Monday, December 28, 2009

Separating work and home

Dear Diversity Diva: I work at a company where managers are expected to host little holiday parties at their home for the people they manage. Because of the neighborhood I live in, I just don’t feel comfortable having folks from work over. How do I get out of this and keep my boss from holding it against me? — Humble About My Home

Dear Humble: This time of the year can be a stressful time, not just because of family expectations but because of the expectations at work with the pseudo-family dynamic some workplaces can engender.

At work, where people all show up at the same place, it’s easy to forget that people come from different backgrounds and transport themselves from different neighborhoods. While people should never be ashamed of where they are from or where they live now, it’s not an unreasonable concern to wonder how your co-workers and supervisors will judge you outside of the workplace knowing how judgmental people can be inside the workplace.

To stay in your boss’s good graces, explain to him or her that personal family issues (keeping it vague) make it inconvenient to host work parties at home but that you would be more than happy to help arrange for an off-site lunch or happy hour or some other entertainment function.

Emphasize your desire to reward and bond with your team and ask your boss to help you brainstorm some creative ways to do that in a way that won’t negatively impact your family.

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