Whether we love our jobs or not, most of us work very hard to meet our goals and sometimes even to exceed them.
It’s a wonderful feeling to then be recognized by our workplace with a raise or even a vacation, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
After having a productive year, Redditor Thedilemma222 and her colleagues were invited to go on an all-expenses-paid resort vacation, which included a pool feature.
But when she was criticized for her choice of swimwear, the Original Poster (OP) wondered how much of this was work and how much of it was vacation.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for wearing a bikini at a work event?”
The OP recently went on a work retreat.
“I’m 31 (Female). This was two weekends ago. I work for a rather small firm. There are 12 employees in total.”
“Since we exceeded our yearly goals for 2022, we were treated to a weekend stay at a golf resort. I don’t love golf, but I can play. The owners are big fans.”
“I’m also one of three women employed. I’m the youngest, and the other two are a few years older than me.”
She was enjoying some of the amenities while also going to a work lunch.
“They also had a pool, tennis, gym, all the fun things a resort needs. On Saturday, I took some me-time to lay out by the pool and have some cocktails.”
“I was told that we would all be eating a late lunch at the poolside restaurant. I met everyone there.”
“I walked up to the place in my swimsuit and put my coverup on as we sat down.”
“The restaurant was outside and next to the pool. Nobody was ‘dressed up.'”
Two coworkers in particular found the OP to be enjoying the amenities too much.
“The two other women told me it was ‘gutsy’ to wear what I was wearing.”
“I didn’t think so, because I was wearing a rather athletic bikini. The bottom was full coverage and was almost like shorts, and the top resembled a sports bra more than anything else.”
“The other two women told me that I should be old enough to know that was stupid. And they even accused me of wanting to show off to the men.”
“Now these other women are in good shape, so I can’t say they’re jealous. They definitely are able to rock bikinis.”
“Maybe I didn’t think this through. But I purposely bought this suit for this trip. I thought it was as plain Jane as can be.”
“I mean… is it very inappropriate to show my belly? Because that was pretty much all that was different between my swimsuit and theirs is that my stomach was showing.”
“Are they a**holes or am I missing something here?”
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 thought the OP was in the clear and thought others were body-shaming her.
“Everybody in here shaming OP for being an evil distracting female.”
“Case in point: If Steven J. Businessman had been swimming and walked up to the (outdoor) table shirtless before donning his coverup, nobody would give a flying heck.”
“But because OP is a female (and apparently looks good in a bikini), she ‘should have been more professional.'”
“Hypocritical double standard sexist bulls**t.” – DruncanIdaho
“This doesn’t sound like a work event, it sounds like a bonus for exceeding yearly goals. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there were not any scheduled work meetings this weekend?”
“I work for a Tech Start-Up (32 Female), and we aren’t small by any means, but my organization has about 15 of us. This Winter, our organization and some other high performers, plus our spouses, were treated by our CEO to a long weekend in Hawaii, all expenses paid.”
“Yes, I was with my coworkers; yes, my boss was there; and yes, I wore a bikini (as did the CEO’s wife) while hanging by the pool. We of course discussed work, but this was absolutely not a work event.”
“As is custom with ‘resort culture,’ I too wore various states of bikini/cover-up to the poolside lunches with my coworkers, as did all the other women present.”
“Absolutely NTA. It really sounds like these people responding are stuck in the 60s and/or have never been to a resort and do not understand what a casual environment a poolside lunch is. The women you work for, if a bit older, probably are projecting their past norms onto you.”
“I found out at the end of last quarter I am getting a pay bump and title change, after spending time in a bikini in front of my coworkers (GASP).”
“Seriously, do not listen to these commenters. I just asked my partner (39 Male) who is a Senior Director for a more traditional Tech firm if he thinks this was inappropriate, and he scoffed at the suggestion you should be dressed like a nun for a company vacation.” – Probably_Outside
“NTA. These women are adhering to sexist double standards and are likely jealous of you.”
“If there was an issue presented to you by an actual HR (Human Resources) manager or boss to say it was inappropriate, then by all means, you could take that on board for the future, but you did nothing wrong, in my opinion.”
