While the department I work in only has three employees, our company employs sixty-seven people. I’m new to the company and only know my two coworkers and supervisor. I’ve nodded at a couple of people in the hallways, but other than that have kept to myself.
When my supervisor emailed everyone in our department that that our company plans an off-site, team-building “retreat” Friday, I asked her if I could just stay at my desk and work that day. She told me the retreat would be “fun” and not attending wasn’t an option.
I told her that I hate talking in groups and she said, “A lot of people feel that way at first. But everyone’s always glad we held the retreat by the end of the day.”
I didn’t say anything but decided I’d call in sick Friday, But just before closing time Thursday my supervisor came by my work station and said, “No calling in sick tomorrow.” When I looked at her totally shocked, she said, “I thought so,” like she could see straight through me, and then reminded me I don’t accrue sick leave for the first ninety days.
What do I do?
Consider it part of your job to attend this retreat. Your company is giving you a day of “light duty” during which you’ll find out things about your company and coworkers that might otherwise take months to learn.
If you can, realize what this company retreat offers you. It gives you a chance to learn who’s who and where your company as a whole is heading. You may meet individuals you’d like to get to know as friends.
Sure, this retreat pushes you out of your comfort zone and may force you to interact with people you don’t know. But you’re not only part of a department, you’re part of a company, and wouldn’t you like to learn more about this company you’ve joined?
Finally, your supervisor’s right. Most people don’t like to talk in a large group. So you’ll be among others who understand if your voice shakes when you’re first asked to speak up. She’s also right that you may find that you’re glad you’ve attended. So give it a try. What do you have to lose?
© 2017, Lynne Curry. If you’d like an answer to your career question, it’s easy. Write firstname.lastname@example.org. Lynne authored Beating the Workplace Bully (AMACOM, 2016) and Solutions. You can also follow Lynne@lynnecurry10 on twitter or access her other posts on SheKnows, www.workplacecoachblog.com or www.bullywhisperer.com.