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Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:00 PM

 

Issue: Forced "Fun" or Socializing at Work

I was just wondering if anyone else here has an issue in the workplace with a culture that tries to make everyone who works on a team (I work in a very large corporation, but on a smaller specific team within it) join in regular social activities and "bond" as teammates.

This is something that is encouraged in the company at large, but especially so on my team, which tends to skew young (20's to 30's). There are maybe 25% percent of us who are in our 40's and 50's, and I don't think anyone is in their 60's yet.

Anyway, they are constantly setting up Happy Hours, Trivia Nights (in which certain hyper-competitive people dominate), Lunch Walks (even though most of us aren't back in the office yet), Golf Outings (at least half of us aren't golfers), and other social events that tend to revolve around partying and group socializing.

My problem is that I am very much an introvert and while I get along with mostly everyone (especially the older people), I really have no interest in merging my social life with my work life. During lock-down, many of these events were virtual and I would attend some of them, but now they are becoming more physical and I don't really care to be involved at all. The problem is that I am afraid I am going to be seen as someone who isn't a "Team Player".

There are a few other people who rarely join in these events (mostly the older people), but they have families, live out in the suburbs, etc. However, I am single and live right in the city so I don't feel like I have a good excuse other than "doctor's appointments" but I can't keep using that one over and over.

Anyway, just wondering what your experiences are with this where you work or worked and if you have any sage advice. Thanks in advance!

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Reply Issue: Forced "Fun" or Socializing at Work (Original post)
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 OP
Hugh_Lebowski Jun 2021 #1
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #4
MerryHolidays Jun 2021 #2
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #10
SheltieLover Jun 2021 #13
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #29
SheltieLover Jun 2021 #31
MerryHolidays Jun 2021 #28
LakeArenal Jun 2021 #3
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #12
LakeArenal Jun 2021 #38
cbabe Jun 2021 #5
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #14
SheltieLover Jun 2021 #15
hibbing Jun 2021 #43
Blue Owl Jun 2021 #6
Hugh_Lebowski Jun 2021 #9
Blue Owl Jun 2021 #11
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #16
SheltieLover Jun 2021 #17
luckone Jun 2021 #7
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #19
luckone Jun 2021 #26
LakeArenal Jun 2021 #39
wcmagumba Jun 2021 #8
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #21
wcmagumba Jun 2021 #30
CousinIT Jun 2021 #18
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #22
Aristus Jun 2021 #20
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #23
TomDaisy Jun 2021 #24
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #32
TomDaisy Jun 2021 #35
rurallib Jun 2021 #25
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #34
sanatanadharma Jun 2021 #27
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #36
sanatanadharma Jun 2021 #45
Wounded Bear Jun 2021 #33
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #40
Freddie Jun 2021 #37
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #41
hibbing Jun 2021 #42
smirkymonkey Jun 2021 #44

Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:11 PM

1. Ultimately businesses care about the quality of your work and more importantly

whether you provide them with a profitable service.

So in the end, even if some manager gets grumpy about you never being their for their little team-building exercises, as long as you're enough of a team player when it comes to the work work, and you are profitable to ownership, they're not going to let you go over it.

If they did so over your not going to these things, you might be able to sue them, because I don't think it's legal to fire someone over not showing up to unpaid/off-hours get-togethers.

We have these kinds of things at my office sometimes as well (or ... did), and there's some employees that really never join in to any of them. Everyone just kinda accepts that these people don't care to join in the social stuff, and don't think much of it. We all know they're introverts cause they're like this at work too. No biggie, at least not at my place.

But then again, my ownership/office is freaking cool.

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:19 PM

4. Thank you! I am hoping that people understand that about me.

 

I am very agreeable and pleasant with my co-workers so it's not like I have a general attitude problem. I just don't like to go to bars/clubs, events where people are standing around drinking and all talking over one another and vying for attention, which is always what it's like. Someone quiet like me can't get a word in edgewise.

