Author Topic: Annual Corporate Family Picnic  (Read 9227 times)

OSUBearCub

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Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« on: November 05, 2014, 08:50:42 AM »
Ok, so Global Mega Corp Inc is having the annual family picnic this weekend.  I'm single, no kids, and too big to play in the bounce-house.

In the past, I've not really had much networking or elbow rubbing success with the big wigs because I don't have any adorable small humans to break the ice.

Question - do I skip it this year or do I go for the free meal?  If I go, what's the best strategy to create a positive impact on my career?  (Or to word it differently, what benefit is everyone else getting out of this type of event that I just don't understand?)

MayDay

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 09:18:07 AM »
My family's benefit is free meal plus two hours entertainment for the kids, doing things we wouldn't otherwise pay for.

There is little to no networking, etc, at my H's family picnic.

Louisville

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 09:42:02 AM »
Maybe you could regard it as something nice the company does for it's employees, rather than as a networking opportunity (unless you really want to be). Just go and spend a little time with the people you already know and work with. Loosen up.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 11:05:17 AM »
Maybe you could regard it as something nice the company does for it's employees, rather than as a networking opportunity (unless you really want to be). Just go and spend a little time with the people you already know and work with. Loosen up.

I found my way to ERE and Mustachianism for a reason.  I'm not overly fond of my colleagues. lol  Also, corporate culture around here indicates that I'm missing something.  No one does anything nor is anything generally offered purely for fun. :-)

VirginiaBob

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2014, 11:12:07 AM »
I go to our annual picnic, but only because it is paid and during working hours.  I can't see going on a weekend or holiday.  I already spend all week with my coworkers - isn't that enough?.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 11:26:24 AM »
(Or to word it differently, what benefit is everyone else getting out of this type of event that I just don't understand?)
I only go to these types of events if they have free booze.  Otherwise, I see no benefit in going.

mm1970

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 11:29:38 AM »
Ha! we haven't had one in a few years, and I miss them (but I have kids).

We do, however, have big holiday parties with way too much booze.  Which...no thanks.

Go, get a free meal, meet some families, maybe you'll find people you click with.  You never know.

Trede

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2014, 11:37:42 AM »
For me, the corporate events have no social upside, and the career upside is more about making sure to avoid a downside.  That is, there's rarely (for my company) a direct networking effect at the actual event ("Hey, Trede, love the outfit, by the way, I've got this opportunity opening up in my department...").  However, people notice who was there and who wasn't, and that can be morphed into who's "on the team" vs. not.  Corporate family spirit and all that.  If you are looking to get promoted, being seen as "on the team" is a good thing, as management may look to promote the more committed or those who are fitting in.

What to do really depends on what your company's culture is like and what your goals are. 

DeepEllumStache

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 11:43:02 AM »
Is it unofficially detrimental to your work reputation to not go? 

If so, show up for the free meal and chat with a few people you know before making a quiet exit.   Typically there's at least one or two people I enjoy catching up with or really want to meet their spouse (either to understand the stories the coworker tells better or the general curiosity factor).  Showing up gives you credit as "joining the group" and you can mention that you met said coworker's spouse or enjoyed the meal.  If you combine the event with some errands or meeting up with some non work friends in the area, you have a built in excuse to leave early.

If it's not an event that missing it would negatively impact your work reputation/raise/career and you don't care about the event, don't bother.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2014, 11:52:21 AM »
For me, the corporate events have no social upside, and the career upside is more about making sure to avoid a downside.  That is, there's rarely (for my company) a direct networking effect at the actual event ("Hey, Trede, love the outfit, by the way, I've got this opportunity opening up in my department...").  However, people notice who was there and who wasn't, and that can be morphed into who's "on the team" vs. not.  Corporate family spirit and all that.  If you are looking to get promoted, being seen as "on the team" is a good thing, as management may look to promote the more committed or those who are fitting in.

What to do really depends on what your company's culture is like and what your goals are.

You're describing my situation.  Giving me something to think about.  But, I'm already - for a number of reasons - outside the boy's club here at work.  This might just be a waste of a good Saturday.


If so, show up for the free meal and chat with a few people you know before making a quiet exit.   Typically there's at least one or two people I enjoy catching up with or really want to meet their spouse (either to understand the stories the coworker tells better or the general curiosity factor).

I essentially work in sales.  I'm curious but it would most likely end up with me biting my tongue a lot when the conversation turns to new cars, golf memberships, and McMansions. 

I think it's neutral if I go or don't go.  I'd just rather know the secret handshake to make these events productive instead of a giant time-suck.

chasesfish

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2014, 12:01:49 PM »
Go, enjoy the free meal, and hang out with the friends you have at work.  This isn't a place to brown nose, I'm sure others are already lined up to do that

Bob W

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2014, 12:06:09 PM »
What else would you be doing with that time?   I find that when the boss invites you to attend a function that one should attend.

