I have always been against going to after-work drinks. I think as a black woman working in Corporate America, we are turned off because sometimes we are made to feel like an “other” or a piece in the puzzle that doesn’t necessarily fit. These situations are often awkward for us, (well for me at least).
Since I started working at my company, about four years ago, I can only remember going out with my colleagues five times. I dread when someone invites me out for drinks at work. A sense of doom comes over me, as I go through the possible white lies I could tell them to get myself out of the situation. However, I learned recently we have to bite the bullet and attend these work events, because it’s necessary if we want to advance our career, make connections, and understand how our office really functions (and the role everyone plays in it).
On this particular day, I had no idea I would be asked out for drinks. I headed to work like I normally would, reading my book The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Woman by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy Mclean, when I got to chapter 19 entitled Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. This chapter emphasized the importance of connecting with your colleagues and getting to know them on a personal level—asking them out for coffee or going out for drinks when you’re asked and if you are not asked, inviting yourself. Before getting off the train, I concluded that these authors were completely insane and there was no way I would ever invite myself to someone’s after-work drinks.
Around 3 PM, my favorite executives in the office, who also happens to be leaving the company, invited me out for drinks. Really? I politely thanked him for the invite but remembered it was Tuesday and I had to go to prayer meeting. When another co-worker asked if I was going, I told him about church—he replied, “You’re really strange, but you have to go out with us.” Now I felt guilty and anxious. My job is going through major changes and this could possibly be the last time we all get together; I also knew that if I didn’t go, I would feel guilty because he went out of his way to invite me. I couldn’t concentrate. The sweet sounds of Lauryn Hill playing through my headphones no longer soothed my soul, I had to go to drinks with my co-workers….THE HORROR. Continue reading “Surviving After Work Drinks”