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Posts Tagged ‘work jolly’

  1. Christmas party #2 – now that’s more like it

    December 16, 2012 by superlative

    I had my second office Christmas party on Friday, and as I was hoping it was a complete contrast to Wednesday’s affair. It was… a proper party, basically, and people enjoyed themselves and didn’t want to leave at the earliest available opportunity.

    As previously described, the meal on Wednesday was perfectly nice, but it was just a meal, it was fairly sedate, and it ended rather forlornly at 4pm.

    Friday’s meal on the other hand had: three quizzes; festive hats (mine was a turkey); competitive Christmas-jumper-wearing; about 30 people; merriment; and post-dinner drinks that went on until 11pm. Actually it probably went on a bit later than 11pm, but by that time I felt like I’d drunk all the rum in the pub and decided I really ought to be waddling home. It was a proper Christmas do, in short, and I had a really good time.

    The meal was at a place called A Taste of Sahara – north African-type cuisine, which isn’t something I’ve really had before, and although I maybe still wouldn’t choose to go there normally, it was very nice. They were very accommodating of such a large group, and it’s bring your own booze there, so that made it nice and easy for everyone to have what they wanted to drink and it worked out really cheaply. The food was a bit heavy on the grilled meats, so it was almost like having a fancy barbecue, but everything tasted nice and I’d had so much wine that it really didn’t matter all that much.

    Then afterwards about 20 or so people went on to the pub, and it was all very sociable and merry. I’ve been working in this office for about 9 months now and I have to confess that I still didn’t really know what half the people’s names were. I did by the end of the evening though, and I think it takes something like a proper work social before you really start to get to know everyone and have more than just a colleague-level relationship with them.

    I had quite a lot to drink, but I don’t think I embarrassed myself (as far as I recall), and everyone seemed very impressed by my roast turkey hat. At least one person got absolutely train-wreck trashed, which is always quite amusing as long as it’s not you, and it meant that everyone else could drink as much as they wanted and still look fairly sober and dignified in comparison. It was one of the younger people in the office, and I actually found it very endearing as he went round everyone in the pub telling them how much he likes us all and how much he enjoys working with us. I don’t know if he might be a bit sheepish about it on Monday, but we’ve all been there when we were in our twenties and the booze creeps up on you and suddenly you realise you should have stopped drinking at least an hour ago and now it’s waaaaay too late to do anything about it. Bless.

    At one point the manager for the team I work with in that office asked me if I’d ever want to move and be part of that team properly, rather than this funny half-and-half arrangement that I do at the moment, and actually yes I do think I’d like that. I’m ready for a change now, and I think it would be good for me long term. So I’m hopeful that something along those lines might happen during 2013, but I’ll have to wait and see.

    I’m feeling ever so Christmassy now and wish that Christmas was this week rather than 9 whole days away. It’s going to be a funny week at work, because we’ve done all of our festive celebrations and now it’s just a normal week again until we finish. But at least we’re nearly there. I’ll just have to listen to All I Want For Christmas on loop between now and then to see me through.

  2. Christmas party #1 – an inauspicious beginning

    December 12, 2012 by superlative

    grumpy-cat-christmasI have been doing two jobs in two different offices since February, and that means that I get to go to two Christmas parties this year. The first one was today, and while it was fiiiiIIiiIIiine, it wasn’t great, and once again I’m a bit disappointed.

    Our Christmas parties at work always take the same format – we close the office at lunchtime, everyone gets the afternoon off, and we go into Brighton for a meal somewhere. I always have high hopes for them, and people seem to look forward to it, and there is general consensus that we will have the meal and then go on for drinks somewhere nearby afterwards. But for some reason with the office of my main job, it NEVER really happens it and always falls a bit flat.

    We went to the Chilli Pickle this year, an Indian restaurant in Jubilee Square. The food was quite nice, but rather over-priced for general Indian fare, and the service was sooooo slow. It was half empty in there, we were booked in at 12.30, and they didn’t even manage to bring us our starters for an hour. They said “oh, one of the dishes takes 20 minutes to steam”. Oh yeah? And what were the other 40 minutes was for? So that was a bit annoying, and I’d drunk most of my wine before I’d even eaten anything.

    And then it just went a bit awkward and wrong at the end. This will sound a bit ungrateful, but our meal is paid for by the university, and in the past our Dean has always bought the drinks. I’ve been to five Christmas meals with this office, and he ALWAYS does, and we are all suitably grateful and it’s terribly nice of him. And this year he just.. didn’t. He stood up at 3, said “I have to go now, I have a meeting”, left £5 for his drinks and left. And that didn’t even cover what he actually drank! So we paid for our own, which is fine, we shouldn’t expect to get them paid for, but everyone was a bit confused and it took ages to sort the money out.

