Girl Code vs. Awkward Work Event

I saw this in the New York Times yesterday and, frankly, I’m just not sure what to make of it.

How would I handle the situation?  I’d get a nice gift for the baby and find any reasonable excuse to be out of/ away from the office that day.

I absolutely understand why the woman who wrote the letter is uncomfortable participating in the shower. You don’t have to be a betrayed spouse to feel awkward about celebrating someone who apparently had no qualms about ripping apart a family (or at least felt no need to hide it).


4 thoughts on “Girl Code vs. Awkward Work Event”

  1. I think short of working at home or working in a sterile environment where nobody shares anything about themselves, you’re always going to be around people you don’t relate to on a personal or emotional level. There may be many you are turned off by. That said, there are also office politics and protocols that should be followed. If every woman who gets pregnant has a shower and is given a gift, and you’ve supported all of them (without perhaps even knowing the circumstances around conception), you should probably do the same in this situation. I’ve thrown in 5 bucks for plenty of gifts or signed plenty of cards for people I couldn’t care less about, or actively disliked. In an office situation, it’s best not to rock the boat with your moral stands. Odds are, this woman has said something or done something in her own past that people could throw back at her. What’s next, not having a birthday cake for someone because they voted differently than you? Refusing to sign a card because the recipient goes to a different church? The woman who wrote this letter is making it about herself. Reading it a second time, it’s very self-involved and self-important. If she can’t handle the atmosphere, she should find a job where everybody thinks and acts just like her.

    1. Yeah, I’ve chipped in the same $5 too, over and over. I have no doubt that fairly recent events in my life may/ do jade my perspective on this, but I think there’s a bit of a difference when you’re asked to celebrate someone’s love child and tasked with bringing a covered dish. It seems like if the letter writer could have gotten off with contributing a few bucks, signing a card, and calling it a day she would have gone along to get along, but it was the seemingly mandated greater involvement that had her questioning it all. I believe, to the letter writer, going all-in as she was asked to do was akin to endorsing her colleague’s behavior. That was seemingly beyond her comfort level. Was she overly critical? Perhaps. I’m not going to find fault with that though. I feel as though if the infidelity stigma attached more to betrayers than to the spouses who stay, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. I kind of applaud the folks who say that cheating isn’t acceptable or inevitable and who reject the notion that humans weren’t intended to be monogamous, even if they are the exception rather than the rule.

  2. I understand the whole office politics thing, and the importance of not rocking the boat as I work in an office. I generally feel happy for my colleagues when a happy event is going on for them and love to contribute. However, if I felt as uncomfortable as this woman does, I would not want to run the risk of having that come across as judgment. I would find a way to skip the event, send regrets and a lovely gift for the baby. I would not contribute to any funds for time off,either.

    A few months after D-day, a good friend of mine wanted me to help with a charity event to support prostitutes who were seeking a new life. Some of these women would be at the event.😮 I politely declined due to a horrendously busy schedule. 🙄 Nope. Don’t think I can stand around with a glass of wine in my hand chit-chatting with former prostitutes. But I applaud their desire to reform.

    1. Oh geez Maggie! I cannot imagine the look on your face when your friend made the request. 😱 I understand that she had no idea, but…Oy! My schedule would have suddenly filled up too.

      I have always worked in offices too, sometimes as a plebe, and then as I supervisor. It’s all tricky. I just laud the letter writer for giving a crap about the situation in the first place.

Please share if you've had a similar (or totally different) experience on your journey.