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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 21, 12, 2:51 pm
  #1  
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I don't like socialising with my colleagues on business trips

One thing bugs me when I am on business travel. It's all this socialising I am expected to do!

Let me explain: When travelling on business, especially when doing trade shows, everything seems to revolve around drink. A drink here, a drink there, going out for drinks after dinner, before dinner, during dinners. My company's alcohol policy is liberal so you can claim for drinks on business travels.

When I travel on business I just want to go do my job - customer meetings, trade shows etc. and then head straight back to my hotel. Maybe order room service, go for a swim in the pool, have a massage, or go for a walk. Or - just chill out on the big hotel bed, enjoy not having to clean up after myself no matter what I do, and just watch a film on the hotel movie service or even read a good book.

Yet I am expected to go out for "team dinners", or even worse - just "drinks". Alcohol does nothing for me, so the drinks themselves have no value to me. Standing around in a loud bar does nothing for me either. Intelligent conversation in a quiet place would be great, but there are just so many topics you can't discuss with your colleagues conversation becomes tame and uninspiring. Also, why should I go out with my colleagues - they are just people I work with, not my friends. I get along with them professionally but when I am off duty I just want time to myself.

Many of my colleagues have kids. I don't. They tell me that their lives at home are so regimented that when they finally get to go away they let their hair down and stay out until 4AM. Also, some of them have told me they don't want to come back to an empty hotel room - they find it depressing - and stay out as long as they can and then just go to their rooms to sleep.

Am I the only one who feels like this? Some of my colleagues think I am grumpy. I'm not. I just don't like all this going out business.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 3:53 pm
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This is why I left "Corporate America" many many moons ago. I am not a company guy that likes to socialize with co-workers. I did it because I had to as an employee. Now? I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. It's my company, and I choose not to drink (because I do not drink). I choose not to socialize in business (because I do not enjoy talking shop until 4 AM - especially with someone I have been working with since 8 AM).

In the corporate world, I do not know if you really have a choice. I did it for 20 years. That was long enough.

So yes, I agree with you. These days, I travel, and when my work is done, I go back to my room and do whatever the heck I want. Read my Nook, order a movie, go to a club and work out, or MEET FRIENDS (not co-workers) for dinner. It's what I like to do, and it's one of the perks for running my own business.

I personally found that trade shows and long after-hours socializing and "networking" were a huge waste of my time and money. Drinking alcohol until the wee hours may be a fun game for 20 year olds, but not for me. Those days are LONG over. Maybe others disagree. To each their own, but it's not my idea of a rich and rewarding life.

And, it's sure as heck not my idea of how to be productive and successful in business. At least now that I am running the show.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 4:18 pm
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Originally Posted by RobbieRunner View Post
This is why I left "Corporate America" many many moons ago. I am not a company guy that likes to socialize with co-workers. I did it because I had to as an employee. Now? I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. It's my company, and I choose not to drink (because I do not drink). I choose not to socialize in business (because I do not enjoy talking shop until 4 AM - especially with someone I have been working with since 8 AM).

In the corporate world, I do not know if you really have a choice. I did it for 20 years. That was long enough.

So yes, I agree with you. These days, I travel, and when my work is done, I go back to my room and do whatever the heck I want. Read my Nook, order a movie, go to a club and work out, or MEET FRIENDS (not co-workers) for dinner. It's what I like to do, and it's one of the perks for running my own business.

I personally found that trade shows and long after-hours socializing and "networking" were a huge waste of my time and money. Drinking alcohol until the wee hours may be a fun game for 20 year olds, but not for me. Those days are LONG over. Maybe others disagree. To each their own, but it's not my idea of a rich and rewarding life.

And, it's sure as heck not my idea of how to be productive and successful in business. At least now that I am running the show.
+1 - I agree 100%
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Old Jan 21, 12, 5:07 pm
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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.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by polar_b View Post
Many of my colleagues have kids. I don't. They tell me that their lives at home are so regimented that when they finally get to go away they let their hair down and stay out until 4AM. Also, some of them have told me they don't want to come back to an empty hotel room - they find it depressing - and stay out as long as they can and then just go to their rooms to sleep.

