There it is. Look at it. The office Christmas party.
It’s sitting in my calendar, looking up at me like a lovely big-eyed mogwai…asking to be fed.
The yuletide piss-up is a source of some terror for a newly-appointed trainee. Especially one whose evil plan is to hold on to their pass after the year’s contract is up. A potent blend of alcohol and jangling newbie nerves, it’s all too easy to make a right tit of yourself. Especially if you’re as akin as I am to making a left tit out of yourself, without the aid of mulled wine or the intoxicating mirth of twinkly lights.
I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and assemble some rules to follow at the office Christmas party. But not rules for the jaded Gen-Xers dragging their feet to retirement – they have their own rules, eg. now is not the time to bullet-point all the reasons you deserve a raise, with a bonus list of why your boss is a bloated, tight-fisted raise-denier (that was an awkward party – Santa’s jolliness has not rubbed off on his elves, let me tell you).
No, these rules are for those new to the job market: the brand new, sprightly, keen-to-impress millennials – especially the ones whose alcohol tolerance, like their degree, has depreciated massively since university.
Feel free to add to them in the comments below, readers, and if you’re going to any office Christmas parties I urge you to print off the rules, laminate them and keep them tied around your neck.
1) Don’t get too drunk
2) When you get too drunk…
…do not think this is the perfect time to tell ANYONE your first impressions of them:
“When we first met, I thought you were a bit of a douche…”
Oh good god, stop there. Seriously. No matter what you say after “But now I’ve got to know you…” you’ve blown it. Even if you say that now you’ve got to know them, you’d happily miss the second coming of Christ just to hang out with them and touch their hair. The fact is, there was a time in the past that you thought this person was a douche, and you hid it. You didn’t say, “My first impression of you, sir, is not good. I hope it’s not lasting. Time will tell.” You smiled. You said things, like “Yeah, that! What you just said! Totally!” Now they know you were full of it. Merry Christmas – they can never trust you again.
3) Do not hook up with anyone
I’m not saying all office hook-ups are a bad idea. (Neither am I saying “hint-hint” to anyone, I hasten to add) Frankly, I can’t think of a better place than work to meet someone likeminded (have you been to a bar recently? It’s like looking for love in a sloppy, slow-moving mosh pit. Or Primark).
I’m saying the Christmas party is not the place to make it happen, grad schemers. Even if the best happens – you begin a beautiful romance, you get married and non-accidentally create small humans together – your “how we got together” story will suck. “Mummy jumped daddy by the buffet.” “Really? I wonder who Richard Curtis will cast in the movie?” or “Mummy had too many mulled wines and spilled some on herself; Daddy tried to help her clean herself up and accidentally touched her boob, and felt so embarrassed he made a pass at her as he figured ‘swept away by the joy of Christmas to an ill-advised romantic fumble’ trumped being ‘accidental boob-graze guy’.”
Not even ironically. Don’t frack, either. (This should all go without saying, but it’s amazing how short the list of “things that should go without saying” gets when there’s a festive slug of amaretto in the punch.)
5) Mistletoe isn’t the boss of you
Who gave these berried weeds so much authority? How on earth do these obligate hemi-parasitic plants, so innocuous for the first 11 and a half months of the year, manage to beef up for two weeks and tell us whom we should and should not smooch? And why do we listen? People took a stand against Apartheid and the Nazis but we kowtow to the demands of an insignificant scrub of flora? Shun this tradition. It’s creepy, embarrassing and has been perpetuated exclusively by uggos and sex pests.
No offence, Dad.
6) Do not call in sick the next day
Even if you’re genuinely sick, literally no one will believe it’s anything other than a hangover. Not even if you’ve been roughed up in a mugging – in fact if you have, then brilliant, you’ve got a sickness people can see! Every cloud. Go into the office, clap your hands authoritatively and give the type of speech that can only begin: “Attention, co-workers! Hear ye, hear ye! Feast your eyes upon my visible excuse for a day off, caused by a ruffian who attacked me, NOT by all the alcohol I poured into my face last night! See how it swells! I shall take my legitimate leave now, as I must go to hospital. Merry Christmas. As you were.”
That’s it. I’m about to leave for the office Christmas party armed with only…six rules. This bodes ill for the evening. If someone could send regular tweets throughout the night reminding me of the rules, I would appreciate it. You’d do that for me, wouldn’t you? So I don’t embarrass myself? Guys?
Read Grad Scheming’s first post about her new job at The Guardian here.