I smell it too. It’s the ‘I-drank-too-much-lost-my-wallet-slept-with-my-colleague-and-now-I-can’t-get-home’ sort of smell. Negotiating the work Christmas party can be tricky. A few drinks in and the timid intern is grinding with the guy from HR who you were convinced was gay. Maybe he still is. Maybe he’s just experimenting. Who knows? Who cares? Nobody!
Aside from the dodgy karaoke, the inappropriate conversations and the copious amounts of regurgitated chicken doner and stomach lining, the work Christmas party is a shameless breeding ground of regret.
Everyone does it, so what the hell, right? The Christmas party seems to forgive all. If someone has decided to strip half-naked and brutally murder ABBA’s Dancing Queen then you will match them blow for blow so help you God. Slept with a co-worker? F*ck it, it’s the Christmas party! Threw up violently outside a Wetherspoons? Don’t worry, it’s what Jesus would want. You’ll brazen it out, I’m sure, and come the following morning, everyone will
gossip about your exploits have completely forgotten.
You might work at a startup, or a big corporation, or maybe even a school – the Christmas parties all follow a similar blueprint. Another analogue is your career, and that matters. ‘Sally the office sex pest’ isn’t a nickname that’s going to propel you up the corporate ladder.
So, here are a handful of do’s and don’ts (mainly don’ts) to prepare you for this year’s work-related festivities.
Don’t get too drunk: I love a beer – I love two beers – but I know my limits. Come beer #4, I’ll be Sally the office sex pest, gyrating helplessly on one of the directors as a dubstep remix of Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty pounds mercilessly in the background. Don’t be Sally.
Don’t act too weird: Picture the scenario. You’re lent over the water cooler with Dave. He looks you in the eye. You know. He knows. You know that he knows. Knows what exactly? An embarrassing secret that you don’t remember blurting out; a confession you made to a colleague…something uncalled for, that’s for sure. Alcohol can only excuse so much, so be sure to leave a good lasting impression, especially if you’re new.
Don’t insult your boss: Actually, scrap that – maybe don’t talk to him at all. A lighthearted jab in his/her direction is risky, asking for a pay rise or promotion is even riskier, and a full-blown monologue about how you really feel about them is suicide – you’re here for a bit of fun, you don’t want to be receiving your P45 the following morning.
Do stay professional: Like I said, a bit of fun. Celebrate the year’s successes, have a few good laughs, but don’t lose all semblance of professionalism. You might be in a different environment, but the people you’re spending time with haven’t changed.