And a majority of the people on the team are sales people so they are very extroverted and like to be the center of attention. Only about a quarter of us are multi-functionals (marketing, finance, A&I, IT, PS, etc.) so it's not really my type of crowd.

I have been going out more with my own "real life" friends for coffee, dinner, lunch, etc. and have been enjoying it, so I'm not a total hermit, but I just want to pick and choose who I socialize with and not be forced into it.

Thanks again for your feedback!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:15 PM

2. I know exactly how you feel

The amount of time and money spent on "team building" exercises over my career was just shocking. I viewed it as a huge waste of time climbing on ropes, falling backwards into the arms of colleagues, running around in our socks, etc, to show how some simple game demonstrates trust and how to work better as a team.

The thing is, I am a complete team player. I know I can't do it myself. Working collectively and cohesively is the way to go. I think a strong manager (and I'm to the point where I am senior enough to be a team leader) can make sure this happens. Silly games don't.

If I were you, I would attend the ones you must go to, and then every now and then, a few optional ones. I found trivia nights fun, and if it's a happy hour, I fly in and out. It's superficial, I know, but face time was important.

I do wonder, though, how much of this we will see post-pandemic.

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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:28 PM

10. Thank you! That's another thing. The huge amounts of money we spend on it,

 

especially the happy hours. One thing I have noticed about the younger people is that they love to spend the company's money and are extremely extravagant.

I am also a team player, when it comes to things that are actually about work. I try to make the occassional obligatory showing (Lunch & Learns, work hour online tea/coffee breaks, etc.)

But when the workday is done I have no interest in spending more time with my work colleages in a group setting. I find small talk excruciating and hate the bar scene and flitting from person to person. Just not my thing.

I wonder if we will have a resurgence of one of the new variants of the virus now that things are opening back up again. I am also very cautious about being in crowds until we are sure that this Covid situation is really under control, which I don't think it is.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:33 PM

13. Use delta variant as reason?

I hope the experts are wrong, but they are predicting tough going with this one.

Pls read #34 here:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=15541786



Personally, I still dont't ever eat in restaurants.

Vaccines are a miracle, but they are only 94% effective, and there are breakthrough infections.

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #13)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:11 PM

29. I have been using that until things really started opening up.

 

They were getting together in bars before we (MA) was officially opened and we're not even back in the office yet. They said "everyone will be wearing a mask". Oh right, people will be eating and drinking so they are not going to be keeping those masks on for long.

Also, a lot of them are young and I don't think they take this very seriously, so I really don't trust them.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #29)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:16 PM

31. Oh hell no!

I wouldn't trust them either.

The fact that things are reopening is all the more reason to not participate, imo.

More chance for mutations & infections.

But I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Pls read #34 here:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=15541193

And this:

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=15542920

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:10 PM

28. I think the pandemic has made many companies realize how much money they waste

on unnecessary travel, offsites (which I despise), social outings etc. I'm like you: I participate in things during the workday, but I am very frugal with attending stuff outside of work hours.

I also agree: we are far from finished with the pandemic, and that's why I personally don't see things rising to pre-pandemic levels. Certainly, there will always be business travel, but I think everyone is going to think twice about traveling for meetings (short or long) when a videoconference achieves the same thing, purely from a time-saving perspective. I have done so many trips where I would have to get up at 3am to catch a 6am flight for a one-hour meeting at 11am, and then reverse the process to go home. 90% of the time, it as totally unnecessary when a videoconference could achieve the same.

Plus, companies saved loads of money by not doing these things the past 1.5 years. I can't see them going back to spending at pre-pandemic levels. Sure, there will be in-person events, but I am assuming for the next few years, it won't be anything like it was.

