It’s time to punt

Q:  I feel like I’m being forced to have some “fun” I’d much rather skip. The Global Head invited our group to a Super Bowl Party — significant others are welcome.   For years, I’ve had a tradition of watching at home with my friends. Folks at the office are all excited and I’m feeling the pressure to go.  How do I get out of it? 

A:  You should not have to break long-standing traditions for work obligations.  I wonder if poor communications are at the root of your current situation.  I can’t imagine that a senior manager would come up with the idea for a Super Bowl party one week before the event without the group’s buy in.   So, let’s call a flag on the play and ask:  

  • On what date did the Global Head extend this invitation?
  • How did the idea come up for a Super Bowl Party? Were other options discussed?
  • Did you participate in the discussion? Yes or no?
  • When did you know you had a conflict?
  • Did you let tell the group that you would not be able to attend? Yes or no?
  • Did anyone else voice concerns?
  • Did you go along to get along?
  • Does the Global Head believe that s/he has 100% buy in?

If the awful truth is that you sat silently, then I immediately wonder why someone at your level would feel the pressure to conform.

  • Are you on shaky ground in your role? Results? Relationships?

I don’t need to remind you that one week before an event is no time to bow out or to make excuses.  My advice is to enjoy the day.  No sulking, no leaving early and no wishing you were someplace else:  Put yourself on the field and in the game with your colleagues and Global Head and use the time to deepen relationships.  Have fun.

To ensure that you don’t find yourself in a similar situation in the future, remember that time with friends and family is sacred.  It is up to you to hold fast to your time and to not pretend that you can be in two places at once, or that you can make it work, or that you will get out of the situation somehow.  Make your life stress-free—answer with a clear yes or no as soon as the invitation is extended. 

As for me:  Go Patriots!  


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