    Then the restaurant decided we hadn’t arranged to pay for the food by invoice (we had), so our manager had to pay on his credit card, and it was all very awkward like it always is when you’re sorting out meal money and it never seems to add up to enough even though you feel like you’ve put about £50 in.

    And then everyone just left! We’d talked about going for drinks during the meal, but one or two people said actually no they wouldn’t come after all, and then the rest fell like dominoes and the whole thing collapsed. People have always lamed out a bit in previous years, with only a handful of us going out until maybe 6 or something and it feeling a little half hearted, but we’ve never disbanded at 4 before.

    So it was a bit of a damp squib really. I don’t know why it always happens like that – even the people in the office who have children are usually quite up for it, and have arranged childcare especially, and say things like “I’m free for the whole day and I’ve not been out for ages!” But then it stalls. My main theory is that there isn’t really anyone in our office who plays the role of that sparky, lively person who gets everyone going and makes you want to stay out. And you can’t have a social group without a person like that. I wish I could be that person – they’re always very popular – but I’m not, so I really ought just to accept that our Christmas parties are pleasant but short, and not raise my expectations too much.

    I’ve got my second party with my new office on Friday. That one is with a much larger group, and I’m told their previous parties have been complete train wrecks of booze and shots and stupidity. So that should be fun and quite a contrast anyway! I suppose we shall see.

  3. So long, disappointing gravy train

    December 10, 2010 by superlative

    Yesterday was my office Christmas lunch, where we all swan off for the afternoon to a restaurant and enjoy a three-course meal together and then don’t bother going back to work. Up until now, and somewhat unusually in my opinion, this has always been paid for by my employer, which gives the slightly bizarre situation of me getting a free meal and actually being PAID for the time it takes me to eat it.

    But alas, in these times of stringent funding for Higher Education the university has finally twigged that this is probably a rather expensive treat for its 2,500 staff, and they have pulled the rug from the funding. They tried to pull it for this year but were a bit slow off the mark, so most offices have still gone out for a meal on the understanding that it’s the last year it’s going to be paid for. I don’t mind really, because before working here I’d always just paid for my own Christmas lunch at work and never thought twice about it. The only reason it’s a bit of a shame is that they do basically nothing else here to reward staff, and so £25 a head once a year is in my opinion a fairly cheap way of thanking people for working hard. But anyway, it’s done now, and so the gravy train has chuffed off into the sunset.

    This year we went to the Seven Dials Restaurant, and had some pretty good food overall. Inevitably some people found things to complain about (how can you complain about food you’re being paid to eat??) but I almost always like the food I’m given, so I was quite happy.

    I enjoyed chicken liver parfait with fig marmalade and brioche:

    And then a GORGEOUS beef brisket with horseradish mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. The potato looks a bit like an egg here, but I can assure you it was potato.

    And then dessert was a white chocolate panna cotta with dark chocolate ice cream. The ice cream could have been slightly better presented so it didn’t look like dung, but it still tasted nice.

    I don’t think my food was as good as last year to be honest (see Yummy Tin Drummy), but lots of people hated that meal for some reason. Something about too much salt I believe, not that I could taste any salt after four glasses of wine.

    After our meal we generally go for some drinks afterwards at whatever pubs are nearby, and unfortunately it always ends up slightly disappointing (sorry anyone who works with me who is reading this, but you know the drinks this year were disappointing, it’s not just me). We’re quite a disparate group in many ways and we don’t socialise often, so it’s hard for people to get enthusiastic and excitable when we do. It also doesn’t help that our Christmas lunches are invariably on a Wednesday afternoon, and no pubs are exactly banging at 4pm on a Wednesday. So we had a couple of drinks in a near-silent pub near Brighton station, and then people started to drift off to go to the shops or pick up kids or just because they’re not particularly big drinkers anyway. People always seem to look forward to our Christmas meals, and talk it up as though it’s going to be a big night out, and I know I always have high expectations myself, but then it just kind of… tails off, once people realise it’s no longer working hours and they’re not obliged to be there.

    I think a large part of the problem is we have no one who’s really loud and really bubbly in the office. You know the kind of person – the one who’s actually a bit annoying when you’re not in the mood for it, but who will crash through any awkward silences in the pub and gee people along into having a good time whether they want to or not. We’re all a bit quieter than that, and so it doesn’t get going properly.

