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The Department of Defense (DoD) is charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the United States armed forces. The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.

The Department of Defense is America's oldest and largest government agency -tracing its roots back to pre-Revolutionary times. Today, the Department is not only in charge of the military, but it also employs a civilian force of thousands. With over 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and 718,000 civilian personnel, DoD is the nation's largest employer. Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. More than 2 million military retirees and their family members receive benefits.

Perhaps you are working for the DoD or interested in working for the DoD. Here is a forum to share your experience with the DoD.
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TrumpsterFire  
#1 Posted : Sunday, August 12, 2018 1:28:12 PM(UTC)
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I am a regular GS employee, GS-12. I have been told by my supervisor that I must attend celebratory lunches involving our group. I have declined several times, but after being absent for the first two after she took over, my supervisor took me aside and told me that it is her expectation that I attend unless I am on leave for the day. She also expects me to contribute to the cost of the lunches, which typically consist of fast-food pizza, wings, or sandwiches - all foods that I do not enjoy from franchises that I do not patronize. Typically the contribution is between $8 and $16. When confronted, I explained that as an introvert, I do not enjoy large gatherings and need my lunch time alone to 'recover' from a morning of dealing with people. My supervisor seems to be an extrovert, and did not take my explanation seriously and reiterated the requirement. Unfortunately, there was no email trail. These lunches seem to occur about twice per month. I have sucked it up and complied, going to the last 3, but after barely forcing down the food, and not getting to eat a real lunch of my own food, as well as being $40 poorer for the experiences; I just feel tired of throwing my free time and money down this path. Should I elevate it, and if so, to whom would you advise? Or should i continue to comply and resent it?
Rikaku  
#2 Posted : Sunday, August 12, 2018 2:40:42 PM(UTC)

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I had a supervisor do something similar before. She made the lunch the "official place of duty" for that day and unless you took leave you had to attend. I, like you, avoid these kinds of things. I sucked it up and went that one time, and luckily she didn't pull that stunt again. Had it become a reoccurring thing I would have looked into elevating it or having her specifically point to where in my position description does it mandate I need to attend a lunch.

If you feel strongly enough about it then I encourage you to do just that. It will likely create a stink, and this supervisor sounds like the type that may not be above retaliatory efforts, so do keep that in mind. For the next event, send an email to her so there is a paper trail explaining that you would rather not go and ask are you being directed to attend a mandatory event.
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TrumpsterFire on 8/14/2018(UTC)
rbr  
#3 Posted : Sunday, August 12, 2018 4:13:48 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TrumpsterFire Go to Quoted Post
I am a regular GS employee, GS-12. I have been told by my supervisor that I must attend celebratory lunches involving our group. I have declined several times, but after being absent for the first two after she took over, my supervisor took me aside and told me that it is her expectation that I attend unless I am on leave for the day. She also expects me to contribute to the cost of the lunches, which typically consist of fast-food pizza, wings, or sandwiches - all foods that I do not enjoy from franchises that I do not patronize. Typically the contribution is between $8 and $16. When confronted, I explained that as an introvert, I do not enjoy large gatherings and need my lunch time alone to 'recover' from a morning of dealing with people. My supervisor seems to be an extrovert, and did not take my explanation seriously and reiterated the requirement. Unfortunately, there was no email trail. These lunches seem to occur about twice per month. I have sucked it up and complied, going to the last 3, but after barely forcing down the food, and not getting to eat a real lunch of my own food, as well as being $40 poorer for the experiences; I just feel tired of throwing my free time and money down this path. Should I elevate it, and if so, to whom would you advise? Or should i continue to comply and resent it?


Technically, you should have a 30 minute break programmed into your daily 8 hour schedule. This time is for you to do as you please. If there is a mandatory office get-together, then that shouldn't count as your towards that 30 minutes even if it is "lunch". So if it's your place of duty then go.....but then take your allotted 30 minute break when you come back. I usually don't have a problem attending a office gathering for my break period but it's also not a regular occurrence. If they are indeed counting these "get-togethers" as your lunch period then you should first have a frank discussion with your supervisor while summarizing your concerns in an email to leave a paper trail. If that doesn't fix it, then continue up the chain whilst repeating the process. You can also file an IG complaint if you feel that you are being forced to do these things during you allotted break time. The only thing is, these are the same people who will write your evaluations, so make sure this is a hill that you are willing to die on before burning any bridges...…...

Edited by user Sunday, August 12, 2018 4:17:43 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Endless Summer  
#4 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 1:27:05 AM(UTC)
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They have these at my office, and I'm not thrilled about attending but I show up to be seen and leave early.

