I’ll come straight up and be honest with you on my problem.
Our company consist of more than 800 employees and every year, it is a tradition that our office will hold a year-end party in the office. It comes with a creative theme that everyone is pressured to adhere or risk being outcast. I’ve seen it happened first hand.
For the past few years, the theme has always been color-based so it’s easy to dig out your old clothes to match the theme. Like the black and white theme last year which was pretty straight forward since everyone have a black or white outfit that they can wear.
But this year, the theme is “Game of Thrones” which means you have to wear costumes to the party.
I don’t earn much from my job and whatever I earned, it goes to my 3 kids’ living expenses. I don’t have any extras to spend on something so trivial. Even if I do have money leftover from my salary, it goes to my kids’ college funds. Even if I do rent a costume, it’ll cost me money.
I thought office parties are meant for the employees’ enjoyment and to create opportunities for us to mingle when it is hard to do so during our working time. As much as I do enjoy the parties, this time round it stresses me out.
All my co-workers are excitingly discussing what to wear and where to get their costumes. I already feel that I am an outcast since I can’t join in the conversation.
I did go to my boss with my problem but he just shrugged his shoulders and say I can don’t come for the party. What should I do?
Oh dear. You shouldn’t have this problem to begin with. Someone planning this party did not think thoroughly enough.
Not going to the office party is not the end of the world. If fact, if you feel uncomfortable, just bow out. I don’t think you’ll have any fun if you are made to feel self-consciousness. On the other hand, there is nothing to stop you from turning up the party in a nice dress.
I’m sure you’ll won’t be the only one who can’t afford getting a costume. Try to gather those who can’t or won’t participate in the costume theme. There will be people who just don’t like to wear costumes or don’t believe in the theme or too busy to dress up.
Strength in numbers, you probably will find comfort in that group and who knows, you may make some new friends in your company.
Meanwhile, if there is a possibility that you can feedback on the party, please be positive about it. Whoever plan this party probably took their personal time outside of their working hours to help set up, hoping everyone will have fun. You can even go to the organiser and let him or her know about your dilemma.
If they are considerate, they’ll help you find a solution. Perhaps an alternative theme can be added on to the main one. Something like colors of the “Game of Thrones”.
I’m no fashion guru but a bright idea just came into my mind. You can just dig out any long dress and use a little creativity on your side to craft out a crown or even a sword.
Get an old blanket or shawl to double up as a cape. To make it fun, get your kids to help you!
Wear it with confidence and pride, you’ll see an example to others that you don’t need to spend a single cent on a costume to fit in the theme and have fun.
Honestly, you don’t have to bow down to peer pressure. Like you said, office parties is to reward not punish employees who has worked their arses off for the whole year.
So go and enjoy yourself!
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