You could even make it fun by being the life of the kids party --- One of my friends seems to turn into "Uncle Jim"  everytime kids are around.  The women think he is a great guy for this.

So you could bring something fun for the kiddos such as a case of silly string.   

You should go man. 

Eric

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2014, 12:22:56 PM »
It's on a Saturday?  Fuck that shit.

(you can probably tell I'm not the ambitious corporate ladder climber type)

FarmerPete

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2014, 12:31:19 PM »
If you're conflicted enough to create a post on a forum to be answered by strangers, you should go.  Obviously you think there is some importance to it.  It's one day a year.  You don't need to linger.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2014, 12:46:40 PM »
It's on a Saturday?  Fuck that shit.

(you can probably tell I'm not the ambitious corporate ladder climber type)
My thoughts exactly.  They'd have to have a lot of free booze for me to give up part of my weekend ;).

OSUBearCub

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 01:03:34 PM »
What else would you be doing with that time?   I find that when the boss invites you to attend a function that one should attend.

So you could bring something fun for the kiddos such as a case of silly string.   

I was invited via his secretary...via a doodle poll (www.doodle.com).

Silly string would be AWESOME.  I wonder how I can sneak it past the helicopter (s)mothers? >:-)

DeepEllumStache

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 01:05:46 PM »
What's the percentage of employees who go?  If 75%+ goes and you don't have a good excuse to skip, then go.  If only 20% go, then skip.

Kansas Beachbum

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2014, 01:06:24 PM »
OMG, I'd rather eat a bug than go to one of those damn things.  At least at the ones I've been required to attend there was always an open bar.

Luck12

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2014, 01:16:48 PM »
I wouldn't go if I was on the fence.  It's the weekend and we already spend enough time with co-workers as it is.  Go and do something fun by yourself, with friends/family, or with an SO. 

If anybody gives you shit for not going, tell them to fuck off. 

OSUBearCub

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2014, 01:22:26 PM »
Free booze is coming up a lot.  That would make this decision a LOT easier!  But the picnic is dry due to the kiddos. :-)

trailrated

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2014, 01:35:47 PM »
It's on a Saturday?  Fuck that shit.

(you can probably tell I'm not the ambitious corporate ladder climber type)

+1

purplepants

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2014, 01:49:41 PM »
It's on a Saturday?  Fuck that shit.

(you can probably tell I'm not the ambitious corporate ladder climber type)

Ha!  Our company picnic is this Saturday as well, AND THEY WANTED US TO PAY ADMISSION! 

Which, if it's a big catered clambake like my Dad's company has every year, fine.  But they are serving hotdogs. 

Goldielocks

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2014, 02:07:30 PM »
My current company picnic has minimal to no networking at it, so it is intended to be a perk party only, and no career impact.

Previous company - it was a good idea to support the corporate initiatives in ALL of their formats.

If it is a good career move to attend, then I would get on the social committee organizing it or otherwise volunteer for ticket collection, greeter, handing out prizes, manning the grill, or whatever.  That way you get a chance to say hi to more people, and show your amazing face around, which is the point of company network parties after all.

AND you don't look lame for not having kids with you, but AWESOME for supporting your peers who have kids.  Leave after 1- 2 hours.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2014, 02:25:29 PM »
Ugh.  I'd rather take a beating than go to a corporate picnic.  And I like my company and my co-workers!

FarmerPete

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2014, 02:27:22 PM »
My company does an outing at the local minor league baseball game.  They charge you for tickets.  I figured it must be a discount right?  I mean, we have to get a discount just for how many people are going...right?   WRONG.  Costs the exact same as going on your own.  Are they any perks?  You can go a little early and your kids can jump in an inflatable.  There are inflatables we can go to for free during the summer at the park.  No need to go to a boring baseball game.  My last company had an event to the same baseball team.  They provided free tickets for 4 people (more if you had a bigger family), and they gave everyone a crappy T-Shirt, and either access to an all-you-can-eat buffet before the game, or $25 per person in gift certificates to the regular vendors per ticket you had.  So if you had 4 tickets, that's $100 of money.  Even with inflated stadium prices, you can get a lot of food and beer for $25...well, food and beer.  My previous employer also had a corporate christmas party at the big convention center in town.  No booze, but fancy food and entertainment.  Current employer does nothing.  Some companies are real scrooges.

Daisy

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2014, 08:44:29 PM »
Free food? Go. No brainer.

Free booze? Have one drink but don't overdo it. You don't want to get drunk and rattle off your deepest thoughts and then get fired for it. ;-)

Weekend? Now that's nasty. Maybe don't go. But see the comment on "free food" above. Stay as little time as possible.

I worked at a company that was doing government contracts and we had to have a time code for every little thing we did. Unfortunately, it seems like they never created an "overhead" category for certain things. Once, some managers were coming into town and invited everyone to a happy hour and labelled it as a team building event. Then they said we would have to make up the hours the rest of the week if we attended. The happy hour was at 3! So I said no thanks - I wouldn't want to hang around these people (who I didn't like) and then have to work extra during the week to make up for it! It was ridiculous! They had the same policy if you volunteered to help set up the holiday lunches. Well guess what, no one volunteered.