No one is forcing you to eat, bring your own lunch if you feel you can't bail out early, and tell them you are on a restricted diet, tell them you need to make some phone calls at lunchtime, or just tell them you really don't like them all that much and don't care to be around them on your own time. Also, tell them you are on a tight budget as you have some financial milestones you need to hit. If they push you, tell them you're still paying restitution for that time you cut the heads off those parking meters.

Or, you can just suck it up and realize this is part of being a team member. You're a 12, $16 a month shouldn't kill you. You're not buying food, you're buying peace and harmony in the workplace... but your username tells me that's not likely to be your style.

Best wishes.
Rikaku  
#5 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 3:56:30 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Endless Summer Go to Quoted Post
They have these at my office, and I'm not thrilled about attending but I show up to be seen and leave early.

No one is forcing you to eat, bring your own lunch if you feel you can't bail out early, and tell them you are on a restricted diet, tell them you need to make some phone calls at lunchtime, or just tell them you really don't like them all that much and don't care to be around them on your own time. Also, tell them you are on a tight budget as you have some financial milestones you need to hit. If they push you, tell them you're still paying restitution for that time you cut the heads off those parking meters.

Or, you can just suck it up and realize this is part of being a team member. You're a 12, $16 a month shouldn't kill you. You're not buying food, you're buying peace and harmony in the workplace... but your username tells me that's not likely to be your style.

Best wishes.


This was a pretty unnecessary response and I think you are missing the point of the OP's core issue.

1) The same way the supervisor cannot force this person to eat, they also cannot force a federal employee to attend any event that is not specifically tied to their position description and certainly not at their own personal expense.

2) The money it cost is irrelevant. Whether it's $16 or $1600 -- it's the employee's money and under no circumstance can a supervisor direct an employee to expend their money. Period.

3) What does the OP's username have to do with anything? A bit of a stretch, don't you think?

Some people go to work to work and not be forced into unnecessary social situations they may not be comfortable with. The OP stated they are an introvert. If the issue is, as you say, "being a team player" then the supervisor needs to be a team player and respect the needs and wishes of the team member and leave it at that.
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TrumpsterFire on 8/14/2018(UTC), totogal on 9/7/2018(UTC)
0018 Hopeful  
#6 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 4:01:00 AM(UTC)
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I got forced into buying the boss as a GS-11 a $5 gift when I checked into the command as part of the group gift for her 50th birthday. Organized by one of other GS-11s. I ate some crow and soldiered on, that was DON.

As an employee of other federal agencies I have been forced to enjoy mandatory fun ranging from $10-60 many times.

It is part of being a government employee.

If it happened every day I would *****, but it is fairly rare here.

The GS-13's where I currently work get told they have to pay for all kinds of dinners out with Colonel, as a regular penance for being GS-13s. Everyone of them hates it. They have also been forced into a variety of other day time work hours team building lunches, and other fairly expensive meals together often enough if I was one I would talk to the IG. More than 2 or 3 times a month.

We got a new Colonel a few weeks ago, who claimed those days were over. We'll see how it goes.

Some times you get a boss that is a jerk, and loves attention and tries to force it on other people. Sometimes you get a boss that only cares about his family and would rather not force anyone into extra me time.

I wouldn't fight it. Your situation is way less drama than what we just went through with the last Colonel.
GWPDA  
#7 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 4:37:37 AM(UTC)
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Looks like there's a supervisor who doesn't grasp his/her position requirements and needs to repeat the course. These kinds of over-reach do not end well, most often resulting in favoritism, discrimination and preference violations. With that in mind, I would try to go as quiet as possible so as to avoid the probable fall-out. Go to the lunch and as suggested, take your own food and explain as little as possible. Make an appearance - deliberately sit with the popular kids - and then slip away. View it as a minor act of self-preservation which will probably insulate you from much worse. In other words, do not make yourself a target for such a small thing.
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TrumpsterFire on 8/14/2018(UTC)
FrankSR  
#8 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 4:45:16 AM(UTC)
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Just bring your lunch and expand your horizons. Since your supervisor knows your an introvert, showing you’re taking steps to be more of a people person may work in your favor.
Tic3  
#9 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 7:40:11 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: TrumpsterFire Go to Quoted Post
I am a regular GS employee, GS-12. I have been told by my supervisor that I must attend celebratory lunches involving our group. I have declined several times, but after being absent for the first two after she took over, my supervisor took me aside and told me that it is her expectation that I attend unless I am on leave for the day. She also expects me to contribute to the cost of the lunches, which typically consist of fast-food pizza, wings, or sandwiches - all foods that I do not enjoy from franchises that I do not patronize. Typically the contribution is between $8 and $16. When confronted, I explained that as an introvert, I do not enjoy large gatherings and need my lunch time alone to 'recover' from a morning of dealing with people. My supervisor seems to be an extrovert, and did not take my explanation seriously and reiterated the requirement. Unfortunately, there was no email trail. These lunches seem to occur about twice per month. I have sucked it up and complied, going to the last 3, but after barely forcing down the food, and not getting to eat a real lunch of my own food, as well as being $40 poorer for the experiences; I just feel tired of throwing my free time and money down this path. Should I elevate it, and if so, to whom would you advise? Or should i continue to comply and resent it?


