4 Reasons To Skip The Office Holiday Party

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Avoiding the pain and potential ruin of this annual Christmas event

It?s supposed to be an event that brings people together. You and your colleagues are meant to relax, unwind, and enjoy each other?s company in recognition of the holiday season. Every year everyone holds big hopes for the office holiday party, and every year disappointment and scandal are the only things that result from it.

This year you should consider skipping the holiday office party. With the intense new focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, now is not the best time for the mixing of partying, booze, and men and women who work together.

That is not to say that you can?t keep your hands to yourself when around especially attractive colleagues or that you will intentionally make unwanted advances after you have had a few. The point is not to give anyone a reason to charge you with inappropriate behavior or to be associated with anyone who is so charged.

But beyond keeping yourself from being a target of the nationwide jihad against groping, leering, propositioning, and other such improper office behaviors there are a number of reasons to skip the office holiday party this year.

Here are 4 of them:

It causes unnecessary stress

If you work in a startup or a flat organization in which everyone is about the same age as you and there are really no bosses, then you are unlikely to have a problem at the party. However, if you go to a party in which someone who controls your future will be there smiling, joking, with beer or wine glass in hand, you are unnecessarily putting yourself in a stressful situation.

Even if your boss seems warm, friendly, and cool for the moment, the fact is he or she is still your superior and will take note of all that you say or do. You will feel self-conscious. You will be preoccupied with the words you use, the issues you bring up, and whether or not you broke from them at the appropriate time. If your boss is a woman, you will wonder if she caught you staring at her legs and tits. If your boss is a man, you will wonder if he caught you staring at his wife?s legs and tits.

Why put yourself through such hell? Parties are supposed to be fun, not trials of mental and emotional endurance.

You have few friends in the office

Face it: you don?t have many friends in the office, and you know what will happen when you get together with your fellow workers at the party. Everyone will talk shop. You will do so because that?s the only thing that you have in common.

Chances are everyone is there for the free booze and to see who will make an ass of themselves this year. That is quite a depressing way to spend your valuable free time.

All risk, no reward

In line with what has already been mentioned above, you have little to gain and everything to lose by going to the office holiday party. Do not assume that you will somehow be marked down for not showing up. Believe me when I tell you that bosses do not care who shows up to an office holiday party. They do not want to be there anymore than you do, but feel compelled to finance and organize such a party so as not to look stingy or ungrateful.

By going to the party you put yourself in a situation in which all the grudges, desires, frustrations, and impulses that have been building up over the preceding year are subjected to the potential catalyst of drink and a free-spirited festive atmosphere. Even if you do nothing wrong, it is better to be completely clear of the taint of the incidents that will inevitably occur at the party.

There are alternatives

The 4th and final reason to avoid the office holiday party is that there are alternatives to it. Every year that you?ve gone to one of these dreary events, you have always put the necessary face time in and then left with the few people you really like for a more enjoyable after party. Why not just do that? Why don?t you join two or three individuals from the office at a bar or restaurant you all like instead of going to the office party?

Another option is to organize a proper dinner party with your team. Or, invite colleagues that you get on with to a dinner party you?re hosting for all your close friends. This is a much better way to celebrate the holidays with people from work.

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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.

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