Thursday, 1 December 2011
Graduate Myth #8: The Work Christmas Party
There seems to be a mental image of a work Christmas party. It's a big boozy lair-up, which starts off like that Boots advert with woman walking in slo-mo and ends up in a big lairy mess with Sharon from accounts snogging Tom from HR behind a pot plant and someone is sick on the boss. A lot of Christmas parties are happening this weekend, so let me guide you through it.
This... is pretty much what happens. Sorry, everyone. The myth is true. I wish it wasn't. There may be companies out there that pay for sophisticated and unique events, but I have yet to work for any of them and I don't know anyone else who has either. All Christmas parties seem to involve some sort of meal, some sort of drinks, and some sort of entertainment (disco/cabaret/clubbing), and all Christmas parties involve dramatic mistakes with alcohol and some sort of colleague drama. However, I bring good news: if you're sensible about it, the work Christmas party can be a hell of a laugh.
I have been on a variety of work Christmas parties. Probably the lowest moment was on one for a part-time job I had in uni. My manager got arrested in a bar for kicking a glass door to pieces, something I only found out two days later as at the time of said arrest I was vomiting lentils from the meal over my bedroom carpet. I am going to regret admitting to that one. We had a lot of booze bought for us on the company account, and, er, yeah. It's a memory I mostly repress, that one, although there isn't an awful lot of memory left.
However, my most recent Christmas party was quite good. A few years of experience at these events gave me the magic knowledge, which is Don't Drink Too Much And Remember Everyone Else Is A Wanker. I danced a bit, drank a bit, avoided Big Bob and his grabby hands and even got to enjoy a hotel breakfast the next day without promptly hurling it up again. Score.
If you really, really hate your place of work and they're not paying for your Christmas party, I hasten to point out, don't bother. They're not fun if that's the case. I work for a company that pays for everything (we tend to go to some sort of local hotel, eat, drink, be merry and sleep), and as I am now The Social Secretary due to my freakish attention to planning detail I even get to unfairly put my preferences out there. I also get on with enough people I work with to enjoy the planning side of things, where we discuss dresses and put some money into a pot to buy a bottle of wine or two to drink before we go to the party itself.
The thing is, I also dislike a lot of people I work with, but I've now worked out the best thing to do is just ignore them where possible. This is easier than you might realise – remember, you're not being paid to be at the Christmas party, so other than remembering not to vomit on the boss you can generally please yourself. If you're feeling really sophisticated, now is the time to start dropping psychological hints about your general awesomeness and why a pay rise would be a good idea, although this won't work if you're trapped with Brian from I.T. all night, mostly because Brian doesn't even work in payroll.
So go to the Christmas party. It won't be the best party of your night, but with just a little work it certainly doesn't have to be the worst.
FA LA LA.