If you are on the clock - go.

If you are NOT on the clock, you cannot be forced to go.



FedCivServ  
#10 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 12:09:50 PM(UTC)

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You can't be forced to go, but as several have pointed out, it might be worth it to suck it up and go since it's only twice a month. Take your own food. You don't owe anyone an explanation about why you don't want to eat that stuff (i would not want to either). Even though your explanation makes perfect sense (introvert) and you can't be forced, the boss and the rest of the team might view you as not being a team player or standoffish. This might not seem like a big deal til you really need to get something done that requires the help of others or you get your appraisal and it's marked down in some areas. Fair? Absolutely not. Reality? Yep. See if you can sit by someone you like and then have a one on one conversation w/ that person. Might make it easier. Good luck...
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TrumpsterFire on 8/14/2018(UTC)
Endless Summer  
#11 Posted : Monday, August 13, 2018 1:44:58 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rikaku Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Endless Summer Go to Quoted Post
They have these at my office, and I'm not thrilled about attending but I show up to be seen and leave early.

No one is forcing you to eat, bring your own lunch if you feel you can't bail out early, and tell them you are on a restricted diet, tell them you need to make some phone calls at lunchtime, or just tell them you really don't like them all that much and don't care to be around them on your own time. Also, tell them you are on a tight budget as you have some financial milestones you need to hit. If they push you, tell them you're still paying restitution for that time you cut the heads off those parking meters.

Or, you can just suck it up and realize this is part of being a team member. You're a 12, $16 a month shouldn't kill you. You're not buying food, you're buying peace and harmony in the workplace... but your username tells me that's not likely to be your style.

Best wishes.


This was a pretty unnecessary response and I think you are missing the point of the OP's core issue.

1) The same way the supervisor cannot force this person to eat, they also cannot force a federal employee to attend any event that is not specifically tied to their position description and certainly not at their own personal expense.

2) The money it cost is irrelevant. Whether it's $16 or $1600 -- it's the employee's money and under no circumstance can a supervisor direct an employee to expend their money. Period.

3) What does the OP's username have to do with anything? A bit of a stretch, don't you think?

Some people go to work to work and not be forced into unnecessary social situations they may not be comfortable with. The OP stated they are an introvert. If the issue is, as you say, "being a team player" then the supervisor needs to be a team player and respect the needs and wishes of the team member and leave it at that.


I think you missed my point, let me try it again without the art...

You are under no obligation to give up your lunch break.
You are under no obligation to socialize with your coworkers.
You are under no obligation to explain or defend your decision regarding the above.
You have the right to give a smart @ss answer to anyone who demands that you defend or explain your answers or lack of same.

Now, here are your coworkers' rights (note that I'm not referring to the supervisor's rights)…
They have the right to view you as a jerk, who can't even make the simplest accommodation to being a part of the team.
They have the right to exclude you from any future team event.
They have the right to shun you and refuse to help you when you need a hand.
They have the right to have a party when they finally get rid of you.

If this was just about being an introvert the OP would have kicked in the $16 bucks and written it off as hassle tax, but that's not what's going on here. The OP wants to make a statement and they have. You just need to understand that there will be those who judge you positively, and negatively based on your statement.

See, you don't get any points for doing the bare minimum that is required by law.
EEngiNerd  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, August 14, 2018 12:48:17 PM(UTC)
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If it an alternate work location, then you have to go or be AWOL.



TrumpsterFire  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, August 14, 2018 3:25:02 PM(UTC)
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Thank you to most of you who have taken time to reply. I surmise that the general consensus is that my supervisor is violating her authority to order my attendance, but that there is little I can do about it. Such is life. I am a bargaining unit employee - no one has mentioned the union yet, is there any reason to avoid that avenue? As far as I know, these events have never been designated as alternative work locations.

I am afraid I am going to be feeding the trolls here, but I will bite on Endless Summer's abuse. I have worked in this office for the better part of a decade and have good relationships with my coworkers, even the ones that would be triggered by my username. Through the last 3 supervisors, I have not attended these type of functions - to be even more specific: Birthday lunches and going away lunches. I have always received the highest appraisal ratings despite deferring on lunches in the previous years. I find it questionable that it is claimed that my coworkers have the "right" to refuse to work with and shun a team member out of petty spite for not attending social time.
DaVinci95  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, August 14, 2018 3:31:01 PM(UTC)
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Check out what your agency's policy is towards lunch breaks (they are not required by Federal law). The next time one of these events is scheduled, email your supervisor with your reasons for declining to attend so that you have documentation. If she still tries to force you to go, take the issue to HR or a second-line supervisor.
GWPDA  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:08:05 PM(UTC)
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I am about to be overtly political about this, largely because this kind of penny ante nonsense imposed by a 'supervisor' on an underling is in many different ways specifically forbidden in a host of federal regulations UNDER WHICH WE ARE ALL WORKING.