And even online, it would be a bit insane. I would attend advisory board meetings, which would then be followed by a "social" or "happy" hour. I attend the board meetings and sign off when it comes to drinking a glass of wine online! That's a bit nuts.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:15 PM

3. My Republican boss had required parties for EVERY holiday.

His way of controlling us and separating family on 4th of July, Memorial Day. Like that. We had no kids so he was extra expectant of us. I hated all of them.
Always ended with a trump-like....
ďWe are here because Iím such a caring and generous boss. Tomorrow back to work.Ē

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:29 PM

12. What a nightmare!

 

How did you deal with it? It's like a cult. They want you to see THEM as your family and your greatest loyalty and everyone else in your life as secondary. It's pretty creepy when you think about it.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:30 PM

38. I really didn't. I went from employee of the year to fired in three years.

I was the first to be politically fired in the Bush mortgage crash.
In Sept I got a $4000 performance bonus and in Nov 2008 I was fired due to ďcut backsĒ and ďreorganizationĒ due to the recession.

Also the bonus was supposed to be in August but because they planned on firing me they avoided paying me until I demanded it. I didnít know their plans at the time.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:20 PM

5. Quiet: the power of introverts

in a world that can't stop talking by Susan Cain.

Highly recommended. Physiology, genetics, family dynamics.

Strategies to survive hyper work world

I cringed watching children bring forced into group work. Wondering what ever happened to imaginations.

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Response to cbabe (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:34 PM

14. Oh, yes. I did read that a few years ago and really liked it.

 

I read a lot of things on introversion and I am now convinced that there is nothing really wrong with me.

I am just a very normal introvert. However, the world of extroverts haven't quite caught up with that concept yet. They still think there is something wrong with you.

BTW, thanks for your response and welcome to DU!

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Response to cbabe (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:36 PM

15. Welcome to DU, Cbabe!

Interesting! I'll definitely check it out. Thx for posting.

I always hated group projects in school. Work environment is different, of course.

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Response to cbabe (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 04:02 PM

43. Fantastic book n/t

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:20 PM

6. I was told there'd be cake

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Response to Blue Owl (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:25 PM

9. The ratio of cake to people ...

Milton! Just pass!

The inspirational sign 'Is This Good for The Company?' is so classic.

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:28 PM

11. That's the last straw...




Oh, and don't forget next Friday is Hawaiian Shirt Day!



Classic indeed...

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Response to Blue Owl (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:36 PM

16. "Don't take my stapler!"

 

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Response to Blue Owl (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:37 PM

17. Lol

Poor Milton.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:21 PM

7. Just say no . I don't think anyone will think anything of it . I mostly say no but I'm well liked..

well so Iím told, and I get good reviews . I have my work friends but group stuff like that is very rare for me
What I actually dislike is work enviroments where not everyone is invited
it must feel bad to not get an invite whether one would even attend or not
Iím sure your group is just being good guys and opening the invitation to all and saying no is nothing more than fact .
Team playing at work is the important part .
Hot shots, disruptors, the lame and backstabbers no one cares if they golf if they are not team players at work imo

Side note one time a boss i had in the past paid everybody to go on an after work outing I did not like that because then it felt like you could not say no
I had better things to do but did feel at the time it would look bad and went 🤪

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Response to luckone (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:40 PM

19. Thanks for your feedback!

 

I am not entirely clueless, even though I am very introverted. I get good reviews and I think most people understand that I am just not the most social person in the world. I do pick a few events and attend them, but we just have far too many.

And especially when they are not during work hours, I really don't want to spend my personal time socializing with work people because all they do is talk about work. Not fun!

Like everything, it's a balance. But it's stressful to me and I over-think everything.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:02 PM

26. I always feel like they won't miss me and I think I'm right . Just do you- they may be a group who

appreciate the camaraderie and friendship is lacking elsewhere in their life . Let them do their thing too but donít worry you are being branded anymore then those who attend every event !
There are folks who go to golf events that donít golf they help out whatever that means I think they just want the company and that is fine and good
I donít make excuses. I just say ď sorry no but thank you for inviting me ď
Once in awhile I get oh címon luckone why donít you meet us . Then I say maybe some other time
Which is true . Occasionally , blue moon , they do something that intrigues me enough to join them and I have a good time .

