No, You Don't Have to Attend Lame Work Events on Your Own Time

Dear Office Mom,

My manager asked our team if anyone was going to the full department holiday Potluck that starts at 4:30 pm tomorrow. Most said they weren’t sure but were thinking about it. She continues to mention that we needed to make sure to let her know if we do so that we can adjust our hours. All of us looked a little confused by that statement. She said if we wanted to attend, then we would need to come in 30 minutes early and if we came in at our regular time and attended the event, then we would need to submit PTO...
— Kari
Image Source:  Pexels

Image Source: Pexels


Thank you for reaching out to me. I'll get straight to it...No, you are not being unreasonable. I would be. And, the fact that one team got the warning to adjust their hours and the others did not, seems quite unfair. Usually, a "work social" is scheduled during work hours, and PTO isn't even in the equation, especially if it's a potluck, of little expense to the company and only 30 minutes.

It irritates the hell out of me when a company won't give something to recognize the team's contribution, build goodwill between departments, and have a little fun in the process. It seems as though the boss either was instructed to do this, and didn't push back on her team's behalf, or she is out of line asking you to pay for a social and bring your own food. A manager has a role in individual and team recognition. It may be helpful to give your boss some feedback if you’re given an opportunity.

If you don't agree with the "rules" of this little soiree, then, by all means, don't attend. Instead, start your holiday celebration after work elsewhere! Sometimes you have to stand up to the boss, just be professional about it. I hope this helps!