• Clarissa Laws

COMPANY CHRISTMAS PARTIES: HOW TO SUCCEED AT YOUR OFFICE PARTY WHEN YOU WISH YOU WEREN'T GOING

Office Christmas parties: things we love to hate. Holiday parties are tricky for the workplace because does everyone dread them and pray for an excuse to get out of them? Yes. But would we all take it personally if our office didn't throw one? Also yes. Fair? No. Reality? Yes. If your boss doesn't throw some sort of gettogether at Christmas (even if it's just an office potluck!), they look like a penny pinching Scrooge. If they do throw one, they look like a sociopath who thinks you actually want to hang out with them outside of work. It's a lose-lose. Here are my tips on how to survive:


1. You HAVE to go. You owe it to your reputation as an engaged employee to suck it up for one night. Even if you can only stand it for 30 minutes. Do you think you're the only one who doesn't want to be here? Absolutely not. The guy who you share a cubicle wall with would rather be at home reading to his kid. The lady you always re-apply your lipstick next to in the women's bathroom would rather be drinking with people she actually likes. The antisocial coworker who you think might actually enjoy an opportunity to get out would probably rather stick a lit cigarette in their eye. You get the gist. Take a deep breath, paste on your smile and join your colleagues in an unspoken bond of shared misery. It will bring you closer than any corporate retreat ever could.

2. Drink like you would drink if your boss was in the room. Wait, your boss is in the room. DO NOT drink more than the one drink you are socially obligated to order. You don't need to wake up tomorrow with a fuzzy memory of telling Cheryl that you silent stalk her Instagram and does she really think that monokini was a good idea last summer.

3. If spouses are invited, do NOT neglect to prepare a signal. Is your partner getting into treacherous territory telling Jim about your master bath renovation you've financed with your new raise? Antlers UP, Jim's raise didn't cover his last tank of gas.

4. As a host/manager, do not discuss the past fiscal year. If things went well, we know. We already got our bonuses. If not, the $50 bill in our Christmas card clued us in. Parties are about pie, not pi charts, Susan.

5. If your company gives out crap with their logo on it, do not bring it home with you. You have more than enough cheesy office swag, so do yourself, your spouse and your junk drawer a favor and ditch it in the dumpster en route to your Uber.


6. If you're doing a gift exchange, funny presents are great, but stay away from any jokes that could be perceived as sexual. The penis pens might be funny with your college pals, but with your office pals, they'll either share it on Facebook as a faux-pas or send it to HR as a show cause. Steer clear.

7. Don't use this as an opportunity to show Nancy the payoff from passing on the donuts at morning staff meetings. Save the skin tight fitting right for someone you won't see BRIGHT and early tomorrow morning. Keep your look festive yet polished. Think statement sweaters and midi skirts.

8. Please, please tell me I don't have to tell you not to hit up the dance floor. Do not get out there and bust a move, no matter how many dance offs you won during undergrad. Your team isn't going to be impressed that your hips don't lie, and they may never trust your judgment again. That twerk will stick with them far longer than any legacy of good work.

9. Stay long enough to be respectful, and if you're having a good time (good on you), stay even longer. Just don't be one of the last people to leave. As soon as you notice the crowd beginning to dwindle, it's time to make your exit to avoid waking up with a new party animal reputation. Additionally, if a small group from your team is heading to a second venue after the party, feel free to join them. If a smaller group is heading from there to a third venue, steer clear. The happy hour crowd is cool, but the party-all-night-crowd is probably not something you want to be professionally associated with. In addition to putting your own reputation at risk, you may end up learning some things about your coworkers' "habits" that you really didn't want to know.

10. Don't let your guard down, but do your best to {otherwise} relax and have fun. You may find that you and a coworker have more in common than a cubicle wall. But honestly, maybe not. And that's okay too. There's probably a reason we only do this once a year.


XX, Clarissa