Every company has them. And the location could be anywhere. The boss’ backyard. The CEO’s exclusive penthouse. The office foyer. The ridiculous restaurant down the street. Or if your really lucky, Vegas.
But just because it’s time for the annual party, don’t take it as an excuse to let it all hang out. Trust me, there is one at every party. And you don’t want it to be you. If you aren’t sure if you overdid it and there are 256 messages on your voicemail the next morning, including one from HR, that should be a big clue that person was you.
I want to save you from the fate of being “The One” so I’m offering up my 10 ways to survive a night of holiday joy.
1. Know the Party. Read the invitation for clue. Are kids invited? If so, you might want to leave that skanky red dress at home. No kids? Every outfit is fair game. But you get extra points if your attire includes elf shoes. Or ugly Christmas sweaters. But be careful, this might be the first time that your fellow workers have seen you in anything less than a suit. So they don’t know if that sweater is meant to be a hilariously ugly Christmas sweater or “something your dear, deceased mother knitted to keep you warm.”
2. Assess the Room. Start co-mingling across social groups once everyone is sufficiently full of liquids. If you hang out with people you don’t know, then you can retell your best jokes and stories to a brand new audience.
3. Talk to the Boss. The best time to approach the boss is before you are best friends with the bar tender. It helps if you have a prepared list of non-controversial topics. For instance, on a scale of 1-10, how popular is Rod Blagojevich in prison. Or ask if he heard about the monkey that went shopping in Ikea. The Apple Maps app that may be “Life Threatening’ to drivers might lead to an interesting conversation.
4. Avoid the mistletoe. Seriously, do I need to say anything more about this?
5. Be Wary of Parties with Themes. Themes might result in you being asked to wear a costume, buy something you will never use again, or, God forbid, be forced to sing Karaoke. Which brings me to …
6. Sing and Dance in Moderation. Remember my earlier musings about “That One Guy.” But if you really feel the need to participate, you need to go all out. We are talking voice lessons, stage costumes, choreographed dance moves. If you follow these instructions, it is possible that your epic performance will always be remembered and might even become a part of office lore. It is also possible that someone will have a video recorder and post the clip to YouTube before you are even off the floor.
7. Leave the iPad full of your latest family vacation photos at home. Also, no cat photos. Unless it’s LOL cats. Then it is perfectly acceptable.
8. Attend the Right Party. This is just like making sure you are at the right wedding reception. If you don’t see anyone you know, take a hint and start telling all of your favorite jokes and stories to a brand new audience.
9. Master the Art of Eating Hors d’oeuvre. I don’t think I will ever understand why someone thought it would be a good idea to circulate a tray of shrimp cocktails that require dipping, eating and disposal with only one free hand. You know, because your other hand is busy holding a drink. Also, make sure you only accept bites of food that won’t leave traces around your mouth since you don’t have another free hand to hold a napkin.
10. Know When it is Time to Go Home. There will always be one group that headed to an after-party followed by an after-after-party. But unless you are capable of standing on your own two feet, haven’t felt the need to show off your 80s break dance skills, and have yet to really stick your foot in your mouth, then you might want to consider calling it a night.