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Currently I am working in a small team of six developers. Colleagues are often having short talks and flashbacks related to extra work activity (work related decisions they made while not at work), which involves partying, clubbing and bar crawling. For example, they decided to replace/remove a large part of the codebase because it had problem that I fixed (they didn't know that I worked on the code all, and were surprised, we don't use version control but that's separate issue), and indirectly excluded me from the decision making process.

They usually go together after the end of the work day, and on Friday even earlier if boss gives permission. I have a feeling that I am excluded and miss out team bonding and project related decision making process, and also suspect that age gap is the reason I'm not invited. I am 28 years old while second oldest team member is 22.

Overall problem is that I feel excluded from work process in very age specific way: colleagues are going to places with an age ceiling and conducting decision making there is the most obvious example. Colleagues also do not use social media I know of (Facebook, Slack, WhatsApp, LinkedIn) or mail for work stuff.

They are explicitly greenlit by management, and they indeed are more productive this way. Problem is that I am left out, and I can't change job easily, I have been consistently sending CVs around but at my age it is incredibly hard to find work in the software industry. The fact that I can't speak local language further decreases my prospect pool.

How can I handle this situation professionally?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Neo
    Aug 18 '20 at 12:01
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I would suggest to openly discuss this topic with coworkers, If I were you I would simply ask colleagues to "move" work related stuff into work hours so I can participate too. However at your age I would avoid for pushing towards clubbing and partying as it can come off inappropriate or even creepy with such age difference and further complicate personal relations.

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    Sorry, too ageist.
    – Jeffrey
    Aug 16 '20 at 0:08
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    How is describing the reality being "ageist"? If you go to a young people's club as a visibly older guy, you will be seen as the creep with a predatory interest in the younger girls (or boys, don't want to discriminate anyone...).
    – nvoigt
    Aug 16 '20 at 6:43
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    @nvoigt beat me to it, some clubs can have upper age limit most likely around 35 but in my day i've seen few with 24. Uncommon but not rare either. My experiences are from travelling Europe so if you are from US things may be diffetent. Aug 16 '20 at 7:33
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    Could anyone explain why is this downvoted to oblivion ? Aug 17 '20 at 15:15
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    This is on spot, yeah it sounds bit ageist but this is most straightforward and mature way to handle this ugly situation.
    – gydorah
    Sep 7 '20 at 8:03
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I have a feeling that I am excluded and miss out team bonding and project related decision making process

It's not really any of your business what they choose to do after work. Getting drunk with colleagues isn't always that great an idea, and is not necessary to team bonding or making decisions on projects.

If you just want to get involved in their merrymaking then take the initiative and invite them out for drinks. If it goes well it will probably be reciprocated. But like most things if you want something, be proactive. Use your head and take them somewhere where there is something to do and you know they'll enjoy themselves. Most people enjoy a few games of pool or something like that and it saves having to keep conversation flowing.

Age isn't a huge issue and your gap isn't extreme. I rarely drink and I'm ancient, but when I do one of my main drinking buddies is a ex-colleague in his early 20's and we usually end up drinking with a wide range of acquaintances of all ages as we do the rounds.

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    In some jurisdictions, being excluded from social activities amongst work colleagues can be shown to be creating a hostile workplace and a cause for constructive dismissal.
    – Moo
    Aug 18 '20 at 22:51
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    @Moo you think they should fire the rest of the team? Or are you suggesting that the OP's popularity would soar if he complained about all his colleagues to HR?
    – Kilisi
    Aug 19 '20 at 8:10
  • Im not saying its logical, but there have certainly been cases of this in the UK where its gone to tribunal - and yes, if there is one person being left out of the office groups banter and activities, even if thats out of hours, the employer can gt into trouble for it. After all, it is the actions of the employers employees that is causing the harm.
    – Moo
    Aug 19 '20 at 8:44
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    @Moo Or in other words: Would you like to work for a company where your boss dictates your spare time by telling you to hang out with the whole team for drinks after work?
    – iLuvLogix
    Aug 19 '20 at 9:08
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    @iLuvLogix the employer isnt getting into trouble for what happens after work hours, they are getting into trouble for a hostile working environment if that is the nature of the exclusion. And yes, employers can control this by forbidding it. And no, I wouldnt want to work for that sort of company, but equally I wouldnt want work colleagues who would do that in the first place.
    – Moo
    Aug 19 '20 at 9:10
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OP is experiencing what a lot of new employees who aren't social/haven't gotten in with the social vibe at a workplace experience. Decisions being made "on the golf course", so to speak.

tl;dr OP needs to get over it, join in, or watch as decisions pass them by. Total misplacement of "blame" in this post.

