Monday, June 30, 2008

Balancing Home and Work Life

Tonight my boss at Giant Ass Bank is having a team outing after work. The team is going out for drinks and a baseball game. I won’t be able to make it. Hollywood has her last softball game this afternoon and a team party/banquet at the swimming pool tonight. I wouldn’t miss Hollywood’s last game for anything, and getting together with the girls and their parents for some food and swimming sounds like a great time to me.

So I declined my boss’ invitation and am opting for the family thing. Like I do almost every time one of these invitations is issued. I’m always the one who declines team outings. Or, if I can make one, I only stay for one drink and then head home. (I have a long drive home from downtown! And, I’m a lightweight. More than one drink, and I should NOT be driving anywhere…)

My boss is amazing and totally cool. She responded with ‘I understand’ but also ‘you could always come late, the game doesn’t start until 7’… She won’t be upset if I don’t come. But I’ll probably get a few comments from her and my co-workers. Something along the lines of “You should’ve been there, we had a blast! So-and-so got drunk and sang You Light Up My Life on the Karaoke machine at the bar!” or “You dissed us again?! Dude! You missed out on a par-tay!!”

Sometimes that bothers me, makes me feel left out and worried that I might seem standoffish. I try to rationalize that it’s not hurting me… I'm friendly with the team - I joke and feel part of the group during work. I do my job well. I get excellent performance reviews. I’m an asset to Giant Ass Bank. Quite frankly, it surprises me that I’m the only one who seems to be more focused on family than after work get togethers. I'm surprised that I'm often the only one who can't make these after work socials.

But I do wonder if it is hurting my career chances. Have I not been promoted in four years because I’m not joining the group for drinks and laughs after work? There’s a special camaraderie that occurs during these outings, inside jokes are born, stories are shared, and talk about everything under the sun happens with the restraint of sobriety thrown by the wayside. I often feel like an outsider when the team talks about these gatherings. I don’t feel like I’m as buddy-buddy with our boss as the rest of them. Could that be hurting my chances at moving up the corporate ladder?

I guess for the moment, I don’t care if it is. I am very comfortable with my job and am not sure I'd want a promotion if it were offered to me. I know my stuff, have great flexibility and a good team to work with, and am happy. I might not be as challenged as I could be, but there’ll be time for that later. My kids are growing up and will be gone before I know it, but work will be around for a long, long time. Hollywood will move out of our home in four years. I’m not choosing co-workers over time spent with her, The Boy, and Bumblebee.

Tomorrow, I’ll hear this: “Monnik – you missed it! Toronto Co-Worker ate seventeen hot dogs at the game and didn’t even puke until the fifth inning!”

I’ll smile and say “Wow – sorry I missed it! Sounds like fun.”

But I won’t really be sorry. Because I will have spent the evening with my family and neighbors celebrating the end of a very successful (if not chaotic) softball season. And besides... look at these kids. How could I choose co-workers over them?


WebGal said...

Hehe...I'm trying to picture Toronto coworker doing that. Nope...can't picture it.

I miss the days of those Team Outings...they were fun. But I don't blame you for spending the time with your family instead and I don't think anybody on the team does (or did) either. Not everybody has the same priorities or gets the same kind of enjoyment from life.

Barbara Martin said...

You are doing the right thing, and I do this all the time: avoid firm functions if it interferes with my family.

Some of the firm functions I have been to ended up being embarrassing when I witnessed Toronto coworkers getting bombed and doing outrageous things. Some forgotten by the next day by the participants.

Its important to be with your family when they are growing up.

Travis Erwin said...

For what it's worth I think you are making the right decisions.

ALF said...

I'm so jealous that you have a job that you like and a nice boss.

Mom In Scrubs said...

I've been to a few of these, always with Hubby in tow. Last year one of my coworkers got plowed on cosmos and started feeling up they male coworkers when they would bend over to play pool or start grinding on anyone she could get close to. JeepMan hid behind me half the night.

One of my coworkers remarked to me that she'd never seen me like that, and that everyone has their "time" when they drink too much in front of their coworkers and make a total ass of themselves.

Dude, my college days are over. I made an ass of myself in college more than I like to think about. I had nothing to lose, except my pride. And maybe an undergarment or 2. No more. That's what those years are for, and they're behind me. Besides I hate hangovers.

Swishy said...

Look at those pictures! Gorgeous!!

Jenster said...

How could you choose your co-workers over those gorgeous kids, indeed!

Those Team Outings are fun, no doubt. But they can't begin to compare with spending time with the family. That's an investment in time that pays off the big dividends.

But then you already knew that. :o)

The Cundick 5 said...

I don't know how you do it, I will just call you superwoman!! I was saddened to hear about your son, I can't imagine the hurt in your heart. I am blessed that my son is healthy and well after his traumatic birth experience. If you know a talented quilter or knitter pass my post along...I can use all the help I can get!! Have a great 4th of July and keep cool in Iowa, it's topping 100 today and project throughout the weekend :o

Mama P said...

Great shots! How are you? Email me.