When one 'supervisor' declares that s/he has some kind of right to violate federal regulation, in big or small ways, the way is open for progressively more egregious actions with immensely more consequential results. What this 'supervisor' is doing or trying to do - force an ordinary sworn federal employee to do something regulations say cannot be forced - is the entry point to the corrupting of the federal service.

You may think this is surely just a small, inconsequential thing. It is not. Too many times on this board we have tried to work out the inconsistencies involved in military personnel trying to impose military rules on civilians and why that is not just foolish but actually wrong. Right this minute we learned, today! we learned that the current President of the United States has been demanding that in exchange for federally paid employment his direct reports must sign a 'Non-Disclosure Agreement' specifically crafted to force the employee's loyalty and job to be dedicated to that current President. This is not only unethical it is illegal. No Federal employee can be demanded to be loyal to two masters. As sworn employees we may not be forced to sign anything of the kind, much less be forced to sign it in order to keep our jobs. And this alas the end point of the OP's supervisor demanding that s/he present him/herself at non-official functions and pay for the privilege OR jeopardise his/her job.

Being forced to figure out how to avoid being pressured into doing something contrary to regulation is itself a potential grievance. If the OP wants to pour oil on the waters by turning up at lunch, faking whatever is necessary and leaving quickly, that is up to him/her. But be very very aware that these low level attacks on Civil Service rules and regulation are indeed the start of that dreadful slippery slope which leads to chaos. At this stage we in the Civil Service must be vigilant and cautious to ensure the survival of the system itself.
CharlesDMOS  
#16 Posted : Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:26:55 PM(UTC)
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Oh, brother...here she goes ranting again. You lost, how long ago now? 2016 or something?

You should ask Federal Soup to create a new section called Triggered Political Hack and go live over there.
Rikaku  
#17 Posted : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 12:41:20 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: CharlesDMOS Go to Quoted Post
Oh, brother...here she goes ranting again. You lost, how long ago now? 2016 or something?

You should ask Federal Soup to create a new section called Triggered Political Hack and go live over there.


Well if took the time to read what she said and comprehend it you'd realize that we all - as federal employees and US citizens - lost in 2016.

Edited by user Wednesday, August 15, 2018 12:45:11 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Endless Summer  
#18 Posted : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 1:11:37 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TrumpsterFire Go to Quoted Post
...I find it questionable that it is claimed that my coworkers have the "right" to refuse to work with and shun a team member out of petty spite for not attending social time.


And yet you feel it's perfectly logical to shun them out of petty spite for them not sharing your political and social beliefs. You're a BUE, why wasn't the Union your first stop?

Seriously, what did you think the random internet strangers on here would be able to do for you that your own Union couldn't or wouldn't do? This thread and your comment about "entitled veterans" pretty much tells me everything I need to know about you.
Rikaku  
#19 Posted : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 1:31:25 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Endless Summer Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: TrumpsterFire Go to Quoted Post
...I find it questionable that it is claimed that my coworkers have the "right" to refuse to work with and shun a team member out of petty spite for not attending social time.


And yet you feel it's perfectly logical to shun them out of petty spite for them not sharing your political and social beliefs. You're a BUE, why wasn't the Union your first stop?

Seriously, what did you think the random internet strangers on here would be able to do for you that your own Union couldn't or wouldn't do? This thread and your comment about "entitled veterans" pretty much tells me everything I need to know about you.


At what point did the OP ever say they shunned their coworkers out of spite? How do you even infer spite was even a factor in this? The OP laid out a perfectly logical case for their personal reasons for not wanting to attend and none of it involved the coworkers' political beliefs, personal agendas, or disagreements. Seems like you like to view things only through your own distorted lens to portray any situation in a manner that fits your preconceived notions. You should work on that, it is an unattractive trait.
CharlesDMOS  
#20 Posted : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 2:29:10 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rikaku Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: CharlesDMOS Go to Quoted Post
Oh, brother...here she goes ranting again. You lost, how long ago now? 2016 or something?

You should ask Federal Soup to create a new section called Triggered Political Hack and go live over there.


Well if took the time to read what she said and comprehend it you'd realize that we all - as federal employees and US citizens - lost in 2016.


Charles almost lost his breakfast on that one, but thank you, dear. Did you attend my aborted coronation at the Javits?

Sincerely,
Mrs. Private Email Server & Such
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