Going to address a few things here

  • You're not being excluded in an age specific way. You're self-excluding because they're doing things that you don't want to do.
  • These aren't "team bonding" experiences, they're colleagues going out to party. Because they're colleagues, and people spend most of their lives at work, they talk about work. For a lot of people, this is a sign of passion for their jobs. They're giving up personal time to talk about work.
  • Not sure what jurisdiction you're in, but not speaking the local language is your problem. You've identified it as something that is holding you back, and it's clear what you need to do to resolve it.
  • There isn't a lot of age-ism at 28 years old. I'd suggest reexamining your CV for reasons why you might not be getting a lot of positive responses. Combined with COVID, it's tough, but there are a lot of employers looking for people. Mozilla's recent layoffs have helped fill positions though.
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You are in a bad, ugly situation that is not so unusual, especially in startups and small game studios, most comments here further reniforce this by being unreasonably ageist and/or sexist. Your teammates do not have valid justification to cut you off, and most comments especially if they are engaging project related planning. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do, especially if this behavior is encouraged by management, earlier you start seeking new job, better off you end up in long term.

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    Changing job is not necessary, he can find another project or team within company.
    – gydorah
    Sep 7 '20 at 8:06
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Excluded from extra work activities

Do not let it get under your skin.

This type of thing happens at my work all the time. It usually involves the those best like by management, but not always the best workers. Many people have more outgoing personalities. Who cares. Carry on working as best you can and try to be positive as best you can.

Being left out of many invites, means social distancing is never a problem. The last “party” everyone had to self isolate! Wonder why?

Karma can be a bitch that sometime bites you in the rear.

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Horrible thing, but unfortunately very common. If I were in your boat, I would try to find group or project that is employed by peers close to my age or older. If there is no such clique where you work then might as well bite the bullet and find new job until it's too late.

Here is guideline to help you make decision on your own. When thirties are knocking on your doors, socialising, working, competing and keeping up with people who have ten times your energy might be exercise in futility. Yes, it is pretty shady that your colleagues are planning and managing project outside of work hours (if I understood correctly) but what can you do about it really ? Especially that manager has their back. They are young people acting their age, and also they are in majority and tightly teamed , with your age gap (5 year difference is big deal for someone in early 20s) how do you manage to approach them outside of job without coming out creepy or awkward ? If you complain to boss or HR which side will they take ?

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  • Hard to swallow pill again, I guess. But solid answer nevertheless. Sep 7 '20 at 17:15
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Try to ignore it. When they leave early, continue your work and stop at the regular hour, not later. If they have a lick of decency, they should invite you, but then they would have already. If they don't, then I wouldn't want to be part of such a group. If the manager allows them to make decisions without involving you, nothing much you can do, but on the other hand you can't be held responsible for things you're not aware of. Try to do the work you've been assigned to the best of your capabilities.

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    Unfortunately this type of rugged stoicism is what betrayed me and thats why I asked this question in first place, it worked when i was teen, it worked when i was in uni, it worked on my first job in my mid 20s. being silent and enduring breaks down in spectacular way when you rack up years and it stops working in the world where silence equates death. Aug 16 '20 at 10:56
  • Then I died a long time ago. In all my "career", I may have worked six years in circumstances that you'd like. For the rest, I missed that, but that's all. I mostly enjoyed my work and the contact I had with the colleagues at work itself. But that's me, I have a lot less friends than fingers on a hand. You won't change your "colleagues", but you could find others. But take into account, you may be someone who doesn't fit in a group. I don't.. Aug 16 '20 at 13:10
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    "Then i died" is an exaggeration, however im sure your career path was way steeper than it needed to be, I guessed because I rarely met someone over thirty who didn't face any discrimination. @Gerard H. Pille Aug 17 '20 at 11:47
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    I can't judge that, since I didn't have much of a career. The only time I faced a downturn, it was because of a company owner with mental problems, which resulted in me finding a job with much more opportunities. But it was the end of the job where we went for a drink on friday evenings. Aug 17 '20 at 11:58
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Talk to your manager about it.

Your colleagues holding work meetings outside of business hours at inappropriate locations is hampering your ability to do your job. As such, it is something that your manager should be interested in fixing, since removing obstacles that are hampering their team is literally part of a manager’s job.

This is especially the case if some of these “parties” are at locations like strip clubs that might be putting the business at risk of being sued for creating a hostile work environment, if a female employee joined your team and was unable to comfortably join these meetings.

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    The OP never mentioned their colleagues holding work meetings or talking about work after hours. They only talk about their leisure time together when at work.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 16 '20 at 6:46
  • I really doubt talking to manager is solution, as manager seems "their guy" in this case. Manager and workplace in general encourage youthful things like partying, we even have basketball field I cant use. And if we go searching for "obstruction" it might as well turn out to be me. Aug 16 '20 at 7:48
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    @nvoigt Yes, he did? "Colleagues are often having short talks and flashbacks related to extra work activity" That is, they're having business meetings outside of work hours.
    – nick012000
    Aug 16 '20 at 8:40
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    No, it means they talk about their "extra work activities" at work. "Extra work activity" is something that happens outside of work. Non-work.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 16 '20 at 9:04
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    The way I understood it is more like "extracurricular activities". That means the activities are outside the curriculum, so something else, not more of the same. But I guess only @TerryGlebnerr can clear that up.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 16 '20 at 17:07

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