HomeCareerwhen are potlucks a nasty thought? — Ask a Supervisor

when are potlucks a nasty thought? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

My workplace is doing a potluck for Thanksgiving. We’re an organization with simply over 100 folks. I’ve dietary restrictions, so I requested if there can be a sign-up so I’d know prematurely if I may eat something. HR declined, saying they don’t need folks to really feel pressured to carry something.

However … that’s the entire level of a potluck. In the event that they don’t wish to strain folks to carry meals, they need to cater it. I’m additionally involved about meals security, as I’ve had damaging reactions to potluck meals earlier than. My present plan is to simply eat a meal beforehand and produce some roasted potatoes.

Is there some extent at which an organization is massive sufficient {that a} potluck is only a unhealthy thought? Or am I overreacting?

Your potluck is being surprisingly run, however I don’t assume it’s due to your organization’s measurement.

In the event that they’re going to carry a potluck, it is sensible to supply a sign-up sheet the place folks can be aware what they plan to carry so that you just don’t find yourself with 20 potato salads, 50 packs of napkins, and nothing else. (Truly, I’d be delighted to eat a meal of 20 completely different potato salads, nevertheless it’s in all probability not what most individuals are going for.) Together with a sign-up doesn’t actually amp up the strain on folks to carry one thing; it simply makes issues extra organized and fewer prone to end in day-of chaos.

And sure, in the event that they’re involved about pressuring folks to take part, they need to certainly simply cater it. Individuals typically do really feel pressured to take part in potlucks. Different folks love them, after all! But when they’re this involved a couple of sign-up sheet inflicting strain, catering is the best way to go.

That mentioned, I don’t know {that a} sign-up sheet would have helped you understand prematurely if you happen to’d have the ability to eat something — because you wouldn’t know what shocking elements folks could be placing of their mashed potatoes. (Though I suppose if you happen to noticed one thing quite simple listed, like a fruit platter, you may fairly guess that may find yourself being secure.)

Actually, although, dietary restrictions and potlucks could be a robust combine, except your office is vigilant about requiring correct ingredient playing cards with every dish. Even if you happen to do, relying on the character of your dietary restrictions and particularly in the event that they’re strict, I nonetheless could be cautious, as a result of individuals are notoriously allergy-unaware and much too many individuals will faithfully write out all of the elements their cookbook listed for the recipe however not add that they all the time add their very own sprint of paprika for colour, or declare their lentil soup is vegetarian with out pondering to say they used rooster inventory in it.

And that’s earlier than we get into your concern about meals security. Usually if you wish to take pleasure in a potluck, it’s important to intentionally not assume too onerous about your coworkers’ hygiene practices or how sanitary their kitchens could be. If sanitation/security is a tough restrict for you, potlucks are a difficult proposition.

Your plan to eat a meal beforehand is sweet, or you may carry one thing that you just’ll take pleasure in and that shall be filling sufficient for you even if you happen to don’t eat anything there.

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