I’ve mentioned before that many on my team are big into Halloween. I think it started with one person but she’s very persuasive and got others to dress up as well. Strange because most of my group is very introverted but maybe they enjoy the opportunity to step outside themselves and be somebody different for a day. In the long grind that is work, setting aside time to have fun is often the best thing you can do.
For the longest time, I didn’t join in. But then I started to feel like I was missing out on the fun. Besides, at roughly the same time, I started doing solo routines in my dancing and we started trying to have outfits that were related to the song. So if I was doing it in dance, why not do it for work. My pop culture references are all dated so I’ve gone back to the 80’s and 90’s the last couple of years and the same will be true this year.
And, in most years, we’d make up 80-90% of the people in the building who showed up in costume. We became kind of like a tourist attraction as people would show up during the day to see the various costumes. The attention was kind of secondary. It was just a day to cut loose and have a little fun. And, if all of the other managers were too tight to participate, so be it.
Well, last week, they sent a flier around to announce that we were going to have a costume contest and that everyone should bring themed treats so we could do a little work Halloween party. Now, you may be thinking that this is really nice of them and wouldn’t it be cool to work in a place that encouraged this sort of thing. And, I suppose I should really think that way, but I’m kind of having the opposite reaction to it.
Maybe this is just the individual coming out but there was something nice about just wearing costumes for the fun of putting on a costume for the day. Maybe some secret part of me kind of enjoyed sticking it to the corporate norms for just one day. Now, you are going to have a bunch of people deciding to put on a costume because they think it will score brownie points. Already had one person come ask how many of us were dressing up and wanted to know what we were going to be so she could decide what to do. We didn’t tell. Part of the fun is the reveal on Halloween.
I don’t need a contest. My costume is a cult TV show. The problem is that Firefly is basically a space western. The brown coat has symbolism for the show but it does kind of look like generic cowboy wear. I don’t want to spend time answering the same stupid question “Who are you supposed to be”. I mean I do get that question but it seems like it would be multiplied if I’m supposed to be in some stupid contest. And, besides, if you haven’t seen the show, how can you fairly judge the authenticity of my costume. A couple of years ago, I nailed the Dread Pirate Roberts (Inconceivable) and so many people thought I was Zorro. Sigh. Get your pop culture references correct, people. Sorry, went off on a little tangent there. Actually don’t care about most people. I’m doing Firefly because I loved the show and the characters. I just hate having to answer the question.
And, in general, I loathe work pitch ins. Boy, I’m really sounding like an anti-social type, aren’t I. I’m actually not but I’m just selectively social. I don’t cook or bake for other people – who needs the silent judging. And I don’t really want to take the time to go buy some Halloween related treat from our local grocery stores. Besides, who needs to sit around and eat all that. So I’ll probably just end up skipping the whole thing. I don’t know, there is just something sad to me about the work pitch in. It seems so forced and cliched.
Maybe its perfect for this to be on Halloween because we all have to wear masks at work. There may be a few people you end up becoming friends with but everyone else is just somebody you know who you have to be friendly to because its work and we all have to be nice at work. And I really hate all the phony small talk and work talk that goes on.
Well, I’ve probably sucked all the fun out of this for you. Here’s my last problem with this. Right now, the atmosphere at work sucks. There is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion and nobody seems to be able to get any good answers on where we are going and what we are going to be doing. I think that frustration has drifted up to the highest levels so maybe there is some acknowledgement of that. I can just see the group of “leaders” sitting around discussing it. “What do we do to get people engaged?” “Hey, what about a Halloween costume thing. They’ll love it!!” I mean if you think forced fun at work is going to get people jazzed up, then you really aren’t thinking clearly. I know some people will act all happy and excited but they are the types who’d act happy and excited no matter what proclamation comes from up top.
Yes, it is nice that they are doing this. But I don’t think it is coming from a genuine place and that’s what bugs me a bit. Still going to wear my costume though. I didn’t put all that work into it to just sit on the sidelines.