I have fond memories of one colleaque turning up to work the monday after the xmas do with his arm in a cast. The police had picked him up from the central reservation several miles down the local spur road. He was awesome.
Etiquette experts Debrett’s has extensive advice for how to negotiate the work Christmas party, including retaining one’s professional gloss and never doing anything one might regret in the morning. Debrett’s has never been to a channel Christmas party. But with a threatened Eurozone double-dip recession, limping distributor …
...at Oktoberfest 2000 in Muenchen, after spending some hours quaffing steins at the company table .. making what was thoroughly the wrong decision to partake in one of the rougher fairground rides. I awoke, underneath my desk at work the following morning, having distant memories of trying to apologise in German, (which I don't actually speak) to the ride owner.
To add insult to both injury and pre-existing insult, after explaining myself to the building manager, uncharacteristically (I thought) for a German, she laughed and chided me for not remembering that there was a first aid bed in the next office to mine and that I had the access to get in there.
Oh happy days ... ?
Call me a miserable bastard if you like, but I just don't bother with Christmas parties - potentially saves a lot of embarrassment in the long run.
It's depressing enough that I'm (usually) the sole teetotaller in a room full of people trying their very best to drink themselves into a coma is monumentally depressing, but the false bonhomie that usually accompanies Christmas parties really grates (you hate you/you hate me - why should today be any different from the other 364 in the year?)
Also, I'm not really a party person. Full stop, end of story.
<--- Well, he looks a bit Scrooge-ish.
I remember talking to a manager, turned to say hello to one of her staff walking past, and carried on the conversation. A look of disgust and shock came over her face, and I thought, 'I'm not that drunk, I've not said anything stupid - I hope'. Turns out, our mutual friend had said hello to me, but that had been too much for him, opening his mouth had lost his control, he stepped behind her (out of my sight), stooped down and was sick all down the back of her legs. Soggy, sick-y tights. Yummy!
I found him about an hour later sitting on the toilet with the stall door open, being sick all over the floor.
On that day I made a vow to myself that I'd always be more sober than the least drunk manager at the party. A promise that was severely tested when I went to our best client's wedding, a seriously knotty problem of etiquette. But I think I got away with...
This friend works for a rather well-known parcel post firm with distinctive green lorries. He routinely does 50 hour weeks, and is well known as the hardest and possibly best worker in the depot.
Anyway, it's the Christmas party. He sits down at a table, then finds out that he's accidentally sat on the table where all the managers are. Not just the local guys.. we're talking regional managers, VPs, big head honchoes, that sort of thing.
So anyway, he'd brought his girlfriend with him, and as he's one of the depot's best workers, the depot manager tells him to not bother getting up. Just sit right there, there's a whole crate of champagne on the way.
This was where it all started to go a bit wrong.
See I know this person very well. I have managed to stop this person from being arrested at least once after they started wandering all bloody-handed towards the police shouting things like "WHAT'S WRONG? IT'S JUST A BIT OF BLOOD!" I also know he's opinionated and couldn't give a monkey's left testicle who hears him, especially when intoxicated. So, the story of what happened next is entirely believable, especially since I spent 18 months in that workplace and know exactly what it's like in there.
Well, let's just say that whilst it's one of the busiest depots in the business, it has its problems in how it is run. This friend of mine decides to start getting very vocal about said problems, to the extent of telling the depot manager, now increasingly regretting his decision, to "shut the fuck up, you're fucking useless too."
Everyone got the knife, as it were. Other workers and managers alike, they all got told, and all got put right in their place. Very loudly, and very drunkenly. At one point, bits of pepperoni on the pizza that had been ordered started to be used as frisbees, being thrown at said depot manager alongside comments such as "and here's what I think of your pizza, fatso".
Next day, he wakes up to a phone call from his girlfriend, which went something like "you've got a lot of apologising to do". Strangely though, he kept his job. Not only kept his job, but pretty much made it bullet-proof secure. The big guys up at that table, far from being offended by this drunken tirade, were actually rather impressed by someone with the bottle to tell them in no uncertain terms what they were doing wrong. Also somewhat amused at seeing the depot manager being thoroughly embarrassed.
