Coffee Break [26/10/20]

It can be a struggle to get through the second half of the day.

I’ve liked most of my coworkers. There is only a handful of them that I’d ever want to spend a holiday with though. I’m not fond of office celebrations in general. I prefer to socialize with select colleagues at Happy Hour, a barbecue, or the occasional sporting event. I’m thankful that I’ve never worked anywhere that encouraged dressing up for Halloween. I can see it if you work with children at a school or daycare. But nothing is less festive than the tired Minnie Mouse cashier at the grocery store. Or the super into it bank teller witch who won’t break character. So you can imagine how appalled I was reading this Ask A Manager letter from a few years ago.

My employee got fired for wearing a Halloween costume to work … and trick-or-treating in an important meeting

I work at a financial firm. Every employee must wear a suit. Only closed-toe dress shoes are allowed, no wild hair color, etc. Our dress code is always formal with no exceptions. On Halloween, one of my employees came to work dressed as Princess Tiana. We had a meeting scheduled with our C-suite and directors and several important clients. She showed up minutes before the meeting started and came into the room in her full costume, asking everyone to give her candy, to the disbelief of everyone who was present. She was asked to leave the meeting immediately by someone from the C-suite.

She told me afterward that she didn’t see what the problem was and wanted to bring fun to our “stuffy” office. I asked her if anyone told her it was okay for her to dress up and she said it was her idea and she didn’t talk about it with anyone here. She said she was going to come as Michonne from The Walking Dead but had decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for work. I was going to have a serious talk with her because she kept saying she didn’t do anything wrong, but she was fired later that day on the orders of our director.

I have never been accused of being a party pooper, but I just can’t take someone in a costume seriously. Am I the only one who feels this way?

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27 Comments

  1. I can’t stand office parties, retreats, “staff appreciation” days or anything that smells like morale- or team-building.  I avoid it all like the plague.  I either take a vacation day, call out sick, or volunteer to stay in the office and answer the phones.
     
    Costumes?  Whatever, just leave me the fuck alone.

  2. When I was 11, I decided it was the last time I was going to dress up for Halloween. I felt I was too old for it. I still feel that way, but I don’t judge others for having fun with it. Perhaps I’m just no fun.

     

  3. I’ll dress up for trick or treaters. One year I did half my face in a scary skull day of the dead make up and normal on the other so when the trick or treaters saw me from one side it wasn’t scary but then they saw the other…. that was fun. My neighborhood is doing a socially distant halloween parade and book reading this year. Usually the adults all sit around and have drinks while the kids go around. It’s a target rich environment because the houses are close together. 

     

    • I love Trick or Treat. If my neighborhood was like that I might dress up too. I won’t even be outside this year, just setting out a table with bags. 

      But forced frivolity at work is so weird.

  4. That woman deserved to be fired.  Jesus Christ, what a ding-dong.  I’m going to guess that this bonehead had been there long enough to get a sense of the place, considering she referred to it as “stuffy”–but the fact that she simply ignored the reality in front of her means she just needed to go.
     
    I stopped dressing up for Halloween (or wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, or any of that other shit) ages ago.  I do work in a place that deals with children–but I am not a front line worker so I get to stay professional (when I’m not working from home which will be until next summer at the earliest).  I also avoid as many of the “fun” events that are held as well, mostly because I can be found in the dictionary under “antisocial.”  When I was in my previous management role, I would periodically take my team out for lunch or ice cream or something like that, just so we could shoot the shit and relax a little, and they always enjoyed that.  But, I always made sure that they were up for it and they were available for it.  You can’t legislate fun.
     
    Now, I am a worker bee who makes more than I did as a manager.  Go figure.

  5. In the Good Old Days I used to freelance occasionally in an office. I showed up one day after a couple of weeks and everyone, some very begrudgingly, was wearing some kind of costume. 
     
    “What is going on? Halloween isn’t for another couple of days.”
     
    “Team building exercise. We dread this every year. But the owners are really cheap so they book a shit space before Halloween and–”
    Just then [and I’m not fat shaming; I’m at least 30 or 40 pounds over my ideal weight myself] this enormous woman showed up and asked me why I wasn’t in a costume.
     
    “Because I’m a freelancer and I didn’t know this was a thing? So who are you supposed to be?”
     
    “Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. It doesn’t matter! Come as you are. We’re going to [shitty alcoholics’ hangout ‘Irish pub’] and you can go as ‘Freelancer’ The owners are paying for it, but it’s beer only. If you want something else you have to pay for it yourself!”
     
    “That sounds awful.”
     
    “Oh, Cousin Matthew, please come with us. It is really awful but we spend so many hours together with a lot of people in the other departments that we hate. The last thing we want to do is drink shitty beer with them.”
     
    “It might be fun. Remember last year when I went into the women’s room and I found a guy overdosing in a stall?”
     
    “Not one of the building staff, surprisingly. It’s been a while since I’ve seen ‘The Wizard of Oz’ but I don’t remember Dorothy topping out at 300 pounds and being six feet tall.”
     
    So we went and I had a lot of fun and bonded with my jaded co-workers. Happy Halloween, everyone!
     
     

  6. You can’t legislate fun

    Exactly! I do dress my dogs up for Halloween and Christmas, so I guess I’m “that” boss as far as they’re concerned. 😬 Fanny gets out of it this year. 

     

  7. I despise Halloween. Even before I when I could eat all the seasonal sugar-overdosing garbage that can only loosely be considered “food”. Costumes are stupid. Oh you mean I am socially expected to wear embarrassing clothes and pretend to enjoy myself around groups of other people I don’t know? 
     
    Nah. Fuck that. I’ll just go buy myself candy and stay home. 

    • Oh I love Halloween. I like seeing the kids Trick or Treating, watching horror movies, and drinking theme cocktails. It’s more that I don’t like WORK.

  8. I don’t much care for costumes or forced work parties. HOWEVER, I will say that one company I worked for, a software company, had a Halloween decorating contest which encouraged the different departments to compete. Employees brought their children in costume and let them trick or treat through the various departments (we had 500 employees and fully occupied a massive 3-story building). The deal was that you were aiming to entertain the kids, although the winning department got a cash prize. 
     
    Just gonna tell you, well-paid software engineers who are encouraged to go nuts come up with some amazing stuff. Kids got to tour haunted castles, magic kingdoms, enchanted forests, alien landscapes, all kinds of things. My daughter’s 18 now and still remembers the giant Halloween parties. The prize was like $500, but the winning departments typically spent 3-4 times that much on their displays. 
     
    I think the best thing about it was that it was for children. We didn’t dress up unless you wanted to or it was part of the theme for your area (which of course frequently happened). And again, people who dressed up were SERIOUS — that shit was awesome. 
     
    So much better than the painful formal Christmas parties. 

  9. no costumes at my work…we have to wear uniforms at my work
    probably coz people like me work there…i have an impressive collection of shirts that are not exactly work apropriate and would absolutely wear them to work

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