One of my New Year’s Resolutions, I just decided, is to get my website and blog off of this server and on to another one. I do not like the whole interface that Yahoo provides and it is ALWAYS hard to get to the page to write this blog on. I feel like Maxwell Smart going through all the doors with codes and keys and passwords to get here. I don’t have a lot of worry about anyone breaching my security and hacking my blog and writing terrible things. I think the two or three people that read this blog would understand.
I have been waiting for the past half hour for a Texas country artist to call me for an interview. I had forgotten the interview and scheduled a lunch and then remembered and cancelled the lunch and here I sit and no call. I wish I were at lunch instead.
But that’s not what I came to write about…
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I went to some lovely Christmas parties this year and I think three of them are worth reporting on.
The first was a Christmas party I did NOT go to.
My biggest job, the one I spend up to 30 hours a week doing, is for a pretty big corporation here in town. They do things in a corporate way. I am not an employee, I am a contractor, a consultant for them. I set my own hours and they pay me for my musical knowledge. It is a pretty good deal.
In late November, an email went out to everyone in the Austin office saying, “Save the date, December 9, for a company party!” I work among several employees that are full-time employees and a few that are like me. We all share a workspace. I heard the full-time employees discussing their party plans in early December and they were saying, “We have to RSVP by today, are you going?” I had not had an invitation to the party, only the Save the Date notice. Knowing how corporations are, I realized then and there that part-time employees or consultants were not invited to the party.
I truly was okay with that. If I were invited, I would feel an obligation to go and might need to buy something to wear. I’d have to try to get around to the decision-makers of the company so that they would know who I was and see that I was a team player and would love to have a full-time job with them. I would have to be memorable. And, geez, I don’t have time for that nonsense. Hire me or not, but don’t make me play games, has become my motto.
The next day I got an email from my immediate boss. She is very cool and easy to work with. I’ve known her 10 years now and she used to be Mark’s boss at one time. We both like/liked working for her. She was forwarding along her eVite to me and the other part-time contract consultants and also to the interns that now work for us. She passed it along with the note, “You’re welcome to come to this party.” By this time I figured it was a corporate policy to not invite the part-timers, so I declined.
Then the next day my poor boss had to send a “dis-invitation” to us and tell us that we were NOT invited to the company party. Full-time employees only, no part-timers, no contractors, no clients, no interns, no spouses even. By this time, even the full-timers were pretty much saying, “Why would I want to go stand around at a Christmas party with people I see five days a week?” I don’t know if the party was a success or not or if anyone went to it. In these days of belt-tightening, I think the employees would have been just as happy if the company had foregone the party this year.
So I was NOT invited to the party where I work. Funny, then, that I WAS invited to a party where I don’t work and really never have.
In 2008, I was working for Marsha Milam Music, booking bands and setting up shows. We decided to rent some space with a law firm downtown where a dear friend of ours worked. We moved in and I quickly became friends with the others that worked there. They were always completely inclusive and invited us to their office Happy Hours (where the company even paid!) and had a birthday cake and celebration for me, just like they did for all of their own employees. Last year, while I was still officing there, I was included in their office Christmas party and we had a lovely time eating and then going to see Raul Malo together. These are fun people.
We moved out of that office in April and I stopped working for Marsha soon after that. Of course I am still friends with the people there, but didn’t expect to get invited to their Christmas party. So when I was, I declined. I said, “I don’t work there, you shouldn’t include me.” But they were insistent. They were sweet, so I went to that party.
Now that was a nice Christmas party. We ate a fabulous sit-down meal at the Belmont downtown and there were door prizes and great conversation. Some of the people brought their kids with them. Everyone was convivial and welcoming. We had a gift exchange and there were lots of laughs as everyone tried to “steal” gifts and get the best thing. I stole a great big travel mug that can plug into the car power or even into a computer USB port to keep the coffee warm. I scored. Lovely people and a great party.
Between the two extremes, I had another lovely party. The good doctor that I work for had a Christmas party. In year’s past, we have mingled our Christmas party with a larger pain management clinic. We used to share offices with them and we work closely with them on some things. But the parties have been a bust because they have about 100 people there and we have about 10. We don’t know any of them and they don’t want to know us, so we hang out in our little corner.
This year, we told Dr. Stern that we didn’t want to join up with the pain management clinic. We don’t share offices anymore so it didn’t seem like we needed to. We told him just a get-together at his house would be enough, or we could just go out after work together and that would be fun.
But he and his wife planned a lovely night for us. On a Friday two weeks before Christmas, they had us all come to their country club for dinner. Everyone was there and all brought their spouses except for me (Mark was out of town working) and a doctor who isn’t married. So there were 10 of us and we had a great dinner with appetizers and desserts and drinks and lots of good conversation. The setting was lovely, right by the fireplace in a beautifully decorated room, and it was a very nice sharing of a Christmas experience.
These parties reminded me of the horrible Christmas parties Mark and I endured at ABC Radio Networks in Dallas. I think I’ve written about them before. The worst experience was when we milled and visited and suggested to a couple that we sit down at the big 10-top tables that were set up. No, they said, they already had a seat over here with their department. We mill and visit some more and suggest it to another co-worker. No, he was going over here with these guys. After more rejection, I said to Mark, let’s just go sit at a big table by ourselves and let others come to us. “The tables will fill up and someone will sit with us,” I said. We sat, alone, waiting. The raucous table next to us was filled with people from the accounting department and they had all 10 seats filled. A couple walked toward us. We got our hopes up. Without a word, they pulled 2 chairs from our table and squeezed into the packed table with the accountants. We finished our meal, ate our dessert and split. Miserable.