Am I the only one who feels like this? Some of my colleagues think I am grumpy. I'm not. I just don't like all this going out business.
They find it depressing to get some alone time and solitude? Amazing.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by polar_b View Post
Am I the only one who feels like this? Some of my colleagues think I am grumpy. I'm not. I just don't like all this going out business.
Absolutely not. I don't socialize at the end of a day on business trips, especially at the end of a day at a trade show. GOD, you have to be pleasant and nice all day, the last thing you want to do is hang out with those people at night as well. I need me time at the end of a working day. If I am in a city where my friends live I want to see them for dinner, not the people I just spent the day working with........
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Old Jan 21, 12, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by polar_b View Post
Am I the only one who feels like this?
No. (but it does depend on the colleagues)

My guess is it's an attribute of your corporate culture (because they pay) but members of any organization get together on their own dime too, so it's also a basic social need for some folks.

... why should I go out with my colleagues
The corporation may view this as "Team Building" and such. Not participating may impact career advancement.

Can you disengage from some of these events in a way that doesn't screw up your advancement in the corporation? (or a reference if you leave down the road.)

Maybe go to the team dinners, but show up late and leave early to the drinking-only events -- "need to check something for tomorrow." If you prefer smaller crowds, perhaps try and pull two or three people out of the herd to 'go do something' and while it won't be a solitary activity like reading, it may be a way to comply with the social norms of the company in a way that's more pleasant to you than the bacchanalia.

... when they finally get to go away they let their hair down and stay out until 4AM
A lot of people do that.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 7:19 pm
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I agree. I try to avoid business dinners at all costs. They always last 3 hours, because when people are charging dinner to the company they always have drinks, appetizers, dessert, and coffee. It becomes unbearable.
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Old Jan 21, 12, 9:25 pm
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polar_b - I know EXACTLY how you feel. I just want a little time to myself after a day like that.

Originally Posted by gungadin View Post
No , I don't think you get private time unless you are asleep.
I am very glad that I do not work for you.
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Old Jan 22, 12, 5:13 am
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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.
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Old Jan 22, 12, 5:26 am
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If you do drink, I'd say join them for one beer or so and then return to your room. If pressed for an explanation, simply explain that you are tired, or need to catch up on some schoolwork, or some other pleasant excuse. Spending a little off duty time with your co-workers isn't the end of the world, but in the end, only do what you are comfortable with. If that means absolutely no extra time, so be it. Complete isolation, however, may not benefit your career if that is something you are interested in.
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Old Jan 22, 12, 5:40 am
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I look at myself as quite fortunate in this situation since the company I am with all are very down to earth. We have the usual office banter, sports etc... and during lunches there isn't the "expenses" mentality of ordering more than you would on your own pocket which makes things more natural.
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Old Jan 22, 12, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by OverThereTooMuch View Post
polar_b - I know EXACTLY how you feel. I just want a little time to myself after a day like that.

I am very glad that I do not work for you.

Exactly why I left my "Job" and started my own company.

I do not believe in servitude at any level. No free time except when you "sleep"? Nope. This lifestyle is definitely NOT for me!
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Old Jan 22, 12, 8:32 am
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Chalk me up as another +1 on this thread. I've always hated the "go out for drinks every night while on the road and on company dime" culture, and I resisted it for years, sacrificing possible advancement, and I finally went independent.

Related, I also hated during the years I worked for a consulting firm as an employee and getting caught in those "who picks up the check" situations with teammates working for the same firm and billing the same customer. If you're the poor schmuck who has to do so one of those nights, you have to write up the justification on your expense report including the names of all the attendees and further explanation that "so-and-so picked it up Tue night so I picked it up Wed night...", constantly risking getting the expense report rejected by consulting firm management worried that the customer might question the expense. I solved the problem by adopting a policy of ALWAYS requesting separate checks (also since I don't drink...thus cheaper tab), and of course this often made me a pariah among "the group" (although I also know that some other teammates were secretly relieved that someone else had the moxie to do what they wanted to (request the separate checks) but didn't have the nerve to do), but guess what, I didn't care...I accounted for my own expenses and no one else's, my amounts always fell within expected weekly limits, and my expense reports NEVER got rejected and that's all I care(d) about.

Last edited by drat19; Jan 22, 12 at 8:41 am
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Old Jan 22, 12, 8:38 am
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Take your phone/iPad and do emails the whole time.

Next time say you have too much work and everyone will believe you
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