Jun 20, 2013

Corporate Dinner Dos and Don'ts

Early in my corporate career with a very large digital imaging company, I attended a team building dinner. Our Manager encouraged spouses and significant others attend; consequently, one of my co-workers asked  a "friend " and not his wife.  Oh, and by the way, his friend's profession.....a "dancer". Just to be clear, she's was not a ballerina.

During dinner, the wife (Sandy) of one co-worker (Mike) appears upset and goes into the Ladies room.  After 10 minutes, Mike leans over to me and asks if I will check on his wife.  He whispers that her front tooth is missing and she believes she swallowed it eating dinner.  Concerned, I go in  and check on her.  She is clearly distraught  and not willing to leave the ladies room..

I return to the table to find the "dancer" reaching over to help herself with a sample of Sandy's Chicken Alfredo.  After a couple of bites, she bursts out with "Oh, I think I have a bone", and places the item into her napkin and right on the table.  

Oh, the horror on Mike's face!  This was no bone, this was Sandy's front tooth.  I calmly approached my coworker (yes, the one that brought the dancer) to explain the obvious. He was able to hand me the napkin with the tooth all without his friend noticing.  When I returned to Sandy in the ladies room, I explained that her husband found her tooth in her napkin.

To this day, I don't believe Sandy knows what really happened.  As for my co-worker, his career was cut short due to an extreme case of poor judgement.

While it may be tempting to stretch the classification of  "significant other" when encouraged to include yours to a corporate event,  think again!  Here are a few quick guidelines....

  • The problem with "significant other" is by its definition alone.  For some, this can mean a few dates. For others, this defines a long-term companion.  For those of you that know the difference, do the right thing.
    • If you can't decide if you have a significant other....go it alone 
  • While you may want to impress your new friend, or a date, this is not the time nor place.  This choice could be perceived as taking advantage of an earnest offer.  It's simply not worth it.
    • Don't take advantage of work offers. Do take your date out on your own dime.  
  • Show respect for your team and their guests..  When the purpose of outings is designed to to strengthen work and family relationships, don't ruin it for everyone else.   
    • If you can't spell their last name, attend alone.
Good luck!


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