7 signs you’re at a bad office holiday party

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Bad Office Holiday Party

Phil Sexton, Flickr

The holidays are here and if you’re lucky enough to be employed this season you very well may find yourself invited to an office holiday party. First off, congratulations on not being a social reject. There are certain do’s and don’ts of the office holiday party, but I don’t have the time to cover that. I’m simply here to warn you of the signs of a bad office holiday party. Know what to look out for and enjoy the fiesta.

Photo credit: Phil Sexton, Flickr


dpstyles, Flickr

Expecting your party to be an all night rager that goes into the wee hours of the morning, leaving everyone questioning what happened the night before might be a bit much. While the office holiday party probably isn’t going to break any endurance records, hopefully it lasts until at least the double digit hours of the evening. If it’s during the work week, it’s probably going to end earlier rather than later, but that doesn’t mean you and your co-workers can’t keep an after party alive and kicking.

Photo credit: dpstyles, Flickr


dpstyles, Flickr

Sometimes (or often times) people feel the pressure to impress their superiors at the office holiday party and completely forget to have fun. Yes, it’s technically a work function, but keep in mind that “party” is in the title, which means you’re supposed to have fun. If the boss sees everyone acting stiff it might give him/her the impression that this party was an utter waste of time. Relax and enjoy yourself, that’s what shot glasses are for.

Photo credit: dpstyles, Flickr

At the Office

Phil Sexton, Flickr

Unless you work in an amusement park run by lingerie models, having the holiday party at the office is an immediate sign of lameness to follow. The office party that’s still in the office is going to be a constant reminder that you’re not really at a party, but only the break room with some refreshments and party streamers. You can’t just push Kathy’s desk into the corner and call it a dance floor.

Photo credit: Phil Sexton, Flickr


ChefMattRock, Flickr

One of the biggest pitfalls of the bad office party is the threat of work conversation suffocating the entire evening like a fun-hating python. Should you be grabbing yourself a glass of punch and Rob from accounting strikes up conversation about last month’s expense reports, it’s completely acceptable to push him down a flight of stairs. Okay, not really, but when work conversation dominates the office holiday party you can pretty much forget about any holiday cheer. Again, working at an amusement park run by lingerie models would be an exception to this rule.

Photo credit: ChefMattRock, Flickr


shawnzrossi, Flickr

“And now, for your entertainment, the #2 Elvis impersonator in western Ohio!” Not what you want to hear at the holiday office party and should be handled by inserting a sharp object in your ear to numb the pain. A lot of companies might not have the funds for world class entertainment in a rough economy, so expecting a private performance of Cirque du Solei might be a bit much. This doesn’t mean everyone should be standing around quietly sipping their drinks either. A few suggestions from employees and strategic budgeting are all that’s needed. If nothing else, set up Guitar Hero and watch your co-workers stumble through Born to Run.

Photo credit: shawnzrossi, Flickr


Fuzzy Gerdes, Flickr

If your boss is too cheap to shell out for some decent food or any food for that matter, sorry, but your party has just taken the exit to Lame Town. The expression is “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” and while it’s certainly possible to accomplish the “Merry” part with just drink, eating is a big part as well. Note: Be aware of the signs of bad catering. “Is that half of Jen’s birthday cake from last week? … What’s with all the stale candy corn and peeps? … Hmm, this spread closely resembles the McDonald's $1 menu.” Congrats, your company doesn’t give a shit about you.

Photo credit: Fuzzy Gerdes, Flickr


jakeprzespo, Flickr

“They’ve run out of alcohol, but there’s still plenty of diet Fresca!” Or worse, there was no alcohol to begin with. Get out. Now. While you still have time.

Merry Chrismukkahwanza everyone!

Photo credit: jakeprzespo, Flickr

(Previously published on December 4, 2011.)

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