He still has his job, and now has the solid respect, not only of everyone in that depot, but of some of the biggest people in the company. I believe the term used was "bloody loud mouth.. he's right though."
Not only titanium-plated bollocks, but teflon-coated everything else. This guy could, and probably would tell Travaglia and his pimply-faced protégé where they could shove their cattle-prod, and survive the incident.
Amazing what you can get away with when you're indispensable, in the right, and have bosses that know this.
Many of the employees were doing their best to get plastered, including the male half of one couple... The employee who served as Master of Ceremonies was cracking jokes, many aimed at said couple... He pretty much left his wife alone, and was cozying up to the young (very early 20's) niece of another female employee, and of course the MC made some pretty pointed remarks about THAT... Less than a month later, the couple had separated and the male half moved in with the niece... a few months later they were married (after his divorce was final). Said marriage lasted about two years and went south earlier than that because of their age difference (he was late 40's)... They had a huge fight and he came in to remove her from his health insurance... something he couldn't do until the divorce was final, but the paperwork slipped on through the system... THEN the brown stuff hit the fan... he ended up having to put her back on his health insurance AND pay all the back premiums AND for her office visits... Moral of the story... stay sober enough to know what you're doing... he didn't, and he paid for it. and had another divorce on his record...
Its the big company do's that I usually avoid. TO much office politics brought into the night, I'd rather stay home.
Small companies however ah that's different, those Christmas do's have lead to:
Being invited by reps in the North inviting us to their do's on the strength of our groups antics in the southern do.
Us being banned from turning up to the reps Northern do by word from on high.
Ex strippers bringing their still stripper friend and then getting far to drunk....
The return of purloined goods to hotels.
People sleeping in corridors of various hotels.
Realising that you should be have started work on the other side of the city about 3 hours ago.
Somehow ending up standing in an alleyway at 4am to get in a dodgy rave.
Oh and a good few hangovers.
I always drink moderately at these events. It's just not worth the risk.
Yeah, there are tales of people giving it large and senior managers respecting them for it. But for every one of those there are thousands of tales of people who gave it large and getting sacked for professional misconduct (or whatever) the following day.
I had started a new job the month before. The Christmas party was on, however the taxi was an hour late picking me up. I'd made a start during that hour and so was already below peak performance when the taxi dropped me and another newcomer at the do. We circulated a bit, drank at the bar, chatted with people a bit, bumped into people and apologised, drank some more, sat down and enjoyed the meal., drank, applauded the annual awards, whinged about that idiot in marketing..
... anyway, at some point the other guy worked out why neither of us had recognised anybody else there: we had been dropped off at the wrong party. The nice lady at reception made a couple of phone calls and discretely directed us to the right party five minutes walk away, by which time our actual colleagues had finished their meal and were starting to go home.
It was a good evening.
So, dying days of a dot-com I worked for a few years ago. Xmas party booked and in true dot-com style the CEO had invited all staff, plus partners, plus overnight in central London despite the fact the company barely had enough to cover payroll. Along comes one of the largest (= most foolish) investors to meet the troops. Mrs McP goes to chat to him about why he has blowing his £ms on the company and leaving such a terrible CEO to burn his cash - as you do. CEO tries to interrupt. Investor tells him to back off, he's having a charming conversation with a lady.
On this rolls, CEO getting more upset by the talk about HIM, until he just can't take it any more. Reaches over, grabs Mrs McP by the arm and decides to rant in her face about how she can't just come along and talk about the CEO, don't you know who I am, yada yada. So I get the joy of dragging him outside, slapping some sobriety into him, then sending him on his way home while I go back and (along with the rest of the very amused staff) raid the bar relentlessly since his card is running the tab. The investor and his lovely wife joined in too.
Cue Monday, and having racked up every expense we can think of on the room bill (also on CEO's card), we wonder what the opening gambit of conversation will be. Around 11am I get a call from one of the design guys, saying that the CEO has been frantically calling the rest of the staff all weekend to find out how pissed off I am and whether there'll be consequences. Obviously I didn't really want to be working there any more anyway, but damn that was the easiest exit package I ever negotiated.....
They company went under 8 months later.