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How to Survive An Office Party

Updated on May 10, 2011

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Such Fun!

With each passing day, the date of the dreaded office party draws closer. You have been assigned the job of purchasing “festive” napkins. The thought of this party doesn’t put you in an even remotely festive mood. Office parties are pointless, a contradiction. You go to work to make money, not to socialize. You don’t like the people you work with, not even the one you “borrow” paper clips from. This party is pointless, almost as pointless as your job. You wonder if you’ll get paid overtime for attending this shindig.

Why do bosses insist upon holding office parties? Are they really that oblivious that they don’t realize that no one (including themselves) wants to be there? Or do they realize and enjoy punishing others? An office party is not really a party. It’s a bunch of underpaid workers standing around a room, pretending to enjoy speaking with each other when they’re just scanning the room for alcohol and food worth digesting. Office parties are a waste of time even when they are thrown by the best intentioned people.

How do you survive these parties? I have no earth shaking answers, but I do have a few ideas. I will share them with you now.

  • Try not to think of the time you’re wasting at this party. Instead, use this time to promote yourself to the boss. Pretend that you’re enjoying the party. Thank him/her for throwing such a great gala. Never stop smiling. Hopefully, they’ll take notice of how much of a good sport you are compared to your grimacing coworkers and remember this when they’re giving out raises and promotions.
  • Tank up on all of the free food. If you’re like many of the people I know, you went for the food in the first place. In one of your pockets, you should have an empty bag to take home as many leftovers as you can. With so many starving people out there, it would be a shame to not fill up multiple bags.
  • This is a prime opportunity to really get to know your coworkers. Find out as much as you can about them at these parties. There are tons of bizarre people who enjoy telling others of their antics (flying cats, fish walking, etc.). You should take note of these stories and write a bestselling book about these people. Books about weird people sell like hot cakes!
  • I have heard legend of office parties that end with a prize giveaway. If you don’t attend, how can you win a cookie jar shaped like a hunk of cheese or a gift certificate to a dry cleaning service with a shady record?

While attending office parties is never fun, it’s a part of your job. If you skip one of these parties, you get bad office karma. Your coworkers will turn on you for not suffering along with them (How dare you not listen to your boss and his wife do a duet karaoke version of Ghetto Superstar for a fifth year in a row?!?). Plus, your boss will take notice and will add that to the list of reasons why he/she should find a concrete reason to fire you. Missing an office party, no matter how pointless, is never a good idea. And so, the next time an office party rolls around, be sure to make an appearance. If keeping your job isn’t motivation enough, I’m sure that yummy cheese platter will be.


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