Self Expression Magazine

Why I'm Not Planning My Co-Worker's Wedding Shower

Posted on the 25 January 2016 by Chasingjoy @chasing_joy
Why I'm Not Planning My Co-Worker's Wedding Shower Normally my blog posts are about things that I am doing, want to do, or have done to have more joy.  Today's blog post is different.  Instead, I am going to tell you about something I'm not going to do.  I am not planning my co-worker's wedding shower.  
Here is a little back ground info.  I have a day job where I work in an office environment.  It is normal to celebrate people's life events (weddings, baby showers, and retirements) by having a lunch, often in, but sometimes out of the office. A collection is taken to cover the lunch plus a gift for the person of honor. All of this is voluntary.
I have planned one of these lunches (a baby shower)  before and it is a lot of work.  I did have people helping me but It was still a lot.  It involved some time away from my desk and normal duties for decorating and coordinating with other co-workers.  It also involved some of my personal time going to the store to buy the decorations.  I planned that lunch because at the time we were between supervisors and I was basically the highest ranking person on my team at the time.  I felt it was my responsibility for the sake of the team's moral to plan the lunch.  I also recently planned our holiday lunch for this same, for the sake of the team's morale, reason.
I am done.  I will not be planning my co-workers wedding shower.  I know she is getting married in the next few weeks but so does everyone else on my team. Yet no one else has stepped up.  We have a supervisor now so this should not be my responsibility.  
I have been reading the book The Fringe Hours.  I mentioned it a couple weeks ago.  In one part of the book it talks about how women take on roles and responsibilities that they don't have to because they feel they should be able to do it all.  In the space for adding personal notes in the book I wrote that one of the roles that I take on unnecessarily at work is the role of peacemaker, cheerleader, and morale booster for my team.  I have taken on responsibilities that have not been assigned because I want the people on my team to feel good and supported at work.  Planning these lunches and ordering supplies are two examples.
Recently I read an article about sexism and racism in the workplace and things employers can do to minimize these biases.  One of the things it mentioned was how women are often tasked (or take on) activities that benefit the organization as a whole, things that boost morale or provide administrative support, but don't help them advance in their careers.  They take time away from their key tasks and the things they will be evaluated on to perform these other tasks.  The recommendation to the companies was to make sure that these types of duties are rotated among all employees, males and females.  I saw myself as I read the paragraph. If I were a man would I even be thinking about planning a party when I have work to do???
So, I have given you and myself two very valid reasons why I will not be planning my co-worker's luncheon but the main and most important reason is I simply don't want to do it.  It is not part of my job. It is a voluntary activity and I do not have to do it.   It has been a long time goal of mine to stop doing things I don't want to do.  Life is short and I want mine to be filled with joy not filled with activities that I don't want to do, that do not add value to my life.
Unfortunately even as I write this I feel guilty.  I worry that my co-worker will feel slighted if no one else steps up to the plate.  I wonder what negative things people will say about our team if we don't plan something for her.  But I am sticking to my guns.  I have a pretty significant role at my day job. They pay me pretty well to perform my key tasks not to plan parties.  I wold be taking time away from activities that could help me shine professionally to hang up streamers and set up food.  Most importantly it would not give me any joy but would feel like a burden that I would resent. 
I will not be planning my co-worker's wedding shower.  What roles have you taken on that you need to let go of?  What tasks do you perform in your job out of a self-imposed obligation that do not serve to advance your career?  What won't you be doing in the name of Chasing Joy.

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