    I’m quite jealous of Chris and his workmates in comparison; he only started his new job two and a half months ago, and he’s already been on a raucous night out with them and they have a big party thing planned for their end of term. I think it’s nice when you have that social relationship with your colleagues, or at least with some of them, but it’s very apparent here that everyone likes each other, gets on really well, but no one particularly wants to spend any of their free time doing anything together. Apart from our Christmas meals we’ve had about two evenings out together in the three years I’ve worked here.

    But ho hum, never mind. People have other priorities I suppose, and a team of about 10 isn’t all that big for organising social functions.

    I’m not sure what’ll happen for our Christmas meal next year now. Will people be prepared to pay for their own? There was cautious talk of making it an evening affair when it was mentioned this year, but I reckon it’ll be hard to pin everyone down to an evening they’re prepared to give up for it. So we’ll have to see. And least if it were in the evening we wouldn’t end up in an empty pub with a bored-looking landlady and then find ourselves back at home by 6pm.

  4. Shall we go out and do something nice in work time? No, fuck that shit.

    June 24, 2010 by superlative

    I’m really cross.

    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.

  5. No I’m not a fucking dormouse

    March 19, 2010 by superlative

    I haven’t had much time for blogging this week, due to a combination of going out on staff jollies and actually being really busy at work. I know, me, busy, who’d have thought?
    But anyway, I had a fun time last weekend on an Alice In Wonderland night out. It was our friend Alice’s birthday, and so she had decreed that the night out would have a dressing up theme in her honour. This was fine, except that as with all these things you have to say ‘dressing up optional’ so people aren’t put off. We like dressing up though, so we thought we’d make the effort, and here was the result of our labours:

    In case you can’t tell, I am the Cheshire Cat and Chris is the Mad Hatter. Pretty obvious, no? But apparently not to the people who said “Are you the dormouse?” to me on more than one occasion. Of COURSE I wasn’t the fucking dormouse, look at my smile! So I glared at them, but this was rather undermined by the perma-happy expression painted onto me.
    Here’s another picture, complete with inflatable flamingo:

    The other girl in it isn’t dressed up, but that didn’t stop someone saying “I like your wig” (it’s her actual hair) which amused me immensely.
    Anyway, I mentioned that it was ‘dressing up optional’.
    “There will be other people dressed up won’t there?” we said.
    “Oh yes, don’t worry,” said Alice. “I’m doing face paint and everything.”
    So we get to the pub and, er, NO ONE is dressed up. And we’re stood in a normal pub, full of bemused looking staff and clientele, me in a pink and purple stripey H&M fucking cat print hoodie, and all our friends saying “Oo your costumes are great”. Where the fuck are their costumes???
    Alice is the one holding the flamingo. Can you see her face paint? It’s there, look again. She had painted a SPADE on her face. A spade from a deck of cards, not a shovel. And that was it! That’s not fucking face paint!
    So I was mortified anyway, and sat in the furthest corner of the pub where people couldn’t see me.
    A few other people turned up in costume later, and they’d made quite a bit of effort actually, but bizarrely they’d “only come out for a couple” and weren’t coming clubbing. Would you really get all dressed up in fancy dress just to come to the pub? So that was a bit odd anyway.
    I had a good night once I got going, and we moved on to the Hanbury Club for We Love Pop after a while. I have to say though, £8 to get into the Hanbury Club is ABSURD. It’s only a little out-of-the-way kooky club. So I’m not going there again if they’re going to charge that for We Love Pop. It’s never that expensive for Pop Kraft, I don’t know how they can justify it.
    Since the weekend I’ve had a fairly good week at work, but have been a bit rushed off my feet. This is good though because it makes a change from being bored.
    We went on a nice staff social/jolly on Wednesday, in the form of a lunch out at Pinocchios and then a trawl around Brighton Museum. Everyone was horrified I’d never been to the museum considering you can nearly see it from my house, and actually I’m really glad we went because it was really, really good. I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for something to do for an hour that’s free (well, voluntary donation, i.e. free).
    And now it’s Friday again and I don’t know where the week went. I might allow myself a little drinkie tonight (as you know, I hardly ever drink) as a reward for being so busy and important this week. I deserve it after all.

  6. Work Christmas do

    December 11, 2008 by superlative

    In the end there wasn’t really any drama to report from yesterday’s Christmas do. Nobody was sick, nobody was asked to leave or told they were making a scene, and Abby didn’t even do the skit she’s been preparing for the last 8 months.

    We had a nice meal though. I had tikka halloumi kebab for my starter, and then my main was potato rosti topped with spinach topped with a poached egg topped with melted cheese, which was yummy. And the dessert was doughnut straws with chocolate dipping sauce and vodka sozzled cheeries, mmmm. Plus we got a good half bottle of wine each, and it was all free! Well not free, but I’m not paying, and that amounts to the same thing.

