I’m Your Boss, and You’re Right, This Virtual Happy Hour Is Completely Mandatory

Listen, I care about you – all of you, equally, but just slightly less than I care about myself. But this isn’t about me. This is about us coming together as a team during these unprecedented times to support each other while still adding value to our employer. That’s why, when I send you a […] The post I’m Your Boss, and You’re Right, This Virtual Happy Hour Is Completely Mandatory appeared first on Robot Butt.

I’m Your Boss, and You’re Right, This Virtual Happy Hour Is Completely Mandatory

Listen, I care about you – all of you, equally, but just slightly less than I care about myself. But this isn’t about me. This is about us coming together as a team during these unprecedented times to support each other while still adding value to our employer.

That’s why, when I send you a meeting invite called “Virtual Happy Hour” and add all of you as “optional” attendees, it should be obvious that there’s nothing optional about it. This is the after-hours break with your colleagues that, despite never asking for, you have earned; I don’t see why I need to tell you upfront that your next performance review will include a new metric rating your ability to switch from driving new business and influencing key stakeholders at 5:59 p.m. to, at around 6:01 p.m., debating IPAs and exchanging humorous yet impersonal anecdotes of family members and pets interrupting your earlier meetings.

You will be expected to consume at least one unit of alcohol in full view of myself and your colleagues, and to share why you selected that particular drink with the group. Your anecdotes should be more interesting than “it’s the only bottle of wine I had at home” but not as TMI as “I have a preexisting health condition and can’t leave my home to buy a different beverage, and the liquor stores in our area don’t offer home delivery.” So far, my plan is to tease that goofball Tom about his choice of beverage, regardless of what it turns out to be; he appreciates our banter and we’re buddies, even though I wield a disproportionate amount of power over his career trajectory and compensation.

Please note that this virtual happy hour should not feel like the other times this week that you’ve drank alone in your home office, because I am requiring this to be fun. Also, if your webcams or microphones are turned off at any time, it will be reflected in the new “Team Player” metric of your next performance review (which I’m also not going to tell you about until the performance review).

To keep the good times rolling for the full sixty minutes that we must all enjoy spending together, I have prepared a trivia game incorporating bland details from our personal lives (e.g., alma maters, last names, the states in which you all reside) as well as fun facts about our employer. That jokester Tom is probably going to try to leave after his first drink to “help his wife with the kids and dog” or “see his two-month-old for the first time all day because he was in back-to-back meetings” but I know it’s part of this bit we have where he asks for a break and I tell him to shut the hell up; I feel fortunate that all the people who report to me are also my friends.

And don’t worry, I’ll only mention next week’s quarterly business review once, because, ultimately, this virtual happy hour is designed to make you think that I care about you as people.

In these challenging times that I refuse to directly call “a global pandemic that will last an unknown number of months or years,” I have little interest in hearing negative feedback about how you’re working more hours from home than you did in the office. I don’t see what’s wrong with being forced to blow off steam with the same people with whom you’ve already spent the last ten hours on calls. Do you really want nasty thoughts about the mounting death toll and imminent collapse of our fundamentally corrupt economy – from which our employer has benefited – to find their way into your heads before you start your nightly ceiling-staring sessions? Isn’t it more fun to just work for twenty hours and be too tired for thoughts during the remaining four?

To start our happy hour, I’m going to ask everyone to share two highlights from the week, one personal and one professional. It’s fine to have a single answer to both questions, and for you all to say the same thing.

In fact, there is only one correct answer, and it is this happy hour.

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