There are two types of people in the workplace: those who enjoy workplace get-togethers and those who dread them.
One woman on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, however, wasn’t against the idea of a get-together, depending on what they would be doing there.
When another gathering came up, Redditor tackstack had to decide whether to suck it up and go or not.
After receiving criticism, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she made the right decision.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not going to my boss’s barbecue?”
The OP attended a department gathering a few years ago.
“So on Saturday, my boss had a barbecue/get-together for people in the department and their families at his house.”
“I went to one he had 2-3 years ago and it was basically a fun thing for the guys. He took them out on his boat for a few hours and they had some beers and played lawn games.”
“All the women (mostly coworkers’ wives, because I work with mostly guys) stayed back at his house with the kids (he had activities for the kids) and socialized with each other and helped his wife with cooking.”
“I’m female and single, and I don’t really like kids, so it just felt like a wasted Saturday to me.”
“It also sorta bugged me that all the guys got to go do something fun and women weren’t even asked.”
“I get that most of them were there with their kids but… I wasn’t and I don’t like being lumped into babysitting when they’re not my kids.”
“He’s a decent enough boss and I like the job itself, so I just shrugged it off.”
But when another gathering was arranged, the OP opted not to go.
‘Well, when he told us about the one on Saturday, I said I had a dentist appointment. (Only thing I could think of when he asked). I figured I was in the clear.”
‘Then today, he kept sorta making passive-aggressive comments like, ‘Well, at least MOST of the department was there and had fun, too bad certain people had such important appointments,’ and ‘we had a good time, would have been nice to have the whole department there.’ I guess I was the only person not there.”
The OP had mixed feelings, based on her boss’s reaction.
“I’m the only woman in the department that doesn’t have kids, and I don’t really have anything in common with my coworkers’ wives.”
“I feel like it was kinda sexist to just take the guys on the boat, but I get that it wouldn’t be big enough for everyone and their kids. So I just chose to not go.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out the OP didn’t have to go, simply because it was the weekend.
“That’s your time. Not your boss’s time.”
“Special bonus: this is a red flag that is screaming at you to freshen your resume/CV and start looking for work elsewhere. You’re not one of the good old boys. Find a job where your time away from work is your own.” – TrentRockport420
“It’s fine not to go. But if your boss is being passive-aggressive, you can try the same: ‘A staff boat ride like you guys did last time sounds great. It sucks that I had the appointment, but next time I’d love to go on the boat with my coworkers!'” – Usrname52
“Kind of sexist? No, that’s TOTALLY sexist. If you have an HR department, report that nonsense.”
“Don’t lie to get out of things. Just say ‘no’, which never needs to be justified, no matter how many times they push.”
“If you do want to go to such events, say you want to go on the boat, too, or play whatever ‘the boys’ are playing. Start advocating for yourself.'” – KatzAKat
Others thought the BBQ did not sound like a good time at all.
“NTA and I do not get this at all:”
“OP, come to my barbecue where you will be relegated to watch other people’s kids, speak to who we consider to be real women because they gave birth, speak and socialize with mostly strangers, and help cook for the hungry menfolk who worked up an appetite having fun on a boat.”
“No thanks.” – Ursula2071
“All the networking she missed took place on his party boat on the lake. She wouldn’t have benefited from it anyway. Hopefully, she won’t have to worry about getting an invite next summer.” – ironic-hat
“I had to deal with a number of those events with my ex and his ‘church friends’. I ended up awkwardly arranging vegetables for the burger topping plate to avoid the screeching toddlers and discussion about breastfeeding.”
“I don’t care if people breastfeed, I don’t think it’s gross. I was just offended that I was ignored by all the men at the party because surely I MUST want to talk about Mommy Things, because I have a uterus! I’m childfree – I have less than zero interest in discussing breastfeeding.”
‘They were literally referred to as a monolith – ‘the wives’. Rarely were names ever used for the women.” – Carbonatite
“And your boss will never understand your POV even if you explain it to him in very small words. Some men are just Like That; we all know at least one.”
“Do your best to ignore it until he stops with the passive-aggressive comments, and keep your eye out for a new work opportunity. Your current work environment is toxic even if you mostly enjoy it.” – Outrageous-Ad7264
This is one of those situations where it may feel like the more compliant a coworker is, the better. But the subReddit agreed that a major conversation or power move needed to happen, if the OP wanted to keep working there.
Otherwise, she might want to start thinking about finding a new place to work, perhaps somewhere that has a few more female coworkers and that recognizes that not all women intend to be mothers.