    I also had a new and enjoyable experience at the restaurant (no I didn’t put my hand in anyone’s bra), I fed a baby for the first time:

    It’s only the second or third time I’ve even held a baby, so I was a bit unsure what to do when it came to combining holding AND feeding. I was assured though that if I just shoved the correct end of the bottle into his mouth and tipped it up a bit, he’d know what to do. Luckily for me he seemed more experienced than I was at it. I actually really liked it, and he was very good and wasn’t sick on me. And then he sat on my lap for quite a while and occasionally tried to hurl himself off sideways through general wriggling.

    While I don’t think that I’m anywhere near wanting a baby properly yet, I did enjoy having one for half an hour, and it made me think that maybe I will want one at some point. For now though I think I’m happy with occasional cuddles and feeding of other people’s babies, with the option of giving them back if they start to make unusual noises or turn green or anything. I think I’d make a good uncle for a start, and then maybe a dad in five years or so, or whenever I’m ready to give up on all the selfish aspects of my lifestyle in favour of a small pink blob wrapped in a blanket.

    Anyway, after our meal a few of us went for a couple of drinks at the pub down the road, and then people slowly trickled off until there were just four of us left. Then by 9.30 we’d had enough too, so we mooched off home WITHOUT being asked to leave, so clearly an improvement on last year.

    I was in work at 8.15 this morning, feeling fine (good old vodka, always my friend), and now I’m just dossing around waiting for our email and internet to start working properly again. It sort of works, but the internet takes 5 minutes to load any pages, and everything is just very slow and intermittent. So I am plumbing new depths of unproductivity today!

  7. Christmas Christmas Christmas

    December 9, 2008 by superlative

    I have my work Christmas lunch tomorrow, I’m quite looking forward to it. Last year it got quite messy, and I’m hoping this one will be equally entertaining.

    It’s a little dangerous I think to have the Christmas lunch on a Wednesday when lots of us have got to come in and have meetings and things on Thursday, but it also makes it quite amusing because you get to see what state everyone is in. We’re quite lucky here that the university pays for the lunch too, and we get the afternoon off to go to it. In my previous jobs although you might get the afternoon off you always had to pay for it yourself.

    I’m hoping also that the meal might get me a bit more in the Christmas mood, I’m not really feeling it yet. This is despite having put up a Christmas tree last week and having done almost all my Christmas shopping.

    Last year we had a nice meal out, and then about half of us went to the pub for a couple of drinks afterwards. Having started drinking with cocktails at 1pm though, it was inevitable that we would peak quite early, and by 8 o’clock I was flagging. This ended up being entirely fortuitous though, because about 20 minutes after I went home the rest of our group got thrown out for being ‘drunk and aggressive’. So hurrah, I was spared the ignominy of being ejected from a pub by someone half my age when it was still only early evening.

    I shall record on here any highlights of our excursion, including any instances of arrest, incontinence or emesis. We’re such a highclass bunch…

  8. A day spent up back passages, and a picture of Magenta eating

    May 15, 2008 by superlative

    Yesterday we went on one of our ‘staff development/team building outings’, which basically means we went on a jolly in work time. We went on a guided tour of Brighton’s back passages and alleyways that was about two hours of walking down lots of cool and picturesque passages that you’d never know were there, and then we had lunch in the Pavilion Gardens before getting the bus back to work. All in all we were out for about four hours, so clearly it wasn’t worth doing any work once I got back…

    I had thought the walk might be a bit boring and take us down some of the narrow bits of the Lanes that I’ve been through hundreds of times, but it wasn’t and I actually really enjoyed it. There are some amazing tiny little houses with cottage gardens tucked away in the centre of Brighton, some of which you can only get to on foot, and the tour guide had lots of stories and anecdotes about each place. God I must be getting old actually if I’m starting to enjoy guided walks… I’ll be painting watercolours and becoming a member of the National Trust next.

    It’s really good actually that we go and do things like this at work. They don’t have to arrange things like this, but they do and it makes you feel a bit more valued (and like you’ve got a way dossy job). We have previously been on a wine tasting, to the cinema, and are currently looking into arranging a boat trip from the Marina.

    For Shosh’s benefit, as she hasn’t heard of a Venus Fly Trap before, here is a picture of Magenta:

    She is currently eating three flies, and you can see that the traps at the top and on the left are sealed shut as she dissolves them with her special enzymes. I still find her fascinating and terrifying.