What's your problem?

My company is really keen on away-days, 360-degree appraisals, and staff bonding evenings over a meal or drinks. As we're a new company, this was helpful when we first joined but it's now invasive. Each new away-day or team event seems to intensify the level of soul-baring and personal revelations, and it can be very uncomfortable.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I know others feel the same, but when I mentioned this, the rest of the team took it as an affront. I don't want to be the staff sceptic, but nor do I want to participate in more of these uncomfortably personal experiences. What do I do?

A. I understand your discomfort and can readily sympathise. But on the assumption that you enjoy your work, and in all other respects find the company congenial, you must find a way to lessen your unease. My guess is that this corporate commitment to soul-baring and self-awareness will soon lose its initial fervour. Few firms sustain such an attitude into maturity.

So try to strike a balance between blind compliance and openly hostile cynicism. Do everything you can to ride along with these events, taking them in politely, almost as a game you can dispassionately enjoy. Give away as little of yourself as you can get away with. Succeed in this, and you'll find it a great deal easier not to sound like an intransigent bolshie. Time should do the rest.

Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of the both Guardian Media Group and WPP.

Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@mtmagazine.co.uk. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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