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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 individuals. I’ve dietary restrictions, so I requested if there could be a sign-up so I’d know upfront if I may eat something. HR declined, saying they don’t need individuals to really feel pressured to deliver something.

However … that’s the entire level of a potluck. In the event that they don’t wish to stress individuals to deliver 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 only eat a meal beforehand and produce some roasted potatoes.

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

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

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

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

That stated, I don’t know {that a} sign-up sheet would have helped you recognize upfront for those who’d be capable to eat something — because you wouldn’t know what stunning elements individuals is likely to be placing of their mashed potatoes. (Though I suppose for those who noticed one thing quite simple listed, like a fruit platter, you would possibly moderately guess that may find yourself being secure.)

Actually, although, dietary restrictions and potlucks generally is a powerful combine, until your office is vigilant about requiring correct ingredient playing cards with every dish. Even for those who do, relying on the character of your dietary restrictions and particularly in the event that they’re strict, I nonetheless is likely to 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 coloration, or declare their lentil soup is vegetarian with out pondering to say they used hen inventory in it.

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

Your plan to eat a meal beforehand is nice, or you possibly can deliver one thing that you just’ll take pleasure in and that shall be filling sufficient for you even for those who don’t eat anything there.

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