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2014, 09:37:51 PM »
Can you take a date or friend?  Go, stay as long or little as you like.

On the one hand, I understand the viewpoint "I already spend all week with these folks.....", but people do notice who attends and who doesn't.  I tried to go to at least some of the events (happy hours, picnics, holiday parties).  Those that don't attend any year-round appear anti-social and to dislike their co-workers (may be the case). 

Swing by, get some free food, and head somewhere else.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2014, 01:36:42 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  I've decided to go.

I volunteer once a week with under-privileged 2nd and 3rd graders.  We give out a bag of food, a loaf of bread, fresh fruit, and a book.  In the "mentoring" session that goes along with the care package, the topic was "Getting Ready for Thanksgiving: Why I'm Thankful".   When 8 year old Jordan very plainly said "I'm thankful for food and my house" I realized this question posed to the MMM community was completely ridiculous.

I'm an asshole for even asking the question.  Of course I'll show up for the BBQ.  I'm thankful I've got a job.  Gourmet hot dogs are almost and embarrassment of riches.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2014, 02:57:50 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  I've decided to go.

I volunteer once a week with under-privileged 2nd and 3rd graders.  We give out a bag of food, a loaf of bread, fresh fruit, and a book.  In the "mentoring" session that goes along with the care package, the topic was "Getting Ready for Thanksgiving: Why I'm Thankful".   When 8 year old Jordan very plainly said "I'm thankful for food and my house" I realized this question posed to the MMM community was completely ridiculous.

I'm an asshole for even asking the question.  Of course I'll show up for the BBQ.  I'm thankful I've got a job.  Gourmet hot dogs are almost and embarrassment of riches.

Haha, you're not an asshole. I don't go to our picnic either... I thought about it the first year, but a coworker close to my age (and also unmarried and w/o kids) said she went and felt a little weird because she was the ONLY one there without kids. We have other events (specifically a big holiday party) that I do go to, and I try to make an effort to be "on the bus"/reasonably social with coworkers, so I figure it's okay. Hope you have fun and don't have to stay too long! :)

cavewoman

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2014, 03:09:24 PM »
Well if you have to bite your tongue due to Anti-MMM discussions of BMWs and whatnot, can you please bring back stories to the Overheard at Work Thread?

Bob W

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2014, 03:17:48 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  I've decided to go.

I volunteer once a week with under-privileged 2nd and 3rd graders.  We give out a bag of food, a loaf of bread, fresh fruit, and a book.  In the "mentoring" session that goes along with the care package, the topic was "Getting Ready for Thanksgiving: Why I'm Thankful".   When 8 year old Jordan very plainly said "I'm thankful for food and my house" I realized this question posed to the MMM community was completely ridiculous.

I'm an asshole for even asking the question.  Of course I'll show up for the BBQ.  I'm thankful I've got a job.  Gourmet hot dogs are almost and embarrassment of riches.

I think you're starting to make progress my friend.  We all have our moments.  I bet you have a great time,  learn something about your coworkers and yourself and create a memory or two.  Might even make a new friend.   

Who the hell knows?  It could be one of the greatest damn days of your life.   The boss might be choking to death on a hotdog and you could send us a post on whether you should do the Heimlich on him or not.  lol

Now about your student loan debts?  What are the interest rates and how much do you owe?  Let's do some real work here.

(by the way,  thanks for sharing that volunteering moment with us,  we all need to be thankful and do that more.  At least I do)

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2014, 03:34:34 PM »
I am, by nature, an introvert. You would never guess it if you asked anyone I associate with (aside from my wife).

This has harmed me professionally and personally. One day, I was inviting people to do something. My wife asked if I was inviting "Steve". I said, nah, he never comes anyway. She said - isn't that what you do? What Team Building/friendship building activities are you missing?

She was right. I immediately resolved to go to everything I'm invited to. Every. Single. Thing. Unless I have a compelling reason not to attend. A prior engagement is compelling. I don't want to isn't. I have a cold isn't. It looks cold isn't.

Tangentially related story - in college I needed a recommendation letter from a certain professor. A lot of people did. He was the chair of a committee that was in charge of writing all the letters for a certain type of post graduate education. He was in charge of a club that was putting on an all day event. He invited a group of us to attend the event. He said "attendance will be taken. (several seconds later) Just kidding!" He wasn't kidding. People do a fair amount of work to throw a party (personal or professional). Nobody wants to throw a party and have nobody come. In these situations, attendance will be taken, and remembered.

Just my 2 cents.

OSUBearCub

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Re: Annual Corporate Family Picnic
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2014, 03:36:15 PM »
Well if you have to bite your tongue due to Anti-MMM discussions of BMWs and whatnot, can you please bring back stories to the Overheard at Work Thread?

I'll bring a note pad.  ;-)

(And thanks Bob Werner)