I have a confession to make. I am not a team player. I’ve always thought I was a team player, (I have it listed on my resume as one of my wonderful qualities) and it isn’t that I don’t participate in a team setting, I just don’t like it. I prefer to exercise alone, shop alone, cook alone, and I truly enjoy being home alone. I like working near other people, I enjoy having co-workers to talk with or bounce an idea off of, but ultimately, I prefer to work on my own. I’ve been fairly lucky in previous jobs to be able to be a part of a small team – two or three other employees – or to be left pretty much alone to do what I want to do.
The problem has arisen at my current office. They are big on building a family culture amongst our group and now they have formed teams and committees and want to hold meetings and after work outings and…well, I don’t want to do any of those things. Call me a party pooper or a stick in the mud if you will, but after work, the very last thing I want to think about is work. After I leave the office, the very last people on Earth I want to hang out with are people from my office. I want to hang out with the people that I don’t see forty plus hours a week; my husband and kids. If I had a few spare minutes for social interaction, I’d like to visit an actual friend, not one of the technicians that make me insane on a daily basis. Eighteen of every twenty-four of my week-day hours are dedicated to getting ready for work, driving to work, being at work or sleeping. That leaves six hours a day for spending time with my family. And I still have to eat, cook, clean, poop and shop somewhere in those hours. Saturday and Sunday are all I have to keep me sane. Please don’t make me share those precious days with work people. Yet, the group emails are non-stop. Let’s get together for: Movie night at the drive in! or Potluck Friday! or Cupcakes and wine while we discuss our mission statement! They make me want to throw myself on the floor and flail like a cranky toddler. The worst part is after I politely decline, I get to hear about how awesome “the team” was for making it to the event, basically calling me, and the few other awesome people like me that didn’t go to the event, shit heads for not participating.
Maybe this stems from me not participating in sports as a child. I was in band and choir, and while you have to be mindful of fellow band mates and singers, it really isn’t the same as being on a softball team or cheerleading squad. Maybe this lack of participation has ruined my chance at an amazing career. Or maybe I just work in an office full of younger people with no responsibilities who think running a 5K with their co-workers every Saturday morning will get them ahead. My options are to continue to lie about being a team player and skillfully dodge what outings I can, or drink the Kool-Aid and force myself to take part. I haven’t decided yet. In the mean time Management, how about I show up Monday through Friday, do an excellent job being an optician and you pay me what we agreed upon at the time of hire. Isn’t that good enough?