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I don't like socialising with my colleagues on business trips

I don't like socialising with my colleagues on business trips

Old Jan 22, 12, 11:44 pm
  #31  
 
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Interesting post. I tend to like socializing more than the day but there's certainly a line -- I draw it at getting my workout in and productivity time [let's face it, most off a show or business travel is covering something else than what you need to do] -- but even with my own company this year I'm finding more and more than if I was to skip something it would be the main event, it's the after part that seems to net the best discussions, leads, etc.

As far as drinking, you are who you are and I don't think you should have to mask it. As a younger guy it seems like it's assumed that I'll be at the bar first but I rarely drink and have come to realize that ordering a diet coke can be a better conversation line than a rum and coke... Some people give you a hard time but more often than not, I find people are intrigued by the person who breaks their norm.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 12:01 am
  #32  
 
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Introverted?

Originally Posted by polar_b View Post
One thing bugs me when I am on business travel. It's all this socialising I am expected to do!
Do you consider yourself an introvert?
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Old Jan 23, 12, 4:52 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by etali View Post
I used to work in customer service, and the company I worked for was big on team dinners, team nights out, etc. I grudgingly went along with it, but it was really annoying because I had nothing in common with the other people on my team, and I'm not a fan of getting that drunk. I do drink, but I like to be able to walk in a straight line at the end of the night...

One tech company I worked for made a point of arranging one single night per trip that would be a "team night". I think that's a good compromise. People get their free drinks and party time, and the ones who aren't into the party scene can excuse themselves on other nights, and only have to suffer once in the name of their job.

These days, I'm self employed. I actually travel more now than I did as an employee, but it's far less stressful and a lot more fun.


Conventions and Trade Fairs are a lot about PR, and if its not clients, its people from your same company in other locations of the country (or other countries), or just your same team from your home office, but you definitely have to be socializing all the time…

The good thing is that its also an area in which you can show your personal character, let me explain:

Just as there is the “lets get a drink and late dinner until 4am” group, you can make your own group (maybe at first you are the only member), for example, the “see you at 6am in the gym group”, or the “lets hit the pool at 900pm” group. It’s a fairly easy way out because very improbably that anyone will take you for the 6am gym meeting (specially after the 4am late nighter) and the best part of this is that if someone accepts your invitation, its very probable that you will have a lot of things in common with that person, and the gatherings could be interesting.

But in order for this “sorry guys, I’m bailing out this late dinner to be fresh in the gym tomorrow morning” to work, you need a morning gym plan, or a night pool plan, or any other “interesting” thing that you can invite any other member of the team to join.

If its only “pass the late dinner plan for hotel movie rental”, it definitely does not help in the PR scheme. So the bottom line is;

You can bail out horrible drinking and late night gathering, if you have an alternative healthier plan that you can invite anyone else to participate. My experience; they stop bothering you, and you end un alone in the pool at night or alone in the gym at 6am…

Cheers
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Old Jan 23, 12, 5:13 am
  #34  
 
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Worst experience ever... flying with my boss on overnight flight from ZRH -> SIN. Even on Singapore Airlines in Business Class, I do not want to be sleeping next to a drooling and snoring lump. Especially someone that I have to work with. There are boundaries that should be maintained in the workplace world.

I changed my return flight to another day. Made up an excuse that I needed to spend an extra day in the Singapore office, just so that I would not have to suffer the same experience.

Last edited by Gigantor; Jan 23, 12 at 5:26 am
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Old Jan 23, 12, 7:05 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by SFflyer123 View Post
Do you consider yourself an introvert?
I had to think about that one. According to the page on introversion on wikipedia I am probably 70% introvert, but I think I am more ambivert. It is a really good question because I can easily believe that a large proportion of the '4AM party-goers' are largely extroverted.

I am by no means not a loner and I do enjoy the company of good friends that I feel comfortable with. I do not have that many friends, but the ones I do have are very good friends.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 7:07 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by Gigantor View Post
Worst experience ever... flying with my boss on overnight flight from ZRH -> SIN. Even on Singapore Airlines in Business Class, I do not want to be sleeping next to a drooling and snoring lump. Especially someone that I have to work with. There are boundaries that should be maintained in the workplace world.

I changed my return flight to another day. Made up an excuse that I needed to spend an extra day in the Singapore office, just so that I would not have to suffer the same experience.
When I fly with a team I make sure we don't sit together. We will see enough of each other at work. So why spend 22 hours next to each other.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 7:17 am
  #37  
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Thanks for all your feedback. It makes me feel better to know that I am not alone!

So far my main takeways from these are:

Becoming 'that guy'
Being known as 'that guy' who never participates in anything is probably not good for your career, at least if you are at a certain level. As has been pointed out, if you are just good at your job and have reached a certain level then just being good at your job is usually enough. However, many of us are still at a stage where we would like to advance and that is difficult to do without interacting with your colleagues in various social situations. So the trick seems to be to compromise - see below.

