As an early Christmas present for my lovely readers (and the other ones as well), here’s a special appearance by a fellow in houser. My guest wishes to remain anonymous – I wonder why?
Tis’ the season to be jolly…or alternatively the start of the messages from well meaning HR companies and law firms on 101 ways not to enjoy the festivities. Pinsent Mason’s Out-Law.com was one of the first I saw with Top 10 Tips about the Office based party.
When I look at the list of subjects (dancing on tables, misuse of company equipment and mistletoe, breach of electrical regulations, drugs etc) I start to think that somebody somewhere in private practice might be having a better party experience than me…but with all that ‘advice’ out there and corporate responsibility laying a heavy burden on my shoulders how do I have fun at a Christmas party as an in-houser? A lonely, on my own in-houser with no team; everybody and nobody’s friend. Is it time to bust down those virtual walls and truly integrate with the sales force? Can I really drop my risk based assessments and go wild in the company of the IT development team? Is it time to let go of structured tailoring, lighten up and struck my funky stuff on the dance floor (reception area). Maybe this year will be my moment…maybe I’ll finally become ‘one of them’….
Early after the ‘End of the Year Party’ invite the Grinch puts it out there that he’s not going to attend. I know his game; I’ve seen it before; he wants people to beg. Well, sorry mate but this year is not going to happen. You see I’m all for inclusivity which includes including those who don’t want to be included in my new approach: not interested? Alrighty.
C’mon we’re all grown-up’s so let’s prove it with this year’s Secret Santa which is not all about the money, money, money and set an unacceptably low financial threshold that allows nothing but total naffness. Maybe I should even eliminate the randomness of the exercise and allow staff members to offer me sums of money/chocolate/wine to ensure they get the recipient they really want. Whether it’s a gift of love, hate, passion or derision nothing says it better than a £5 gift. Oh, and if it’s a sex toy – make sure you include batteries. The HR team enjoy nothing better than a good post-party storm in a teacup sorry, grievance. I will henceforth name the event ‘Santa’s Stich-Up’.
Free Bar are just great things aren’t they? It gives us all the opportunity to sample (and leave) every type of optic that you wouldn’t do if you were paying yourself. And then there are the liqueurs. Who knew that crème de menthe chasers after champagne were such a good thing? I’ll drop my concern that people will drink until they are senseless and place no value on what they are consuming or wasting: “Boss your staff will think you are awesome”. Well, until they wake up the next morning with the hangover from hell and work out that despite the fact that you paid for the drinks all last night they still hate you and their job. Still, free booze night = flexible brownie points. I will note that a free bar is not necessarily the route to long term commitment and loyalty from your staff but, speaking as an employee myself, I think it’s a start. Cheers!
Protect the vulnerable and keep an eye out for the office junior? Sorry EU based age discrimination legislation prevents us from having an office junior so they are no longer identifiable. Seriously though even with my new found freedom I’ll be watching out for the young ones. Those first ‘end of year’ parties are minefields. Who doesn’t have a story to tell of things that they have said/done/watched/ignored/laughed/cried at and then regretted forever, ever, ever? Well, I have loads and I am going to force them to sit in the toilets with me while I force-feed them the benefit of my experience. I can’t prevent them making their own fledgling party based mistakes but I can drone on until hopefully they sober up and decide to go home early or chose to (who am I kidding) ignore me and go right ahead. You see, having decided to integrate I’m now one of them right?
In advance of the party what kind of person would put out a notice about misuse of company equipment and ‘ban’ dancing on tables and mounting the photocopier? Frankly, in the heels I intend wearing there is little chance of me making it to the tables in one piece but despite the lack of rigidity or strength in the table design I may just throw caution to the wind. Granted I know that some of the tables are so flexible they barely hold a computer but what price my dignity? I don’t have a long held desire to mount the photocopier but appreciate that others may. After all it’s a sexy bit of kit and it’s not every day of the week that you get to pin a picture of your backside to the office window of the guy who routinely refuses your expenses. The CSR policy can still be met with a simple sign “do you need to print this document” and reminding employees of the consequences of paper waste on the environment. Or alternatively, but where’s the fun: turn it off. Anyone drunk enough to consider such behaviour will be flummoxed when the green button doesn’t achieve the desired results.
But even with my new found liberal approach to the celebrations there are rules that I am sticking to and will be openly promoting but rewording as I don’t want to be considered “anti-fun”:
1. Best piece of advice I ever got on the subject of office sex: “Don’t f%#k the flock”. End of. I will also recommend that people leave with the person they came with. It helps for inter-office harmony. Those 3 way love triangle thingies are tricky and lead to migraines, paperwork and office/team reorganisations.
2. Drugs are bad kids. So, unless you want to see your boss carted off to the local nick for allowing the toilets to be used as a drugs den and getting a rep for becoming the local drug-lord don’t do it. This kind of thing is not good for the company’s rep. Have some respect and keep your job. Recreational drugs are for recreation time. The office party ain’t recreation its hard work!
3. The Walk of Shame. Unless you’re in the habit of not caring what people think and have heaps of money that you can afford to be unemployed don’t be a slave to bad behaviour if you don’t want to walk that walk the day after the night before. And let’s not forget co-workers and bosses have long, long memories after all something has to keep them going for the next 9 months until the countdown for the next office do starts all over again…