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:32 PM

39. "Talk about work" or the ones that aren't there.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:22 PM

8. A couple of years back I took a part time supplimental position at a call center...

I had done a small bit of this time of work before and didn't particularly like it but this was for a company managing signups and general assistance with the ACA program running in another state (not sure why they weren't employing people in that state, but another story) so I thought it might be ok for some extra income. Well, not...managers were overbearing and semi abusive and mostly jerks, the "training" partner they assigned me to was rude and totally ran the company down, I saw some of the things she mentioned happening...at the end of the three week training period they handed out and insisted we apply those temporary tattoos with the company logo in large letters, said it was voluntary for a group pic...I opted out and was left alone for a bit but soon other workers and supervisors made comments...I did not stay with them after that...also, that training partner I mentioned took one call I was listening on with a women in tears about not being able to get the ACA for some reason and she had a child with some sort of bad illness...Very sad, the partner was extremely rude and unsympathetic to the lady and basically told her she would have to call someone else (without saying who) and hung up on her...just wow...I definitely did not want to be a part of that "team"....

This may not totally fit with the OP but I have been wanting to vent about this even though it was three years back...humbly request forgiveness...

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Response to wcmagumba (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:44 PM

21. Oh no, that's horrible.

 

What an awful situation! I am sorry you had to suffer through that experience. I almost feel guilty for complaining about free food and drinks, which is really a first-world problem. I know. Kind of whiny, but sometimes I just want to be left alone.

They sound like horrible people and I am glad you got out of there. No forgiveness needed! I hope you are now in a much better situation!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #21)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:12 PM

30. Thanks, I am doing fine, fixed income SS retired...

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:37 PM

18. I dislike that sort of stuff. And being vegan eating out is just OUT.

I carefully control my diet for multiple reasons and there is LESS THAN ZERO sympathy for that.

I go to a bare minimum of these forced things just so they can't say I never go. (one or two a year at most). The rest I just bow out of. Family issues, pets, whatever. And it's never a lie - I do have better things to do with MY time.

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Response to CousinIT (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:47 PM

22. I agree! And it's rude that they don't accommodate your dietary requirements.

 

I am also on our culture team and my pillar is Onboarding/Offboarding and I always make sure to see if new hires have any food intolerances/eating restrictions, etc.

So whenever we have something catered or go out to eat, we always make sure that there is something for the vegans, vegetarians, gluten free people on the team. That is one good thing, we always try to make sure everyone is taken care of.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:41 PM

20. We had something similar when I was in the Army.

Once or twice a month, they would give us Thursday afternoons off for "family time". Those with families got to go home early. Those of us without families were encouraged to do bonding things together, like go bowling or something.

We called it "mandatory fun."

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Response to Aristus (Reply #20)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:50 PM

23. Ahhh! Yes! Forced fun!

 

Way to discriminate against people without families. Maybe we would like our private time to catch up on things as well.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:50 PM

24. I am the exact same way

If I have extra minutes, I want those minutes to be spent at home with my family or doing things of my own choosing. Anything that eats into the work day, forces the work day to be longer, and reduces my cherished home time is something I very much resent.

And because this is my attitude, I got called a "loner" on my performance review.

Loner.

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Response to TomDaisy (Reply #24)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:21 PM

32. Yep, I am kind of expecting a mention of that in my mid-year review which

 

is this week. The thing is that our company is so big on "diversity" but it seems like tolerance for different personality types or introverts isn't included in that and I hope to make it an issue this year.

We have our strong points and they should learn to appreciate us.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #32)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:27 PM

35. schmoozing is not and never will be my thing

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 02:53 PM

25. I was like you in my working days

If the activity wa outside of work hours I would usually decline to be with my family. If it was during work times I would rather be working because my workload would just build up for what I often saw as activities that bore little fruit.

