Friday, December 19, 2008

The Office Christmas Party

There are many urban legends out there of the stereotypical office Christmas party.

A wide variety of disasters, pratfalls, guffaws, and otherwise unexplainable romantic interludes fueled by drinking far too much spiked punch, nog, and other holiday adult beverages.

I have witnessed some of these first-hand in both of the professions of my adult lifetime which includes 10 1/2 years in banking and now 18 1/2 years in police work.

Whether its cops or bankers letting their hair down, or lawyers, doctors, office or factory workers, the annual company or departmental Christmas party can become the stuff of legend.

My wife and her fellow employees of the Charles Jacquin Company have their annual bash tonight for which I will be playing the role of her designated driver. This will allow her to let her hair down a little and enjoy a few of those adult beverages without having to worry about drunk driving in the wet weather that has made the Philly roadways especially slick.

I don't know how many others will be as fortunate, or as smart, in finding someone else to hand the car keys to after having a few too many cocktails.
Your best bet is always to set that kind of thing up ahead of time. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and merriment folks. Enjoy yourselves plenty, but if you are going to have a little more to drink than you normally would or should, set yourself up with a designated driver.

Now, when you are actually at that party, be careful. Alcohol not only makes for bad drivers, it makes for loose lips as well. Those lips can be loosened to the point where they let words slip from between them that you might not usually let out.

For instance, telling your boss exactly how you feel about him or her, especially when those feelings are not complimentary. Even when you want to compliment someone, do it early on in the evening. There are few things more annoying than someone who wants to tell you how great you are while falling all over you in a drunken stupor.

The other way those loose lips can get you in trouble is by allowing them to meet with another person's similarly loose lips. Don't let the company 'Slick Willie' catch you under the mistletoe when you've thrown back a bunch of 'Captain & Coke' specials.

Especially do not allow this to happen if either or both of you is married. It's not right to begin with, but you also have to remember, these days there are cameras everywhere, usually video. Just what you need on Christmas morning, waking up to find you and your boss, or you and Slick Willie, splashed all across YouTube in a lip-lock or worse.

Having a reliable 'Wing Man' (or woman) can be helpful here. Someone who usually doesn't imbibe as much as you will, and who is willing to watch your back and step in should you find yourself easing into a bad situation.

And if the party is actually at the office, don't be the one to pull down your pants or hike your skirt, jump up onto the copy machine, and make photo copies of your naked butt.

The real bottom line is to simply watch out for yourself. The office Christmas party is a great chance for people who work hard together all year to relax and enjoy one another in a social setting. To eat some good food together, raise a few glasses in toast to one another, and salute a job well done this past year.

Let someone else be the jackass with the lampshade on his head at the end of the night, or the gal who goes home with Slick Willie for the drunken, regretful one-niter. Have a great time, and don't allow yourself to become a Christmas party legend.

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