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Over the last 5 or 6 months new members have joined our fairly small team in a large company. Previously there were just two of us on the team. Everyone on the team gets along pretty well. Personally I get along well with the new joiners. During breaks between coding we'll often laugh joke around about the recent ongoings in the office.

The catch is recently I found out that the new members have been regularly hanging out after work. Moreover when my manager tries to organize team events, most of the time my other coworkers say they can't come. There is one other person in their group that's in a closely related team.

I know that they have every right to hang out with who they want to, but I still can't help but feel crappy because at this point I thought these coworkers were friends. I'm considering moving to a different team, but up until recently I told my manager I was happy in the current team and had no plans to move. I also understand my manager does not and should not have any responsibility regarding who my coworkers choose to hang out with. However I also feel it's wrong to lie to my manager about the reason for leaving, especially since I had recently told him nothing was bothering me (which, at the time, nothing was bothering me). Or since it is outside his purview, should I just come up with some generic reason?

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    Is joining your colleagues after work hours out of the option? – Noir Antares Nov 9 '18 at 4:03
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    You should consider "coworkers" and "friends" separate groups. They can overlap but that can bring its own challenges. Wanting to leave a team because they don't behave as your friends hints at some unrealistic expectations from your side. Personally, I don't consider any of my colleagues a friend although I'm friendly with most of them during work. – Roland Nov 9 '18 at 9:38
  • @noirantares, yep tried that. Still got steel walled. – a.m Nov 9 '18 at 14:44
  • Are the after-work gatherings purely social, or does business go on in a venue you're not invited to? Have your colleagues made a decision that affects you while excluding you from the decision process? If you're being kept out of any business discussion, that is something your manager needs to address. – David Thornley Nov 9 '18 at 16:35
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To answer the question directly, you say you've had a fantastic time in your current team, but you'd like to explore a new opportunity that's opened up in another team. You wish them all the best, and leave it at that. (You don't burn bridges by saying that other team members haven't been including you in the same way they used to, especially considering you're still in the same company if you're just moving teams. That's not going to help you long term.)

That said, leaving over this seems a tad extreme. Have you tried any of the following?

  • Asking if you can join your coworkers after work when they're hanging out;
  • Taking the initiative and trying to organise events yourself that your other team members would enjoy;
  • If you can't do the above, making more of an effort to join in their conversations / socialising in the day, at lunchtime, etc.?
  • Yeah I can see how it can look extreme. I've left out details to avoid too much of a rant. I've tried all of the above to no avail. I've asked to join, with little effect, I've tried organizing things after work but they decline. I've been building a drone and one of them expressed interest. I offered to help but it was declined. – a.m Nov 9 '18 at 14:39
  • It also depends how much it means to you. I'm of the somewhat "old school" ilk where I still like to separate my personal and professional life with a reasonably hard line, so if no-one from work wanted to socialise outside of work that wouldn't bother me one iota. If it's really getting to you however, and you've tried everything you can think of, then sure, go ahead and switch teams / jobs. Life's too short to be miserable at work. Just make sure you don't leave on a sour note. – berry120 Nov 9 '18 at 14:52
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Work is Work... I know many of us spend more time there than with our families / friends, but the reality is that in a capitalistic society you're there to make money for the company and therefore yourself.

A company exists to make money: read The Goal (https://www.amazon.com/Goal-Process-Ongoing-Improvement/dp/0884271951. It is not a cruel book, and it puts a few things into perspective.

So, ask yourself:

  1. What are your co-workers doing to earn more (less) money for the company?
  2. Do you have any influence over them to encourage them to make more money for the company?
  3. Is it your job to influence them?
  4. Is it your job to advise your manager?
  5. Do you really think your manager is ignorant of all these things?

A good leader (not manager) would already be aware of the issue. They would judge whether it is worth their effort to address the perceived problem and whether or not the return was worth the investment.

If the work environment is toxic, find a new job. As long as you are economically satisfied with the alternatives, don't sweat leaving this place. Find a place with a leader you can follow and co-workers you can work with.

  • I get that. I've been on plenty of teams where there was no socialization outside of work. In this instance the ppl in question formed a clique with exclusive membership of ppl on the team, and actively exclude others. At that point imo it becomes a toxic workplace. – a.m Nov 9 '18 at 14:43
  • If people are excluding you socially from activities outside of work, I wouldn't think twice about that situation. If they are excluding you from a work situation, then you should speak to your management. I think the way you're expressing yourself, you have no business reason to complain to management, but you're uncomfortable. If you have no business reason, get over it. If you can't be a good employee, then distill down the issue to that scope and then you'll have a reason to go to management. – user3533030 Nov 9 '18 at 20:03
  • I think you misunderstood the question. There is no expectation of going to management. The question is during my exit interview, which everyone has, should I lie or tell the truth. – a.m Nov 10 '18 at 0:27
  • Re-reading, I'm not sure my advice changes... If the reason you're leaving is personal (e.g. your feelings are hurt by activities outside of work) tell your exit interview that it is because of personal conflicts outside of work. If the co-workers are making the environment at work toxic (e.g. not inviting you to critical meetings, undermining your work) tell them that they have workers that are making the work environment unproductive and only add details if they ask you for more details at the exit interview. – user3533030 Nov 13 '18 at 5:36

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