04 December 2007

Do Fantasy Boyfriends Count As a Plus One?

Generally, I'm a fan of Christmas. I like the carols, I like the presents, I like the general sense of well-being that permeates the air during the holiday season. I don't have a lot of complaints about how people celebrate the season as long as they keep it within the Thanksgiving-to-New Year's window and don't keep me up at night with their light displays. But there is one holiday tradition I hate with the passion of a thousand fiery suns: the office party.

My enjoyment of holiday office parties died when I turned 10 and no longer got presents from Santa at my dad's work party. I was spared the experience for many years as my dad's company stopped having them and I didn't work while at university. The first year I worked in Salt Lake the office party consisted of the branch manager taking us to lunch and handing out gift cards to Home Depot and Target, which was perfect for me because the socializing was kept to a minimum AND I got to buy cute stuff from Target. Sadly, when the branch manager changed, so did the office party, mutating into an evening at the SkyBox with the office staff, families, sub-contractors, their families etc. Luckily I got a monster migraine and skipped it. It is a rare feeling indeed to be grateful for a migraine.

Today at work we got a memo announcing the office party would be a week from Friday. Which deflated all my hopes that I could avoid the office party pain for another year. It also got me thinking about why I loathe them so much. Here are my reasons for loathing them. Feel free to add your own if I've missed any.

-- Forced socialization with your co-workers. Even though the evening is billed as a 'party', you are pretty much obligated to go. Your bosses are shelling out to thank you for a year of work and you look like an ingrate if you don't attend. So you are forced to endure spending more time with people you probably wouldn't ever talk to if you weren't forced to every day at work. Some of whom you really look forward to escaping from when 5 o'clock rolls around.

-- There is usually some sort of controlled substance. If you, like me, are a non-drinker, watching your co-workers become increasingly inebriated is painful. All the quirks, idiosyncracies and just plain annoying behaviors become amplified. And as I suspect I work with at least 3 functional alcoholics, I can't wait to watch the evening unfold.

-- There is no larger public forum in which display the fact that you will indeed die alone and be eaten by Alsatians. Office holiday parties usually include significant others and if you don't have one or are unable to bribe a friend of the opposite sex with the promise of free food, everyone knows it. It makes the seating arrangements awkward, it opens the door to intrusive questions and comments, and invokes an unwelcome show of pity.

-- Some people use the office holiday party like others use the Christmas card letter; as a forum for demonstrating how much better they are than you. Whether it is about money, travel, sports, children, or even tragedy, they play a constant game of one-upmanship in which they must always win. I have a 12.5 second tolerance for this kind of conversation.

-- By the end of the day, I'm in no mood to make small talk or showcase my sparkling personality. I want to go home, put on my pajamas, and turn my brain off.


esperanza said...

Take Severen Bergeson?

cherbear said...

Amen to all of those sister! And I'm adding assigned seating to the list. Last year at our office party, we went to a wonderful place, but there was assigned seating. My jerk, @#$%^, boss made the receptionist plan for assigned seats so that he wouldn't have to sit next to someone he didn't like, which put me next to someone I didn't like. I managed to weasle my way to another table but that whole situation was lame. I still contemplate not going this year because of that. And my jerk boss is such a jerk that he didn't take his wife last year so that she wouldn't talk to the wife of the person he doesn't like. Anyway, good luck at the party. I hate socializing with people from work, outside of work too so I've got no advice.

Anonymous said...

Add karaoke to that mix, a dress code of "Holiday Dress" (who knows what that means?) and a significant other who is so antisocial that he refuses to go to the party, making everyone wonder whethere he might just be a figment of your imagination, and you've just hit upon my upcoming Friday night.

Treat Queen said...

I'm adding that going along with said office parties, you are supposed to get some kind of end of the year bonus. As a teacher THERE IS NONE! No bonus. Pretty much the "party" is people partying because they don't get a bonus and have to have something to do.
On a side note, last year they did have prize giveaways, and I won twice. So I can't be bitter about that

Katie said...

HEY! You never know, maybe your very own Jim Halpert will give you a tea pot full of well-thought-out gifts at your office party this year =-) I agree though, usually office parties leave you thinking, "shouldn't I get paid for being here? I feel like I'm working!"

Scully said...

Sadly, there is no Jim at my office. Only married people and Dwight.

cherbear said...

Maybe "Dwight" will give you a bobble head of himself. On a good note, one of our friends works for the local zoo/animal preserve and he's invited us to his work christmas party. I'm looking forward to that one!