Ah, Memory Monday: The day of the week when I reminisce about an old job. This week, I'm going back to my old favorite for MMs: My most recent job in Wherethehellisthat, MA.
When I started that job, it was the beginning of December and the holiday season. The company I worked for was a family business, with the type of family-owned business practices that make your head spin (the HR department was the boss's wife). Everyone was very close, something that I could tell right away. One of my coworkers had even invited the boss & One-Woman HR to her wedding and frequently went out with the accountant, the office manager, and their husbands. This was more than the "hey, let's grab a drink after work" environment. This was a "why don't you come over for Thanksgiving dinner?" kind of environment.
At first, I thought I liked the idea of a close-knit office. I sort of had no choice but to like these 4 people because they were the only 4 people I saw every day. It wasn't like I could make other friends within the company or avoid them at lunch. This was why I was an easy target for Operation "Ho Ho Hose the New Guy."
It was my third day of working at this place. I was asking my co-worker if there was anything else I should be working on, when she said, "Actually, I've been meaning to ask you something." What would it be: Is there something in my teeth? Do you celebrate Christmas? Can you recommend a restaurant in Boston? Do you like mushrooms? Is that your natural hair color? What?
She continued, "Would you want to contribute to the gift we got for our boss and his family?" Huh. Well there was a sticky situation. If I said yes, I had to contribute $28 bucks for hand-made Christmas ornaments they got for each member of the 7-person family. I didn't even know these people yet, and I certainly wasn't ready to invite them to my wedding. BUT, if I said no, I would never be invited to Thanksgiving Dinner at their house. Not that I wanted to be: They lived on a farm and raised their own turkeys that they killed day-of, something I wasn't ready to experience. I did want to make a good impression, however, as I was still new and didn't have any other options for office friends.
So I said yes and paid up. Looking back on this, I feel a little like I got hosed.