Think about this. If you left your company right now, would you still be going to their parties 7 years from now? I'm guessing that you probably would not. 7 years ago I left a company called Latitude Communications. Since that time they've been acquired by Cisco and many of the people that I knew from the company have moved on from job to job. Yet we still have Latitude parties.
When I worked at Latitude every year at the beginning on May they would have a birthday celebration for the company. They'd fly all the field people in and we'd have meetings discussing the new stuff that we'd developed since the kickoff party in January. The highlight, for me, was to have fun and bond with all the people that I work with in a friendly non-work environment. The end result was that it was so much easier to get along with everyone, and I didn't feel like they were all against me.
Last night Marlo coordinated the Latitude Birthday Party in San Jose. It was an amazing experience. Not since I left Latitude have I been in a bar packed full of people that I knew. People flew in from all across the country for it. Dan from Boston, Alex from New York, Sue from Denver (she used to be in Chicago), and even Maureen from LA. It was an excellent time.
It really got me thinking though, what happened to corporate culture? Sure we formed back in the day during the dot-com boom, but Marlo didn't have a budget to coordinate last night? Everyone was really good about buying each other drinks, and we didn't need to get another round of funding to do it. Has the fall of the dot-com's made people scared of having fun at work?