bah humbug

You probably started receiving them before you left for your Thanksgiving celebration. The barrage of email messages demanding in all caps, bold letters, that you "SAVE THE DATE" for your company’s holiday party. Of course, there are only so many evenings in the month of December that can accommodate this kind of entertainment.

So along with this party, you’ve got invitations your significant other’s job, your friend-who-needs-a-date’s job, your family’s, highschool friends’, college friends’, post-college friends’, neighbors’, professional association’s, etc. So unless you’ve just read Danny Wallace’s "Yes Man" and decided to take it on as your life’s new mantra you face a dilemma… do you go to the office party or not?

Some might advise that you don’t even consider NOT going unless you have a justifiable conflict. The rationale is that the office party is supposed to bring together colleagues for a bit of camaraderie and some well-deserved recognition… and if this is not your idea of a great time, then just consider it work, put on your happy face, and go.

I disagree. Unless you work for a company the size of Dunder-Mifflin in Scranton, you shouldn’t feel forced to go. I mean will anyone really be that upset you’re not there?

And besides, nothing kills your holiday buzz faster than getting caught in the awkward small-talk conversation with those people from your office you just don’t really like. Admittedly you have to work with them during the regular 9-5 – but at least they’re paying you for that time!

4 Comments so far

  1. MBFan#2 (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 10:13 am

    I disagree with this attitude about the holiday (if you prefer the PC term) party. I heard this item on NPR this morning about the “dreaded” holiday party. It depends on the culture of your office – you insinuate that office party comes down to what happened in high school. Cool kids out front and center, the geeks on the side, the goths hiding outside smoking…

    My attitude – food and drinks on the company dime! Who cares about office politics, drama and all the rest! I agree with you – why waste your time worrying about whether to go or not? Not comfortable – don’t feel forced to go. If you’re the type of person who can have a good time regardless of where you are, go! Happy holidays.


  2. smouie kablooie (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

    I don’t think I insinuated that I insinuated “that office party comes down to what happened in high school.” I think it is natural that there are people you work with that you would be enjoy being around outside of a day-to-day work environment – and others you wouldn’t. Personally I would draw the line based on who are the assholes – but to each his own.

    I do think that the question of whether or not to go really can be an issue for some folks – particularly if you are faced with choosing between conflicting holiday events (and being Jewish I do prefer the PC term).

    If you are going to make the choice – it should be based on factors other than “well it’s where I work.”


  3. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

    I once brought 1500 ml of homemade wine to a during-the-work-day office holiday party. My boss brought moonshine. It was a great time. Everyone got loaded and went home to sleep it off, or else to each others’ homes. It was a wild company.

    This year I work for a small company in Falls Church and will definitely be noticed when I don’t show up. My built-in excuse is that my mother has summoned me for a visit to NC. I was looking forward to drinks and food on the company this year…

    I knew someone who told me that at her husband’s company holiday party many years ago a bunch of people got drunk and told off the boss or else quit their jobs. So even the bad parties can still be entertaining as long as there is alcohol to put some fire in somebody.


  4. Don (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 6:31 pm

    Like it or not, attending work functions is often seen as a sign of appropriate devotion to your job. I think you’re interpreting the statement “you must go to your work xmas party except for XYZ reasons” as an etiquette statement rather than what it is, a career advancement statement.

    I don’t know if it’ll make you feel better or worse, but it’s any number of socializing activities, not just the holiday party. My father commented to me some years ago that he realized that he’d probably have been one or two rungs higher on the ladder by the time that he retired if he watched football – sports talk during the downtime in meetings and hallways is one of the ways people socialize and bond at work. There’s any number of books you can find out there that prove that people start making decisions based on emotion and gut rather than analysis in the workplace, starting at the interview stage and continuing on in all other areas.

    Holiday parties are career development time just as sure as certificate programs are.



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