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A coworker is leaving the company and they are having a small party in the office.

I will be off that day.

Is it rude to not show up, since I'm off?

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3 Answers 3

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No, it isn't rude. It might be flattering to them if you did make an effort to show up, but parties are not mandatory and you have another commitment.

I'd suggest taking a moment to say "I can't make it to the farewell party, but it's been a pleasure to work with you. I hope your next project is a good one.' Or whatever you'd say as valediction at the party if you were there.

And if there's a collection for an informal farewell gift, I'd consider contributing whether I could make it to the party or not.

Saying "thanks" is cheap and makes people feel good

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    I'd (UK) certainly contribute to any gift and sign any card whether I could make it or not. The party is the time at which they're presented, but otherwise they're separate ways of saying goodbye. (+1)
    – Chris H
    Jan 17 at 9:33
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    +1. I'd argue if you were close enough with that coworker that it would make sense to go into work just to say goodbye to them, you would also be close enough that you'd already have scheduled coffee with them out of work and wouldn't ask this question. I met up with coworkers who left the company on the other side of Germany, on the other side of Europe, and even on the other side of the world, and I regularly meet up with former coworkers in my town. Others, I haven't seen since they left. It just depends on the relationship. Jan 17 at 22:59
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A coworker is leaving the company...

You didn't say best friend...

You didn't say my partner for the last x years...

You didn't say that you are taking their role...

...they are having a small party in the office.

I will be off that day.

Is it rude to not show up, since I'm off?

It also depends on the reason. I have missed parties because I was on company travel. I have missed them because I was on vacation. Sick leave would also be a good reason to miss the party.

If they are only a coworker, there is no obligation to drive into work just for the party.

Make sure you track them down on the last day you will both be working and say goodbye. If there is a tradition of signing a card or donating a few bucks for a gift, do so.

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Work "fun" is still work.

You're off work that day, so you don't need to go.

If you weren't off, if it wasn't on work time and paid, you wouldn't have needed to go either.

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    There is no work obligation to go, true. But in terms of professionalism, networking (=career growth), community, interpersonal relations and other reasons, the answer is surely not a flat no. The question isn't about work, it's about "is it rude".
    – Mars
    Jan 19 at 5:55
  • @Mars - And the answer to "is it rude" is still no. It would be rude of you to expect someone to spend their own, personal time on something work related Jan 20 at 11:44
  • Whether or not it's rude to expect someone to spend their own personal time is also very nuanced. You will find a lot of companies and/or countries where going away parties are after work and at ones' own expense, so obviously it's normal in some places to expect people to use personal time. The personal relationship and the level of seniority of both of these people also complicates things. I'm not saying there aren't cases where it wouldn't be rude to blow it off, but since there are cases where it would be rude, I stand by my comment that "it's not a flat no."
    – Mars
    Jan 22 at 4:09

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