So I have been at my company 5 years and I got a note from the directors admin that he wants me to attend a staff meeting so that he can present my award to me.

I really don't want to go, I would like to send back a note asking if they could just send it to me via interoffice mail. Would this be bad form? 

I work at a Municipal power company and have philosophical issues with how much of a big deal that they make with tenure. I think that my being at the company 5 years is the least of my accomplishments and is nothing to be celebrated. Each year you get a sticker with how many years you have been at the company. Many people stack them up so that everyone of them can be seen on their hard hat. I usually stick them to a bottom of a drawer. I would rather my reputation and accomplishments stand for themselves, rather than the number of years I have been at the place.

I just can't see making such a big deal about something that is so insignificant. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what I ordered out of the catalog. I know I let it sit for a while because I did not want or need anything out of it.


ashdenver's picture

For what it's worth, I don't want to go to my college graduation ceremonies either but as my husband said: "You've earned it so you need to attend."  A lot of people you work with really get into the whole program (as evidenced by their hard hat stickers) and even though it may mean nothing to you, it means something to them.  If you turn your nose at the offer, you may be seen as snubbing those who enjoy the program which may in turn prejudice views of you in other areas. 

I say - go to the award ceremony, accept the award graciously and maybe throw in something along the lines of "I'm looking forward to the next five years' opportunity to contribute great things to the company" or whatever.  (Something that ties the length of time to the actual accomplishments you value moreso than the tenure itself.)

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stephenbooth_uk's picture

 If you don't attend, or attend but act like you don't want to be there, what message will you be sending?  From your description it sounds like this is something that is important to your employers and your fellow employees.  By not attending you are saying "I don't care about something that is important clearly important to my employer and fellow employees.  What else don't I care about?  Remember this at the next Steel Cage Death Match."

I'm not saying that you'll get fired/laid-off if you don't attend (depends on how important it is to the director (maybe he/she sees it as an opportunity show their 'human side' and be seen in a positive light by the employees) and how vindictive they are) but it might factor in as evidence of not being a team player.

Attend, smile, say thank you.  When you get back to your office/cube send the director a nice little thank you note.




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refbruce's picture

IMO, a good boss will ask how an employee wants the anniversary to be celebrated (or not).  It's a negotiation, though, because part of the value of the celebration is for other people, for whom such a thing is meaningful.  In a few cases, I've asked a favor of the employee to put up with a more public celebration, for the benefit of the organization.

This is one of those cases.  Go.  Get some face time with the others at the staff meeting.  Look at this as a chance to expand and reinforce your network.  If your boss asks you about it, a comment to the effect of "I thought it was important for the organization that I go, but I normally prefer a quieter celebration or one about on-the-job achievements." 

My $0.02

ken_wills's picture

To answer your question: YES.  It would be bad form to decline to go.

"I just can't see making such a big deal about something that is so insignificant. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what I ordered out of the catalog. I know I let it sit for a while because I did not want or need anything out of it."

Actually, YOU'RE the one making the big deal about it.  You're the one risking drawing more attention through your objections.

If we were enjoying an adult beverage right now, I'd probably ask something like:

"What's YOUR problem?"

"Are they forcing you to stay there?"

"Do you want to work somewhere else?"

But then you might threaten to punch me, and we'd sit quietly for a few minutes, and we'd have another round.


Think about it.

sadicarnot's picture

FYI; I do plan on going to the staff meeting tomorrow. I happened to see the plant manager today at a retirement get together today (BTW the woman that is retiring is leaving at 44 yo with a pension that is about 50% of salary and cannot be outlived, that is something to celebrate) I asked him if we could go up to his office so he could give me the award. He thought about it for a moment and then asked me to please come to the staff meeting. The part I don't like is that he stated that he 'won't give me too hard of a time if I come to the meeting.'

In any case to KEN_WILLS yeah they are not making me stay there. Unfortunately I have made more money working there in 5 years than I have in the previous 15 years. I know it is not all about money but there are opportunities there to make a difference, unfortunately it is an organization that is very resistant to change and in many cases are more concerned about ego than effectiveness.

To KEN_WILLS, the fact that the plant manager 'sassed me' is one of the reasons I was reluctant to go. I have found that when you are given a hard time by someone in power, that gives co-workers carte blanche to also give you a hard time which in turn makes it difficult to be effective. I understand that there is going to be 'locker room talk' since it is a mostly all male environment, unfortunately when it is your bosses boss you just have to take the sass. My fear is that there will be a roomful of people with whom I do not work with directly that will take the cue from the plant manager and basically pile on.

Anyway, there is more I can get into such as how when you get your annual review it is just handed to you to sign and turns out I am one of the only ones in my department to ask to go over the individual items.

I am going to ride my bicycle now before it gets dark. I will give an update on how it goes tomorrow. Who knows he may actually say something nice.


stephenbooth_uk's picture

 How much do you know about this manager, what's your relationship like?  Some managers like a bit of sass, some good natured ribbing.  A lot of company cultures positively support and encourage it as a way of improving/maintaining general employee satisfaction.  It can also be a cover for hurt feelings, by not wanting to participate in what he seems to see as an important part of the company culture you've offended him so he's exacting some mild discipline with a small calibre shot across your bows.  You're closer to the action and know the details of what has been said and done but, it might be time to take a quick look at your behaviour and see if it might have triggered that response?

 Attend, smile, say thank you.  If you think you might be expected to give a speech maybe work out something short, ideally linking in to a company achievement and saying you're proud/pleased to have played a part, just a couple of sentences. 




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sadicarnot's picture

Well I went to it and it was no big deal. I guess I needn't have worried, fairly professional and the manager thanked me.

More importantly I think it was worth showing my face and shake his hand in case I need him in my corner in the future.


scm2423's picture

If your anything like me, I tend to make bigger issues out of things than I need to.  A mentor gave me some advice for when I think I am doing this.  She told me to take a moment and ask myself "whats the worst thing that could happen if I ..." and to be realistic in the answer.

I use this quite a bit.  I tend to avoid confrontations, asking this question helps me realize that I am making the problem bigger than it is.