now...."
Other Co-worker: "That's wonderful Suzy. Julie, tell me about your secondment....

And so on and so on.....

I agree with this.

Also, I'm not sure if it's retaliatory rudeness, but in a group of a certain size, if the conversation is dominated by two people who won't let anyone else get a word in edgewise, I think it's OK if two people at the other end of the table broke off and had their own conversation...about Julie's Secondment.

Maybe your DF can arrange where he sits and Julie and maybe other similarly minded coworkers at the opposite end from manager and baby and at least part of the party will pay attention and celebrate what they are there for.

FauxFoodist

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2015, 10:18:25 AM »
I think Julie's best bet to avoid having the baby there, is to have a sudden conflict on Friday and suffer the inconvenience of moving it to another day.

This might be best for now.  If Martha is compelling this to occur, then just cease to have gatherings on Fridays and pick a M-Th that will work with everyone's schedules.

TootsNYC

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2015, 10:20:26 AM »

Maybe your DF can arrange where he sits and Julie and maybe other similarly minded coworkers at the opposite end from manager and baby and at least part of the party will pay attention and celebrate what they are there for.

And maybe they can tell some jokes, and laugh really happily and loudly at them.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2015, 10:43:30 AM »
How about running the idea of a very adult place past Sally or Martha or both?  This opens the door for them to object to the venue ("I don't know.  That is a pretty loud sports bar.  Baby might become fussy.")  This is your cue.  Take a pause and look at Sally or Martha in some puzzlement, and then say, "I thought this lunch was for Julie.  We are supposed to be celebrating her achievement."  Oh, but, but, but, everyone loves Baby!  "Julie has done something awesome, and I don't think it is asking too much to give her an hour's attention."

Too harsh?  Or will the penny finally drop?
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lowspark

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2015, 10:45:12 AM »
It has been my experience that it can be really hard to wrest the attention away from a baby, especially if there is more than one person showering that attention. I mean it's one thing if Suzy is just talking about the baby, but if Martha is holding it and playing with it and talking to it, etc., that really can dominate everyone's attention.

In order to shift the focus, you'd really need pretty much everyone else to be on board with turning their backs on these activities and having a separate conversation.

In a group of seven, with two fawning over the baby, that leaves the five remaining to, as a group, intentionally ignore most of that. All it will take is for one or two to get sucked back in to the baby activity to derail the lunch. If Martha and Suzy are relentless in their spotlighting of the baby, it's going to be pretty hard to combat that for the entire lunch.
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EllenS

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2015, 11:14:54 AM »
It has been my experience that it can be really hard to wrest the attention away from a baby, especially if there is more than one person showering that attention. I mean it's one thing if Suzy is just talking about the baby, but if Martha is holding it and playing with it and talking to it, etc., that really can dominate everyone's attention.

In order to shift the focus, you'd really need pretty much everyone else to be on board with turning their backs on these activities and having a separate conversation.

In a group of seven, with two fawning over the baby, that leaves the five remaining to, as a group, intentionally ignore most of that. All it will take is for one or two to get sucked back in to the baby activity to derail the lunch. If Martha and Suzy are relentless in their spotlighting of the baby, it's going to be pretty hard to combat that for the entire lunch.

Well, and it's ....unseemly. I just don't see how a grown person can exhibit displeasure over this, without coming across as either a curmudgeon or a teenager. Neither of which are the impressions you want to give in a work environment.

bah12

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2015, 11:15:19 AM »
So, these aren't really work luches.  They are social lunches with a bunch of coworkers. 
And while I agree that Suzy and Martha should be congizant of paying attention to the guest of honor at these lunches, so should everyone else.  If you want to talk about an egagement or a secondment, or whatever, then do that.  If Suzy and Martha interrupt with baby talk, then change the focus back where it belongs.  Suzy has no idea that her baby isn't welcome because it seems that everyone gets sucked into the baby talk and baby oggling whenever her baby is around.

So, as for Julie's lunch on Friday... Julie is entitled to request an adult's only lunch.  This isn't a work thing.  Suzy, Martha, Julie and everyone else aren't getting paid for their time at luch.  So, Julie should bite the bullet and talk to Martha and say "I'm picturing the lunch a certain way and I would love Suzy to be there if she can, but prefer her baby not be there."  She can say this directly to Suzy.  She can say this to Martha as the supervisor.  But, someone needs to specifically let Suzy know that the lunch is strictly adults only.  Yes, you can change the date back to Thursday to avoid the tough conversation and that would solve the problem this time, but if there's a general agreement among coworkers that these lunches not include children (and no one else brings their children), then someone needs to tell Suzy.

FauxFoodist

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2015, 01:40:24 PM »
So, these aren't really work luches.  They are social lunches with a bunch of coworkers. 
And while I agree that Suzy and Martha should be congizant of paying attention to the guest of honor at these lunches, so should everyone else.  If you want to talk about an egagement or a secondment, or whatever, then do that.  If Suzy and Martha interrupt with baby talk, then change the focus back where it belongs.  Suzy has no idea that her baby isn't welcome because it seems that everyone gets sucked into the baby talk and baby oggling whenever her baby is around.

So, as for Julie's lunch on Friday... Julie is entitled to request an adult's only lunch.  This isn't a work thing.  Suzy, Martha, Julie and everyone else aren't getting paid for their time at luch.  So, Julie should bite the bullet and talk to Martha and say "I'm picturing the lunch a certain way and I would love Suzy to be there if she can, but prefer her baby not be there."  She can say this directly to Suzy.  She can say this to Martha as the supervisor.  But, someone needs to specifically let Suzy know that the lunch is strictly adults only.  Yes, you can change the date back to Thursday to avoid the tough conversation and that would solve the problem this time, but if there's a general agreement among coworkers that these lunches not include children (and no one else brings their children), then someone needs to tell Suzy.

Sounds like no one wants to be the one to "bell the cat."  I can understand this.  I've played the bad guy (although, in my case, I had no issue being the bearer of the bad news as I sure didn't care if the recipient thought poorly of me as a result -- given the recipients were always SS, I really didn't have a problem calling them out on what they were doing).

QueenfaninCA

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2015, 02:01:54 PM »
I would just make sure that Suzie and Martha sit together at one end of the table. That should allow the rest of the group to have a non-bay  conversation. In my experience with five or more tables it is extremely rare that there is only on conversation going on at any given point in time.

YummyMummy66

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2015, 03:31:45 PM »
Bean dip every time baby is mentioned. 

Baby walking?  Oh, that must be nice, "Fred, what did you think of blank?"

Mary, is baby just adorable?  "Yep, each and every work lunch, hey what do you think about those Red Sox?"

Do you want to hold baby?  "Thank you, no, I am enjoying my work lunch for the celebration of....I prefer to take this time for her celebration". 

Or someone can be the designated speaker and go to Mary and discuss how everyone would really like these lunches to be work lunches as they were before. 

Or you could all start bringing your kids and see how soon Mary puts a stop to kids coming!

Raintree

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Re: Bringing a baby to a work lunch
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2015, 01:49:34 AM »
No idea what I'd do. Some people with babies get very offended at the idea that other people still want to have adult events. Now a precedent has been set and Julie has no reason to suspect that not everyone is thrilled with her bringing the baby.