“I’ve been to these ‘not-work’ work holiday things before at resorts, and as long as you are clean, neat, etc., it’s fine. I’m an Aussie, though, and we tend to be waaaay more relaxed about stuff, especially those living on the coast.” – TheRealBeelzebabs
“I think for many, a paid trip by your employer with your colleagues is never a ‘vacation.’ Sure, your boss can call it that and feel great about what they are doing, but at the end of the day, it’s still time with your work colleagues and not your family, friends, or self.”
“I’ve been on many work retreats, conferences, getaways, etc, and never once have I felt like I was on vacation. I don’t vacation with my boss and work colleagues when they tell me to. I’m sure some people do truly enjoy this time away with work colleagues, but I think many do not.”
“NTA because OP didn’t really didn’t do anything that wronged anyone. But it also may not have been the smartest thing in the context of work culture (which can vary wildly).” – speckles9
“NTA but… I would be careful in the future. These are your work colleagues and keeping a mostly professional vibe should always be expected even when doing ‘offsite’ events.”
“Like, If you wanted to wear a string bikini, technically, that’s not illegal or inappropriate for the location. But then your coworkers might be thinking about you wearing a string bikini from now on, even when you’re in the office.”
“I’m not saying what you wore is inappropriate because (gasp!) you have a midriff! But, personally, I wouldn’t want my boss (or any other coworkers) picturing me in anything revealing when we’re back at work.”
“When you’re doing anything remotely work-related, even if you’re off the clock… you’re on the clock.” – cbm984
But others said the OP knew what was appropriate and what was not for a work retreat.
“NTA. I personally couldn’t bring myself to wear a bathing suit on a work trip at all, lol (laughing out loud), but that doesn’t mean other people have to adhere to my boundaries.”
“It’s silly in this day and age to be so uptight about it. They’re all adult coworkers, it shouldn’t be an issue.”
“EDITED: Wait, you wore the swimsuit to LUNCH…? Yeah, YTA, lol (laughing out loud).”
“Would you show up to lunch in your sports bra and underwear? Vacation or not, wear clothes to lunch, my lord. You had a coverup with you; you should have put it on before you arrived!” – UsefulAccident3031
“YTA. You should have changed into more professional clothes to rejoin everyone for lunch. Or at least throw on a sundress coverup.”
“Your swimwear would be appropriate if it was a company yacht party or pool party, but you were clearly the odd one out wearing just swim attire to lunch.”
“Just because you (and they) could wear a bikini, doesn’t mean you should.” – KitKatAttackkkkkk
“YTA. You sound a lot younger than 31. A work event is still work, and all work policies remain in force.”
“As three-quarters of the group were male, the other two women may have felt you were trying to be sexual or provocative in the sort of way that ends up with all female colleagues being less respected by male colleagues.” – Now_Villager
“You should have covered up before you entered the restaurant. It’s not about the suit you were wearing, it’s about wearing any bathing suit while entering a restaurant.” – This_Grab_452
“N-T-A for wearing the suit by the pool, but YTA for, ‘I walked up to the place in my swimsuit and put my coverup on as we sat down.’ So technically, you had the bathing suit with a coverup thrown over it at lunch. So you were wearing a bathing suit at lunch. That in itself is unprofessional.”
“You should have taken time to change into regular clothes to eat lunch with everyone. You aren’t on vacay with your friends, you are on a work trip with your bosses.” – holisarcasm
“Was everyone else in some form of swim attire at lunch? NTA for wearing a bikini by the pool, but I’m leaning towards YTA for wearing swimwear at the lunch table.”
“To me, it’s not that you were wearing a bikini, but that you wore just swimwear to lunch. That would bug me even if it wasn’t a work trip. It would be fine if you were eating in your lounge chair, but not at a sit-down restaurant.”
“YTA. You need to arrive at your destination dressed appropriately for the setting. If you had been with friends, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue. This was a work event and your coworkers were, I’m assuming, wearing standard casual attire, ie shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, etc.”
“I get that it was literally steps from the pool and it seems really dumb. If it makes you feel better, I would say the same thing if you were a man and waited until you got to the table to put on your shirt.” – swsvt
While everyone could agree that the team should feel good about meeting their goals and should enjoy the trip that was provided, they were otherwise divided on what should be included in that enjoyment.
Some found the OP to be totally in the clear, in the context of a vacation, but because she was among colleagues who would be working in the office with her again in the coming days, others were more concerned about how her coworkers would perceive her after seeing more of her skin than the usual day.