Woman Says Her Boss Told Her To Socialize With Coworkers Or Get Fired So She Left

@moodynomad333/TikTok

Over the last few years of the pandemic in particular, we have all seen a stark shift in company culture. The old way — sitting in stuffy offices for eight hours a day, every day, for your entire life — has become highly demonized, especially in younger minds. The new way — staying home, keeping work and life VERY apart, and not jumping to hit above or beyond — has been embraced by younger workers.

And a clash is inevitable.

Take @moodynomad333, a TikToker who has bumped into just this issue. She wants to stay purely professional in her work at the marketing department of an architecture firm.

moodynomad333 / TikTok

“All the architects and designers would hang out, and I didn’t want to hang out with them because we didn’t have anything in common. Plus, they were all friends from school or from doing the same job, and I was just an outsider,” she said.

But the upper-level management doesn’t agree. They want Sarah to socialize so much that they gave her an ultimatum: join the team or get fired.

Sarah… left.

@moodynomad333

#stitch with @Emily The Recruiter spoiler alert: i quit

♬ original sound – sarah

“Ain’t nothing that will make you more hated in an office or corporate environment than skipping small talk” She’s absolutely right. And this is the exact reason why I quit my last office job.

Or actually, it’s the reason that they gave me an ultimatum saying that if I didn’t put more effort into socializing, into being a team player, then I was gonna get fired.

For context, I worked in an architecture firm and I was not an architect, I was in marketing. So all the architects and designers would hang out, and I didn’t wanna hang out with them because we didn’t have anything in common. Plus, they were all friends from school or from doing the same job, and I was just an outsider.

I also just have a life outside of work. So I would skip the happy hours because I was there for eight hours a day – why would I wanna spend two or three more hours drinking with people that I wasn’t even friends with? I also despise small talk.

It makes me physically uncomfortable. So every day I would walk in with my headphones, walk straight past reception, give her a little wave, would never stop to talk and go straight to my desk and start working. And they did not like that.

moodynomad333 / TikTok

Sarah’s video went viral and the topic was hotly discussed. On the one hand, some advisors believe that it’s in the best interest of both the company and the employee to get to know one and other.

moodynomad333 / TikTok

Small talk has moved to email and other communication platforms, but it’s still there.

But how much management should get involved in “forced socializing” is a huge debate.

Sarah made a followup video. In it, she explained that it’s not cool to head to work and ignore people, of course, but being compared to extroverted and outgoing people is also not entirely fair either. She doesn’t enjoy socializing. It’s not natural to her. So why should she have to be compared to someone who does enjoy that aspect of work?

Fair point, introvert to introvert here.

Kate Hackett

Kate is a freelance writer, actor, author and columnist living in Los Angeles.