[Ed Note: Do you have a question for next week? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org]
My firm has a women’s committee that organizes programs like lunches, networking events, and most recently mentoring “lunch bunches.” To my knowledge, the men in our firm are not invited to participate in these events. I don’t particularly care to commiserate with other women simply because we are the same gender. Other than one awkward lunch that I was cornered into, I have managed to avoid the all-female programs by virtue of a busy schedule. Unfortunately, I have received an inquiry from one of the “lunch bunch” organizers, specifically asking me if I will participate in the monthly lunch program. I really don’t want to participate, but I am concerned that snubbing her invitation will be offensive. How should I respond?
Hate the Game
Dear Hate the Game,
When friends have asked me to join their knitting groups, book clubs or women’s circles: my answers range anywhere from “absolutely not” to “hell no.” Why would I want to waste my time reading The Lovely Bones or cobbling together a scarf like some Colonial Williamsburg reenactor? I wouldn’t. So I empathize with your lunch bunch plight. Why anybody would want to discuss “How to Strike a Work-Life Balance” once a month, every month, is beyond me. I’m also not sure why women at the firm need a meeting, but the men do not.
Normally, you couldn’t pay me to attend a women’s lunch bunch, but these are not normal times. If one of the organizers specifically asked you to attend AND that person is senior to you, suck it up and go.* As torturous as hearing about the New Mothers Room may be, you don’t want there to be any ill will toward you in this era of layoffs. Don’t give them a reason to can you. Just show up. Bring a picture of the hunk you’re totally crushing on and a Judy Blume book to power you through.
*Editor’s note: if the lunch bunch organizer is junior to you, disregard above advice.
Elie crashes the meeting after the jump.