Be a rebel - start your own group
It's likely someone else within your company feels like you. So just gently ask around and see if you can get someone else with you who like the same things as you do - for example 6AM runs in the gym or an hours walk before splitting up to do your own things.

Compromise
It should be possible to compromise and yes I agree it probably does not look too good if you are absent during all social events. I like the concept of during a trade show etc. denoting just one dinner as 'the' social event of the week and the one everyone is encouraged to turn up for. That is a reasonable compromise - and may also work in other situations i.e. "sorry guys I won't be joining you on Wed but I will come to the dinner on Friday" makes it sound like you are making an effort and not excluding yourself from social company altogether.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 9:43 am
  #38  
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Ah, the rebel group thing sounds quite familiar. I don't drink, and find drunk people rather dull (I appreciate that it's likely mutual at the time...) I also can't bear to go to a place without seeing something of it. Finally, I am never sycophantic, and this has never done me harm.

But I am sociable. So when I used to always disappear halfway through an evening on the road, colleagues became curious. After a while, a select few joined me. So did the client. Business trips became fun.

It was nothing revolutionary, I was just doing what I liked doing. Cycling across late-night Amsterdam, sailing out to an inland island for dinner, hiking along the dunes on a sunny evening, taking our cameras out along the fjord, being taken by the client to a local music festival with their friends, getting an evening of stories about the revolution in Timisoara, competing to find the best basement restaurants and oddest soft drinks in Central Europe, being cooked for in Paris...

Nothing groundbreaking, but I loved it. We all did. It turned a chore into a joy, and worked for us, our bosses (one of whom was a regular) and our clients.

So, that's what I do. Enforced sociability is something I'll never tolerate - there's always a better option.
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Old Jan 23, 12, 10:05 am
  #39  
 
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If you try to show a bit of understanding I'm sure you will get the same in return. As a parent, I can understand people with kids wanting to take advantage of a getaway. Trust me - you can't really do that at home (you can but it's always tough).

I believe that if you are just honest you have a good chance of getting a positive response. If you just explained that you're not THAT much of a social person, and that you enjoy a drink or two but then you feel the need to retire (and not having kids the need to be out is not exactly there), you might be seen as just that: a person who is somewhat more introverted and who sometimes likes to pass on the drinks and the outings. Couple that with the compromise idea of joining your co-workers sometimes, it may just work out.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 31, 12, 3:55 pm
  #40  
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Hey I'm so glad I'm not the only one on this one!

When I used to go on business travel it was me and usually about two dozen other people who met somewhere for meetings. We'd be at the same hotel so we breakfasted together, then sat through meetings, then lunch together, then more meetings, and often a group dinner. After that, all I wanted to do was have some time to myself where I didn't have to talk. If we didn't have group dinners I would always go eat by myself. I definitely understand wanting some time to unwind before having to go through the same routine all over again the next day.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 6:13 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by gungadin View Post
I believe that nothing about a business trip is non business. No , I don't think you get private time unless you are asleep. Just like the idea of being relaxed at an office party, it seems to me that you are always onstage. And if that means you go and drink a tonic with the guys or girls , so be it. Not fair? Well, no, but I really don't know if fair applies here.
I guess it depends on what industry you're in. I have specific deliverables, and deadlines, and potentially on travel customer commitments. I also have a basic set of office hours when I need to be reachable (even if it's a rare quiet enough day that I'm ahead on my deliverables.)

If that means I go over 8 hours in a day, or 40 hours in a week, as it usually does (although not by tons), well, that's why I'm salaried. Beyond those specific commitments, though, just flying me someplace does not entitle my office to more than the 8 hours a day they're "officially" paying me for
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Old Feb 1, 12, 6:27 pm
  #42  
 
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I realize that I am truly too long in the tooth to play the corporate game any longer. I'm glad I'm out. As a business owner, I interact with customers and fellow business people daily. But I call the shots with regard to how long or even IF I will interact with them after normal business hours. That fact alone makes it easy for me to manage a few niceties after hours if required.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 6:32 pm
  #43  
 
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another tactic

I actually told my team tonight (after 2 nights of dinner already this week) that I've got a cousin that I haven't seen in a while and that we're going out. Reality is that I'm ordering room service and surfing Flyertalk.......
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Old Feb 1, 12, 9:08 pm
  #44  
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Originally Posted by mdjtlj View Post
I actually told my team tonight (after 2 nights of dinner already this week) that I've got a cousin that I haven't seen in a while and that we're going out. Reality is that I'm ordering room service and surfing Flyertalk.......
We're all you cousins..
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Old Feb 15, 12, 5:29 pm
  #45  
 
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OP is so saying everything I've ever thought. The only think OP missed out was, for me, the crowning glory that at breakfast I REALLY hate it if I am expected to sit at a table with my colleagues rather than on my own if I wish.
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