People who read this from time to time or who follow me on Twitter might know that occasionally I and my colleagues go out on what I usually call a ‘work jolly’. In the past they’ve been things like going to the cinema, going for lunch, or doing an activity like wine tasting. We’ve even been on a boat trip around Brighton Pier. Officially they are called Staff Social Events, and we are allowed to go on them during work time because they have some vague team-building value for the people in our office who otherwise wouldn’t interact much.
They don’t cost anything to our employer other than the time we get off for them, because we all pay £1 per week into a social fund that is then spent on the event. Yes they are really just silly work jollies, I know, but I enjoy them and they are a nice little reward in a public-sector environment where there isn’t much scope for reward generally (we don’t get bonuses or performance-based pay rises or anything like that).
Or rather, I used to enjoy them, because now they’ve been cancelled.
“Cancelled by your mean employer who doesn’t want to give you the time off any more?”, I hear you ask?
No, cancelled by my own colleagues who are so tight-fisted and anti-social that they would rather sit at their desks all day not talking to each other than pay £1 per week and go out and do something nice.
Are their colleagues so horrific that they’d rather not spend any time with them? I’d have to say no, because we all profess to get on really well. Sure we don’t generally see each other outside of work, but it’s not like we sit glaring at each other all day and plotting a Colombine-style massacre (although I might have to change that now).
So I have to put it down to meanness and apathy. Who would rather stay at work on a sunny afternoon than go and have lunch in a restaurant and walk round a museum? Who??
A while ago we had to cancel a summer party event that we normally arrange for a much larger group than our own office, because no one outside of our office seemed bothered about attending it and some people were adamantly opposed.
“Aren’t they mean?” we said. “I can’t believe they’re so apathetic, they don’t even have to do anything, just turn up! They’re all embittered old killjoys,” we said.
And now we’ve done exactly the same thing. It was only a pound a week!
Well fine, fuck em. If they enjoy our company that little then they’re right, what’s the point in the events? But I thought they were fun and they were one of the few things I looked forward to in my dreary identical days of sitting in a office with no natural light clicking ‘Send/Receive’ forlornly over and over again and wondering why no one wants to send me any work. Now the rest of my days here just stretch ahead of me and the only excitement to look forward to is the light bulb blowing on my halogen desk lamp.
I might still put aside £1 every week in the piggy bank I keep on my desk (it was a corporate promotional item, don’t judge me) and then get trashed on vodka at lunchtime every few months with the money. No one will notice I’m sure, because apparently we’re trying to minimise contact with our colleagues and create a lovely shitty environment to work in. Bastards.