Question: “A woman in my department is retiring after 30 years. The department head is hosting a party for her at an outside facility. The guest list includes important clients, executives from other companies, department managers, and a few select colleagues. Our group has about 50 employees, and a lot of us were not invited. I find this to be rude and unprofessional. Am I being overly sensitive?” —Excluded
Answer: In such a large department, many coworkers may hardly know one another. Inviting the whole gang to a formal retirement party might be nice, but it certainly wouldn’t be expected. And it would probably double the cost.
From your description, the attendees appear to be VIP’s and people close to the guest of honor. Unless you had a special relationship with her, you would not logically be on this list. So try to let go of your hurt feelings.
However, after 30 years of loyal service, your colleague certainly deserves a chance to say good-bye to even casual acquaintances. Ask your manager if the department can host an informal cake-and-punch reception on her last day so that everyone can wish her well.