Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Throwing An Unforgettably-Productive Work Party

Work Party? That's an oxymoron that has somehow turned into standard practice. But who says work can't, or shouldn't be, enjoyable? I think we can all drink to that!

My Favorite Work Party, Ever, Was a Big Mistake

I once hosted a "Work Party." It was terrifying. Scores of the nerdiest, freelance developer/authors on the planet, all in San Francisco to attend one of Apple's WWDC gatherings. This was an after-hours gathering, and few of us had met face-to-face before, so it had to be socially comfortably—AKA: beer, wine, and nerd snacks aplenty.

I had some distinctly work-oriented objectives, and once the conversations got going, there was plenty of talk of our many collaborative projects, current and future. The fact is, iOS and mobile developers are a congenial and basically happy lot. The place was pleasant, the food was good, and most people stuck around through more than a single bottle of suds.

We made lots of new friends, and there were so many substantial ideas discussed, I had to break down and take notes for follow up. In fact, we ate all the food and hung around chatting until we were kicked out. All seemed to have gone successfully. I later learned that all was doomed from the start!

Experiencing Both Sides of The Double-Edged Sword

As it turned out, the corporate culture of my employer was distinctly anti-Work Party. This was not an acceptable way to do business, and for all sorts of non-business-like reasons that went unsaid during the planning process. Seems there were managers who were jealous of our "fun," which I failed to anticipate.

In short, from a productivity point of view, much was accomplished by gathering to party. From a corporate point of view, no good deed goes unpunished. But my lesson is not a negative one. You see, I remain friends and collaborator with many who attended the party and long ago said goodbye forever to the corporation!

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