A few years ago I started a group to go out to lunch with. We called ourselves Workers Without Offices. The gatherings were in response to not having an office holiday party. The socialization that comes with working a steady job was one of the things I missed most about having an office job. The paycheck was another biggie.
We met on and off for a few years. Scheduled changed. Who could make it changed. Priorities changed. We met less and less frequently. In 2018 we only met once or twice. It was my hope by creating a FB group that others would initiate the lunches. Instead I heard from at least one person if I organized the outings more often, then more people would come. I pointed out she could do the inviting, too. While she agreed with me, she never did extend an invitation to the group.
I would talk about this group during job interviews as an example of my organizing events, but did not continue the lunches.
Last month I received my first invitation to an office holiday party in about 20 years. I reminisced about past parties. Mine were not wild.
At The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation we would gather in a manager's home. "Santa" would visit. One year "Mrs. Claus" (me) paid a visit instead.
International Schools Services used to have the most amazing holiday parties -- especially for someone who does not enjoy socializing. They bought us theater tickets, hired a bus, and sent us into NYC for a day. Must have been a pain for the secretary who made the arrangements, but it was awesome.
I do not recall what or if we had a holiday party at Rider University or Princeton Day School. I feel like we must have, but I have no recollection of it. At both schools we had off the week between Christmas and New Year's, which was quite generous, but I couldn't tell you a thing about holiday celebrations.
Brings me up to this year. The Bridge Academy recognizes the holidays are a busy time of year, so they held their party in late January at Leonardo's, a local, family-owned restaurant.
As you can see in the picture, Leonardo's keeps their restaurant decorated for Christmas through January for groups like us.
Neither Santa nor Mrs. Claus visited, nor did we see a Broadway show. Instead it was a great chance for me to better get to know my new co-workers and realize I no longer have a need for the Workers Without Offices group. While I'll still see many of the members individually, and keep in touch on social media, I will be stepping back from my role of group organizer.
And that feels good.