Should i go to the team building if i am the only girl?


#1

I am the only girl in a team of 10 boys. The boss is organising a team building in a secluded caban in the mountains and he is asking me why i don't want to go. However the idea of going there the only girl (also married) and staying there alone with 10 boys is not very appealing to me or to my husband.

Can you tell me if i should refuse them and what should i tell them?


#2

That team building seems to have been conceived in not so good taste. That sounds like the boss wants someone out but is unable to tell the person concerned in a more polite and frank way.
If I were in your shoes, I will start looking for another place to work where there is more respect for human sensibilities.
On a lighter side, the boss may be expecting you to say no. Chances are, the boss just want to find out how will you handle threats to your married life thus showing how firmly loyal can you be to the company. The boss may thinking along the lines like a loyal wife can eventually be a loyal employee.
Still, the thing is to prepare yourself and tell the boss, earnestly, you won't go.


#3

I'd decline the offer and if the boss insists, ask him if his wife would approve of him going on a team building excursion to a secluded cabin with 10 other women.

I'm not sure what prompts people to think they can expect stuff like this from others, especially their subordinates. A friend of mine was volunteered to attend a conference by his boss a couple years ago. The boss then told him that his newly-divorced, emotionally distraught, attractive female coworker would be going with him. It was several states away and due to budget cutbacks they were told they'd have to drive together. The boss then strongly suggested they share an efficiency suite. He said it had a separate bedroom plus a pullout bed in the main room, but a single bathroom. He added that it shouldn't be a problem since, "we're all adults." My friend refused to share a room, but the boss wouldn't drop the issue until the coworker refused to go on the trip at all because of it.


#4

[quote="Gordon_Sims, post:3, topic:249165"]
He added that it shouldn't be a problem since, "we're all adults."

[/quote]

yes, this explanation is alwasy "precious" with "we're all adults".:D


#5

I wouldn't go. I think it's inappropriate and inconsiderate of your boss to schedule something like that where you would not have privacy. Your boss could have scheduled a day-long outing instead.

Tell him that you appreciate being included, but that neither you nor your husband are comfortable with the situation, and that in the future if these team-building outings are only a day long, or located in a more suitable location for a married woman, you'll be happy to go. Make sure he understands you're not opposed to the team-building part, but make him aware that his choice of environment is not appropriate.


#6

I would say not to go. Explain to your boss that even if you are all adults, it is still inappropriate and, therefore, not not an acceptable way of team building. Then write up a nice e-mail reiterating your reasons for not going and send it to your boss. Make it polite, professional and as non-confrontational as possible, but also make sure that you note that your not attending should have no bearing on your employment. Make sure you do it before the event. When you send it, copy another e-mail address (a yahoo or gmail or some other non-company address) just in case it happens to go missing later.

Peace

Tim


#7

A couple of things here.

First, you refer to this as "Boys and girls" not "men and women"...but it is the "boss" who put this together...Could I ask what are the approximate ages of the people involved here?

Second, I'd want to more about the arrangements and activities involved in this "retreat".

Third, there is the question of trust. If you are a "team member", then it is good if you can trust the other members of your team. Likewise they need to be able to trust you...Which also means respect

Fourth, if there are issues of trust and respect that are of concern to you, then by all means do not go.

Just know that this will likely have a negative consequence on your job situation, but better to serve the Lord than mammon.

Peace
James


#8

Guys can be so dense sometimes. Managers can be so dense sometimes.

It is inappropriate to have a team building overnight in a secluded place with only one woman present. If the team was 6 and 4 or something like that, it might be okay.

This is actually an interesting problem - let's have a team building activity that one of the members can't attend. That becomes a problem for HR.

Who approved this? (yeah, just ranting)


#9

[quote="JRKH, post:7, topic:249165"]
A couple of things here.

First, you refer to this as "Boys and girls" not "men and women"...but it is the "boss" who put this together...Could I ask what are the approximate ages of the people involved here?

Second, I'd want to more about the arrangements and activities involved in this "retreat".

Third, there is the question of trust. If you are a "team member", then it is good if you can trust the other members of your team. Likewise they need to be able to trust you...Which also means respect

Fourth, if there are issues of trust and respect that are of concern to you, then by all means do not go.

Just know that this will likely have a negative consequence on your job situation, but better to serve the Lord than mammon.

Peace
James

[/quote]

Well boys and girls is wrongly put. Yes, we are men and women. We are all around 30 years old and younger.

i don't know anything about arrangments, sleeping arrangments and activities. Right now i only know that we will be staying at a caban.

About trust and respect. I have collegues that i know i can trust, i work on the sanme shift with them. But since we work on shifts there are collegues that i don't know at all, only their names and faces.

The most important thing still is that my husband doesn't like it. He trusts me 100% that i will not try anything. However he the stituation is not very nice.


#10

Perhaps you could ask your manager if your husband can come along and share a cabin given the circumstances? Or at least some other female co-worker that has a vague connection with your department.

Either way, don't put yourself in a situation you are not comfortable with. Your job is important, but not that important.


#11

My only concern as a manager is if your workplace is truly 11 persons and you are the only woman. Even in IT this is pretty rare.

Leadership/team building things are NOT cheap and usually ment for the coheasion of the unit. I'd propose to the boss a few scenerios before you back out...a female coworker in another department, a secretary, or even a regional manager.

The other suggestion (that your husband come along, atleast for sleeping arrangments) is not a bad idea either.


#12

[quote="purplesunshine, post:11, topic:249165"]
My only concern as a manager is if your workplace is truly 11 persons and you are the only woman. Even in IT this is pretty rare.

Leadership/team building things are NOT cheap and usually ment for the coheasion of the unit. I'd propose to the boss a few scenerios before you back out...a female coworker in another department, a secretary, or even a regional manager.

