I am famous for flaking work events. Folks at the office are on to me and my excuses by now! I wish I didn't have to give excuses in the first place, when there really is just only one reason : I'm a working mom.
No no, this isn't a reason that appeals to emotion. To me this is actually very logical. I've spent a good amount of my time at the office and it is but reasonable to have time to go home and take care of home. Alas, corporate culture in this country can be a needy friend : well-meaning but time-sucking.
The work events? As a yuppie they were fun. As a working mom they are jobs that take away precious family time so they had better be worth it. Five years into corporate mom-hood and I can tell you which of these work events are pure torture. Be warned, my opinions may be extreme. But I'm just saying what your dark side is thinking.
#1 The Big-Boss-Visits-Philippines-Market Schmoozefest
Life stops. Drop everything. The Filipino hospitality kicks into high-gear and it's business review preparations and business reviews over dinner. Fine it's actually important, but the sheer amount of time and energy spent is more all-encompassing than throwing your child's 1st birthday party.
#2 The Insert-Name-Here Awards Night
The word under protest here is "night". Why not awards "day"? Schools do it and more people would actually attend, I tell you.
#3 The Team-Building Sportsfest
This is not at night, but it's for an entire day of exchanging real work for embarrassment. I am not, have never been, and will never be sporty. Please stop forcing me.
#4 The Hey-It's-Friday-Let's-Drink Night
This is my Thank-God-It's-Friday-I-Can-Go-Home-And-Start-The-Weekend-With-My-Family Night. Or Date-Night for short. Actually, people have stopped asking me to this. Haha.
#5 The Christmas Party Department Presentations
I saved the best for last. Amid all the year-end planning, business operations, holiday traffic, parties, and the mad gift rush... we have to stay late nights to practice?? Whoever started this common corporate party "tradition" should be promoted and given more workload. And a baby. Let's see how he feels after.
When I was a new yuppie brand manager in my former company, I was also given the role of HR champion. We were a regional team spread across Asia and I would arrange team buildings, bonding sessions, even an internal team website. One such day a senior manager (from another country) looks at me puzzled and says:
"Isn't it possible to work well together without all this bonding?"
Ten years later, I get it. I'm living the answer -- yes. It isn't an absolute answer since there are work events that are genuine exceptions. But yes, it should be possible.
After all, I enjoy the people I work for and work with. People enjoy working with me, too. I love my job and I'm great at it enough to build a career in it. We corporate moms just need to make sure that what we do everyday is worth it.
And somedays may we have the unapologetic sincerity to say "it's time for me to be home now".