Office Holiday Parties

The week before Christmas is here, meaning it’s time for the one of the worst parts about the holiday season: office parties. This week marks two of our festivities, one of them being a potluck and an office door decorating contest held earlier today.

Chandler on Friends

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve heard that a lot of office holiday parties can be fun. For instance, when I worked at a start-up two years ago, the holiday party consisted of 40 to 50 people at our CEO’s house, drinking that high class alcohol and eating way too fancy finger foods. This might have come across as extremely pretentious had it not been for my manager who ended up playing DJ for the night, only to wind up getting a little too drunk, and then proceeded to take all of us out bar hopping after. Not to mention our CEO spoiled us by handing out bottles of wine, chocolate truffles, and those fluffy, must-bury-my-face-in-it-immediately vests from Patagonia. Ah, the start-up life. I do miss it. I once had holiday parties that needed no venting. I came from a world of dancing, social networking while simultaneously face-to-face networking, selfies, co-ed mingling – I came from the world of the uncivilized (until the alarm went off the next morning). And it was a beautiful world at that.

My problem is when I started working as a manager in a new industry over a year ago, I found myself (and still find myself) surrounded by – how can I put this nicely? – people that are slightly older than I am. And by slightly, I mean my grandparents’ age. Again, this isn’t always a bad thing – my grandparents are two of my favorite people in the entire universe. However, working with a group of people who are at that age when you have yet to reach your (official) mid-twenties, is – again, how can I put this nicely? – dull as fuhhhh. And yes, dull is putting it nicely.

My feelings exactly.

My feelings exactly.

With this crowd, there is no alcohol, there is no music, and there aren’t even chairs (which I find slightly ironic given the majority age group). Instead, we have a meandering of people going from tabletop to tabletop devouring fig covered crackers and Christmas cupcakes at 10 a.m. discussing the latest stroller model. Shaun T. would definitely not approve. And let’s face it, I just can’t disappoint him. Ever.

So apart from the obligatory pictures and the forced small talk, I find it incredibly difficult to relate to anyone I work with. It’s not that I don’t make an effort, but hey, let’s face it, I don’t have grandkids yet, and I’m not going to have a clue in the world as to what to say when you start telling me about what kind of ornament your six-year-old grandson is fawning over this year. I swear everyone, I really am not a Grinch or anything (although I will concede to SOMETIMES living in the neighborhood of bitchy). If you’ve read my blog, you should know that I have a full on obsession with this time of year. I’m basically a raving maniac (minus any psychotic tendencies) for all things Christmas. But it’s tough to be the 24-year-old trying to enter the clique of 60-year-olds. Let me tell you, the struggle is real.

Robin on HIMYM

Not only that, but one of the biggest things to avoid at any office party is the discussion of politics and religion (this tip can also be applied to meeting your significant other’s parents/family/loved ones). It’s a true faux pas. Again though, have you read my blog? I love to talk about politics and religion. So instead, this morning I played a game called Shut Up, Sam, as I listened to two people discuss the differences between the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare. Just a newsflash in case you are as dimwitted as these two people: there are none. So not only do I have to focus on not coming across as looking completely and utterly bored out of my skull, but I also have to channel my energy into not giving out a body language signal that says, “Please discover a pastime that doesn’t involve E! News.” And I’m running on about two hours of sleep since last night, so yes, that’s asking a lot of me.

Dwight and Michael

And while I’m not the biggest social butterfly around, I do love parties, and I do love people, and if you couldn’t already tell, I do love talking. However, I already knew beforehand that I desperately wanted to skip this communal event. I mean, even my subconscious knew I wanted out. You know how I know that? I didn’t even remember today was our holiday potluck party until my manager encouraged me to get on out there and mingle – and stuff my face with those fig covered crackers and these things called buckeyes (if you must know, I was told those are balls of peanut butter dipped in chocolate). Those sound like the food of the gods, but again, I think of Shaun. And we all know that you can never be the first to leave the office holiday party, and you sure as hell can’t skip the thing entirely. Come on now, no one likes Wallflower Wally over there. You have to go, you have to mingle, you have to look like you are having the holliest, jolliest time of your freakin’ life. So what did I do? I went, I mingled, and I acted my ass off. I was holly, I was jolly, talkative, provocative, and all around entertaining. I deserve an Oscar for that performance. And why did I do that? Because I am a goddamn professional. And because:

Obv.

Obvi.

Here’s wishing you and your coworkers a festive holiday party!

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