When you’re in the mood, after-work drinks with colleagues can be a great way to unwind. But sometimes, we’d all rather skip the booze-fuelled ritual.
It’s easier said than done though, if “work hard, play hard” is considered and unofficial mantra, or your workplace perpetuates the myth of the tight-knit “work family” (God forbid you admit you’ve actually got other friends you’d rather spend time with...).
But the next time you feel guilty about turning down an extra-curricular invitation, just remind yourself you’re not legally obliged to be “fun”, as a recent court case proved.
A French man, referred to as Mr T, recently won his case after he was fired from a consultancy firm for his refusal to adhere to their “fun” values.
His specific behaviour? Turning down after-work drinks and team-building activities, according to Business Insider. His former company also claimed he was difficult to work with and a poor listener.
The court heard that “excessive drinking” was apparently part of regular work events. As such, it ruled that Mr T was dismissed unfairly, concluding that the employee was exercising his “freedom of expression” by refusing to take part in supposedly “fun activities”.
In other words, Mr T has a right to be “boring” – and you do too.
As Christmas approaches, socialising with colleagues only tends to ramp up, but this is your reminder that it’s totally okay to turn those pub sessions down. If your boss judges you for it, it says a lot more about them than you.
It might help to know that you’re not the only one who thinks work drinks are a bit much.
Among working adults (who drink), two fifths (43%) agree that there is too much pressure to drink when socialising with work colleagues, according to research from DrinkAware.
One in five reported their co-workers have pressured them to drink more than they’d set out to. Men in particular are more likely than women to have experienced pressure to drink from their boss or superior (13% compared with 8%).
It’s not just the drinking that puts some people off, but the sheer amount of hours we already spend with our colleagues (1,795 hours a year, apparently!).
If you’d rather not extend that time, we totally get it. So, take this as your cue to care less this holiday season. Being “fun” is overrated.