The other suggestion (that your husband come along, atleast for sleeping arrangments) is not a bad idea either.

[/quote]

There are female coworkers but none in the IT department, in economical or administrative. I believe in the IT department i pretty alone:D

However the idea with the husband is good. But without him i'm not going.


#13

[quote="cristyd, post:12, topic:249165"]

However the idea with the husband is good. But without him i'm not going.

[/quote]

I think that is the perfect response. And no one should ever question your discomfort of being the only woman present with 10 men in such a situation.

~Liza


#14

[quote="purplesunshine, post:11, topic:249165"]
My only concern as a manager is if your workplace is truly 11 persons and you are the only woman. Even in IT this is pretty rare.

[/quote]

Eh... not really rare... about the same ratio in engineering for me...

[quote="cristyd, post:12, topic:249165"]
There are female coworkers but none in the IT department, in economical or administrative. I believe in the IT department i pretty alone:D

However the idea with the husband is good. But without him i'm not going.

[/quote]

Yeah, I think that's the only suggestion I'd make (about having husband along), but besides all this I'm still trying to wrap my head around the necessity for an overnight "team building exercise"... I just don't really get that. Maybe an offsite activity during the work day... but overnight? That just seems so odd to me. :confused:


#15

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:14, topic:249165"]
Eh... not really rare... about the same ratio in engineering for me...

[/quote]

I dunno. It seems to be getting less and less. Although engineering and IT are still hevily rateded towards guys, I feel like mechanics are often the only guy-dominated business that I see.

Yeah, I think that's the only suggestion I'd make (about having husband along), but besides all this I'm still trying to wrap my head around the necessity for an overnight "team building exercise"... I just don't really get that. Maybe an offsite activity during the work day... but overnight? That just seems so odd to me. :confused:

People are at their weakest after a long day and early in the morning. It can make sence to do an overnight becuase it's difficult to keep up bariers for more than 10-12 hours.


#16

[quote="purplesunshine, post:15, topic:249165"]
I dunno. It seems to be getting less and less. Although engineering and IT are still hevily rateded towards guys, I feel like mechanics are often the only guy-dominated business that I see.

People are at their weakest after a long day and early in the morning. It can make sence to do an overnight becuase it's difficult to keep up bariers for more than 10-12 hours.

[/quote]

Really? So this is a *technique *that's used to break down barriers? :o I think I'd refuse to go just out of principle, let alone the gender dynamics.


#17

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:16, topic:249165"]
Really? So this is a *technique *that's used to break down barriers? :o I think I'd refuse to go just out of principle, let alone the gender dynamics.

[/quote]

Why do you think they send kids on retreats? And psycologically the Saturday night of a weekend retreat is the most psycologically powerful. (and retreats such as Steubenville uses this to their advantage)


#18

[quote="purplesunshine, post:17, topic:249165"]
Why do you think they send kids on retreats? And psycologically the Saturday night of a weekend retreat is the most psycologically powerful. (and retreats such as Steubenville uses this to their advantage)

[/quote]

they send kids to retreats to make friends. I don't need to make friends, i have enought friends.

Honestly i think that a team building that is more then having beer togheter, going bowling or having a BBQ is useless and anoing in my point of view.

Everybody has his own family, friends, children, personal problems. A weekend away for the job is for me waisted time when i could have done something for myself or for my family or for my friends. I already loose weekend and nights working on shifts, i already have a limited time.

Also i don't see the point of a team building for a team in which we are working in shifts and some of them i will never work with personally.

And if the boss really wants a team building then i expect he choses a location where i will feel confortable or a situation in which i will feel comfortable. I don't care how much it costs. It was not my idea and i honestly belive we don't need it.


#19

[quote="purplesunshine, post:17, topic:249165"]
Why do you think they send kids on retreats? And psycologically the Saturday night of a weekend retreat is the most psycologically powerful. (and retreats such as Steubenville uses this to their advantage)

[/quote]

This is for WORK, not a spiritual retreat... :confused:

[quote="cristyd, post:18, topic:249165"]
they send kids to retreats to make friends. I don't need to make friends, i have enought friends.

Honestly i think that a team building that is more then having beer togheter, going bowling or having a BBQ is useless and anoing in my point of view.

Everybody has his own family, friends, children, personal problems. A weekend away for the job is for me waisted time when i could have done something for myself or for my family or for my friends. I already loose weekend and nights working on shifts, i already have a limited time.

Also i don't see the point of a team building for a team in which we are working in shifts and some of them i will never work with personally.

And if the boss really wants a team building then i expect he choses a location where i will feel confortable or a situation in which i will feel comfortable. I don't care how much it costs. It was not my idea and i honestly belive we don't need it.

[/quote]

Yeah, the more and more I think about this it makes me cringe... time away from families on the weekend??? So not worth it.

Good luck... I know it's not easy to decline things like this, but I think it's the right choice.


#20

Cristy,
Thanks for the clarifications. It helps.

I think that basically there is not enough information to make a truly informed decision on whether to go or not. Without knowing the sleeping arrangements, or the activities, etc. it seems this is more of a "knee-jerk" response to the "secluded cabin" aspect.

I'd definitely be asking for more detailed information.

Asking if you husband can go might be OK or it might not.

It might be seen as a distraction to the point of the retreat, team building within the unit. Additionally, if your husband is permitted to go, what about the wives/girlfriends of the other participants.

Overall - I think that it is important that you sit down with your boss and discuss it. It might also be fruitful to sit down with the entire team (and you husband) and discuss it (if this is possible).

In short, make an effort to try and resolve the matter ahead of time so that your boss sees your concerns, knows you are putting forth effort, and hopefully will act with maturity and sensitivity.

Peace
James


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