Relationships with co-workers can be interesting. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t hang out with each other outside of work, but we spend more time with each other than we do with our friends. You’re not exactly friends, at least not in the outside world, yet you still find yourself engaged in distracting, pointless conversations in the break room and you still make jokes and talk about your weekend plans (that they — or you — aren’t invited to). Some of these coworkers are just email buddies or part of your phone conference cliques… you never actually meet in the office, let alone in real life. It’s a unique situation. These awkward connections are made all the more obvious during those universally loved mandatory office functions.
And as we all know, it’s that time of year. Yep. I got the email invite to the oﬃce holiday party this past week. I have just one word to say about that… help! I’ll be forced to meet the people I’ve been emailing from ten feet away. Ugh.
Oh, I forgot to mention. We’re having a Secret Santa gift exchange this year instead of a cookie exchange. Really!? It’s like they’re adding insult to injury. Last year I got a myriad of sweet treats to take home (who am I kidding, they never made it out of my office)… this year I could get any sort of awful thing. And then I have to get someone else a gift, cause, you know, that’s how these things work. Good grief doesn’t even cover it. But it’s the holidays, so I’m trying to curb my cursing in hopes that Santa has short-term memory loss and won’t remember the rest of the year’s colorful sentence enhancers.
Isn’t it crazy how you can work with someone for years and still not know anything about them? I know what most of my coworkers had for breakfast and which kid got suspended last week, but gift ideas? No, not a clue. How do you shop for someone you don’t really know? There’s so-and-so who eats a half-dozen donuts every day, but I can’t get them a Krispy Kreme gift card, right? I’m thinking that would be rude. I can think of a few who could really use muzzles, but HR told me that would be frowned upon, and I’m really trying to avoid HR this year.
We’re drawing names out of a hat this coming week for the Secret Santa thing… I just hope I pick the person in the cubbyhole next to mine so that I can gift them with a set of pens that don’t click. It would save us both a lot of heartache – and bail money – in the end.
Speaking of holiday parties, ours is apparently having alcohol again this year. Alcohol makes every party at work 500 times more interesting. Trust me, that’s a fact. Just about everyone ends up imbibing (I mean, it’s a party with your coworkers… you do what you need to do to push through), but there are always those people who are somehow plastered a half hour into the party. How do they get so drunk so quickly? Personally, I think they start the celebration a little early with a nip in the office kitchen. These are usually the folks that are dancing with the hat rack, wearing the wreath from reception around their neck, and there isn’t even any music playing.
Of course, there’s the requisite mistletoe melodrama… the coworkers who use it as an excuse to get chummy and try their best to make it seem spontaneous when, in fact, they’ve been practicing all week. You see, we don’t have mistletoe in the office. I know, right!? That’s part of the whole plot… it’s discovered in one of the coworkers’ pockets as part of an elaborate mise-en-scène. Frankly, the rest of us are getting bored with the whole show, because it’s been the gal from finance and the guy from the warehouse two years running now. Come on, people! We need a couple of fresh faces to step up in the office affair department to make things a little more interesting this time next year.
What it all comes down to is this; basically, there are two groups of people at these events: the people acting like they’re at a college party rather than sharing eggnog with their boss and their boss’ boss who flew in from Toledo just for the event, and the rest of us who just want to go home. Can you guess which group I’m in?
Cause you just know that at some point someone is busting out a karaoke machine. It’s just a matter of time. You only hope that you get an emergency call from home before then… or somehow tranquilized. What is it about booze and karaoke machines that make people who don’t get it think that they’ve got it? Is there a volume lower than mute? Where’s that button on the karaoke machine is what I’d like to know.
I always find a buddy to drink with – misery loves company after all. We all have that one work buddy. Our Office BFF. We laugh at everyone else, talk about how much we want to leave and generally contemplate the repercussions of the evening.
I guess it’s better than that corporate group retreat where we did trust training. I’m still scarred from my trust fall with Bart from accounting. Yikes.
** This post was brought to you by holiday drinking. Thank you for making us all, in the words of the great Clark Griswold, “the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse” this holiday season.
I’ve always fantasized about “winning the lottery” about this time of year and using the office holiday party as a venue for making an unforgettable exit from the company. Turn it into an absolutely *EPIC* performance art piece, see just how many people I could send off the deep end, many of them with envy wishing they had the option to do it.
The big question – just how far into the grey areas can you go (and how often?) before charges actually get pressed?
Hey that’s where I worked.
I take it that you’re in that group that gets fired up and dances on a desk. am I right?? huh? huh? huh?
You must teach your cat how to push the button on a cel phone, so he can call you and tell you to come home immediately or he’ll eat the lights on the christmas tree. I mean, you’d have to leave right away.
Two words for you: gift card.
Seriously, just a general one from Visa or Mastercard. Have the max amount you’re allowed to spend on it and write a nice little note about how you have no idea what the person would want as you don’t know them well (if at all – I once got a person I didn’t know existed and still am not sure if they do) and tell them to have a very happy holiday.
It’s not rude or insulting at all. Specially since it is SECRET santa so unless you spill it, they’ll never know! I rather get that then anything any of my past co-workers would get me (with an exception of a few of them who actually knew me well but only at work). Buy what I want instead of trying to figure out who I can pass on this girly smelly soap set to.
Just give them a $20 bill—to spend any way they like, on anything they want.
If they say anything about it simply tell them “Hey, it’s all I can afford. Take it or leave it.”