Monday, November 13, 2006

Schmooze Rules

This could possibly go in the "How I suck" series where I break down the many ways that my shit does, indeed, "stank." My short-coming, in this case, has to do with my strong aversion to spending my off-hours skinnin' and grinnin' with many of my co-workers and business associates.

I don't schmooze. My work performance will either be enough to get me ahead or it won't.
Oh well.

Now, don't get me wrong. If I dig you, then we can hang. I'm not completely anti-social. I just don't believe in fakin' the funk, so to speak... especially not on MY time and dime.

Over the years, my co-workers have organized holiday get-togethers, birthday parties, and going-away events and I've barely made appearances at any. Now, that's partly due to some medical concerns I have, but it's also due to the fact that I know for damned-sure that there will be food, drink, and people I don't like. It wouldn't be fun and I don't do unfun for free... if I can help it.

I recognize that social interaction serve to lubricate professional interactions and can, ultimately, benefit the organization and those within it. I get that people who drink together and laugh together may be more likely to look out for one another when it's time for employee evaluations, promotions, references, and the like.

That's advantageous, I guess, but...
* My sense-of-humor is very different from that of most of my co-workers
* I don't drink and certainly don't get drunk. They do. (Not a judgement. Just a fact.)
* Some professional slights feel quite personal. I don't want to sit next to folks who've, figuratively speaking, slapped me in the face.
* I don't like the same foods they do; in fact, I'm allergic to many.

This combination can make for a very unpleasant evening and doesn't inspire me to overcome my medical concerns to be in their company.

When you really get down to it, I don't like anyone else dictating what I do with my free time. That's my business... so to speak, and no one else's.

Obviously, there are the occasional exceptions to the above but I usually end up regretting them. I try not to repeat my mistakes.


Miz JJ said...

I hate schmoozing, but I do it. In my field it is necessary to get new contacts. But trust me when I say I hate every minute and although I love to drink I only ever drink club soda, or sparkling water at those types of events. Their rules do not apply to me and I do not like to pretend that they do. It is alright for Becky to get shitfaced at work thing, but if I do it I will be labeled. I always have to be on guard, which makes it even less fun. I do not blame you for skipping that stuff.

chele said...

This doesn't make you suck. At least I know it doesn't make ME suck because I feel the same way.

I don't like to see my co-workers in a social setting. Especially where there is alcohol. I tend to lose respect for someone that I see throwing up in the parking lot or dancing on a table.

I have absolutely nothing in common with the overwhelming majority of the folks I work with. So, socializing is out of the question. Sorry, I'm not coming to the happy hour, I won't be at the holiday party and I'm not bringing anything to the Thanksgiving potluck.

Francis Michael O'halloran said...

I too suck at schmoozing. But ironically I love being in a large group of people. I love having a drink socially. I just suck at small talk, I always want to go a little bit deeper.

West said...

I hear you on the small-talk thing.

Over the years, I've learned to do it more effectively, but it's pretty unfulfilling, in a lot of cases.

I guess it's kinda like conversational foreplay or, more precisely, "courting" because it (inspires us to or) lets us know if we want to "go a little bit deeper."

That sounds nastier than intended, by the way.