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Gotta Keep The Club Running Somehow

, , , , , | Working | October 8, 2021

I set up a “running club” at lunch. Really, it’s just a load of us who go for a run together at lunchtime. It starts with just two but grows and grows. I end up sending out a group email for best times of the week, photos, maps, out of work events — you name it.

Out of nowhere, I get called into a manager’s office.

Manager: “I understand you are running a club?”

Me: “Yes, we all run at lunch. It’s very popular.”

Manager: “I’ve had some complaints.”

Me: “Complaints? What could anyone complain about?”

Manager: “Well, let me see.” *Reads off his screen* “Err, exclusionary, using company time, and, err… fatphobic?”

Me: “I don’t know where this is coming from. Everyone is welcome and we have all abilities and body types.”

Manager: “I’m not endorsing these comments. I am just relaying them and talking to you about them to see if there is an issue that needs to be resolved.”

Me: “This is probably someone who just hates to see others better themselves. We aren’t excluding anyone. And it’s all on our lunch, so there’s no impact to work.”

Manager: “Okay, okay. Keep doing it, but if I see more complaints, I have to investigate them.”

Me: “Okay, sure.”

Annoyed but not deterred, I keep the club going. Not even a month later, I get called back again.

Manager: “The complaints keep coming.”

Me: “But they’re not founded in reality!”

Manager: “Yes. I have spoken to a few of the members, and I agree with you. But as long as you are running a company club, you need to hear these complaints and act on them. I cannot stand by and ignore any complaint.”

Me: “So, we have to stop doing what we like, on our own time, because of one bitter individual?”

Manager: “That’s not what I said.”

Me: “I don’t understand.”

He explained that while it was a company club, run with company email, he had to enforce the complaints procedure. He pointed out that social media was fine as long as we didn’t associate with the company and didn’t exclude anyone

So, the club lives on, and there have been no more complaints. It became much more and many of us meet up outside of work — runners and non-runners alike.

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