I was always considered not to be a team player and was talked with a few times. What really pissed me off was that as a stockholder in the company I felt they were wasting my money on games etc.

Always thought they could do better just by giving each employee some individual attention. But that was never pushed in the business magazines.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #25)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:26 PM

34. Totally agree. A lot of this stuff just seems like a waste of time and money.

 

Let people get together on their own if they want to. At my first job at a large private company, those of us who wanted to go out and socialize after work did so, while the older people went home (I was much more social in my 20's and 30's).

But it was never forced as a "group" activity. We would have a holiday lunch or a big Christmas party at the end of the year and maybe a summer boat party or something, but that was it.

Currently, we have at least one activity per week and sometimes 2 or 3. It's just way too much. Also, during the day, I would rather get my work done that sit for an hour having lunch with people who are either talking shop or discussing reality TV or other pop culture things that I have no interest in.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:03 PM

27. Thank you, however my Religion requires a hermitage lifestyle

I am guided by my Religion
A minimalist life in quiet, alone

At work, for work, we are we
Independently you all can still be we
Simply without the me who continues to be "I"

We all have varied interests and desires
I am teeming with ideas certain to bore you


Religious rights create freedom
Use it Liberally


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Response to sanatanadharma (Reply #27)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:30 PM

36. I am not religious, but I am sure we would see eye to eye on certain spiritual

 

concepts. I am sure your ideas wouldn't bore me. If you lean toward a more eastern philosophy, which is what I am picking up from your post.

If I had a spiritual cannon, it would be the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #36)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 04:11 PM

45. But of course, the New England Transcendentalists

The Transcendentalists were drawn to the Bhagavad Gita and other ancient Vedic teachings from India.

Can 'One I' see i to i?

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:22 PM

33. I came to think that all too often, such things are offered in lieu of things like raises...

and improvements to the workplace environment. Spend a few hundred bucks for a "team BBQ" rather than upgrading that shitty rest room, or handing out some half dollar raises.

Guess I'm a cynical bastard.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #33)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:34 PM

40. I completely agree.

 

There are certain people on the team who are charged with "Team Building" and they occasionally send out packages to all of us that will cost $50-75 per person that is just a bunch of junk - sweatshirts, t-shirts, baseball caps, mugs, other crap all with logos on them, which if you have worked at this company long enough you have all of this stuff coming out of your ass - way too much! I would rather just have the money or a gift card.

One good thing we got was a Patagonia windbreaker and a Patagonia half-zip, but that was when we had better people on the team who were more practical. Now we have these 20-somethings in charge who are all Rah-Rah cheerleader types and who just want to flood everyone with as much corporate junk as possible.

Ugh, sorry. I guess I am as cynical as you are!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:30 PM

37. Hated this kind of thing

And participated as little as humanly possible.
Except for a couple co-workers who actually became friends (and are still friends now that Iím retired) - I see these people 8 hours a day why would I want to see them even more??
DHís company has a 1x/year awards dinner in January a couple weeks after the holidays. A real nice buffet meal and plenty of alcohol (itís at a Sheraton so the serious drinkers can get a room). Watching the owner of the company get plastered once a year is kinda fun but more often would be tedious.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #37)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 03:38 PM

41. Yes, there were a few people that I was actually friends with, but they have left the company or

 

retired and nobody has really replaced them because they keep hiring really young people that I have nothing in common with.

I know it's a sweeping generalization, and it's not all 20-30 somethings, but I happen to find a lot of young corporate people very annoying, entitled, irresponsible, and they have these know-it-all arrogant attitudes. I do NOT want to hang out with people like this.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 04:00 PM

42. I avoid them as much as I can

Luckily, we don't have stuff outside of work hours. I too want my work life separate from my personal life.

Peace

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Response to hibbing (Reply #42)

Sat Jun 19, 2021, 04:07 PM

44. Thanks, hibbing!

 

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