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mreilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:56 PM
Original message
Office Holiday Party Guide for drinkers
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 03:03 PM by mreilly
I just attended my organization's holiday party where the alcohol flowed in abundance (open bar) and some people got a little bit too loose. While there haven't been any terminations 2 days later (yet) I would be very surprised if HR has not spent part of today with some folks.

I personally experienced and overhead quite a bit that I don't normally hear during business hours. Examples include one female coworker (I'm a married guy) who I barely know greeting me with "Wow, I'm really drunk" as she lined up at the bar for a refill, then rubbing my arm and even burying her face in my shoulder when something funny was said. This was while her fiancee was five feet away! (note I did not encourage or return said behavior and quickly moved off). Another memorable episode involved a male coworker informing a group of guys he was going to "bend over" an attractive female coworker; this individual was later heard castigating a guy with a Greek last name with a lecture about how "you guys are into anal sex - I'm not; I don't do that stuff." Lastly was the intern who rambled to people in what was literally 50% drunken gibberish and managed to overturn a table by leaning on it too much while taking a group picture.

Keep in mind the examples indicated above involve younger people in their twenties (I'm mid-thirties) who seemed to mistake "open bar" for "drink like crazy and do whatever." I'm certainly no holy roller; I do my fair share of drinking as well but keep it contained and sensible these days (there is also the fact I'm too damn old to drink rapidly and reel around). I'm not perfect and did those embarrassing things in my youth after too much booze - but doing them around the people who sign your paychecks can be suicidal. A friend of mine said it best; you don't want anyone from the office "seeing the real you." :-)

Obviously the easiest solution to avoiding alcohol-related misbehavior at a company gathering is to simply not drink. But if you choose not to be a teetotaler (as I choose not to be), I follow these ten guidelines to get through every company party without worrying about my career (or my reputation) the next morning:

1. Four drinks is about what it takes to go from driving legally to illegally (at least for an adult male of my size). The same applies for a holiday party - make the legal driving limit your absolute maximum for the evening (of course if you are driving you should stick to this limit by default!) One or two is preferable, but we all know how tempting it can be to continue to imbibe with coworkers, especially in these uncertain times. Pace yourself. And remember - a pint of beer is 16 ounces, so that's actually 1.33 beers!

2. As tempting as it might be, don't drink before the party unless you are sure you can stop at your limit either way. If it's open bar, you'll be dumping free booze on top of whatever you've consumed beforehand which could quickly put you over your limit.

3. Drink beer if possible (session beers, as they call them in the UK, which are low in alcohol content so you can enjoy several over a drinking "session" are an ideal choice), or some other beverage with a fairly low percentage of alcohol and which comes in a large quantity. Avoid liquor! I can't stress that enough. While I have a taste for whiskey, whiskey is exactly the wrong choice in a gathering where you want to drink slowly and enjoy the gradual effects. I can make a glass of beer last 30-60 minutes, whereas a glass of liquor is gone in ten minutes (probably because I started out as a beer drinker, where you gulp a big sip frequently). Make sure to intersperse alcoholic drinks with glasses of water.

4. Eat early and eat a lot. I don't know about anyone else, but a full stomach reduces my desire for alcoholic beverages drastically. It also slows the absorption of alcohol and prevents the booze from going straight to your head, of course.

5. If you're one of those people who loves to tell stories (I am), make sure to keep them respectable and short. Envision a few safe topics beforehand to discuss - parenting, movies, travel, etc. and never venture outside that zone (and don't tell the same stories over and over). Don't ever discuss politics, religion, or controversial subjects such as sex, sexual orientation, gossip, off-color jokes, etc. Avoid getting into maudlin or melodramatic topics like "I really wish I had known the grandfather who died before I was born." Don't choose to "surprise" people with secrets (perhaps to show them how much trust you have for them). This is not the time to whisper to someone that you stole company property or ate someone's lunch out of the fridge. It's also not the time to complain bitterly about some episode that occurred on the job which didn't go your way.

6. Only say positive things about coworkers (and the business owners). Set a goal of never saying a single negative thing about someone. We've all heard about the drunk employee who badmouthed the boss to a coworker (or video camera!) and then found that person standing nearby listening to every word. Wouldn't you rather be surprised to find Bill from Finance standing next to you after you'd just got done praising his work ethic as opposed to being stunned to discover he'd overheard you comparing his face to a mule's butt?

Even if you're about to tear into someone who's not present, just remember secrets get told and you can't ever be 100% sure the person you're talking to won't pass your comments along - maybe the next time THEY get wasted.

7. Don't say things that are TOO positive about others, however. Gushing about how attractive they are or how much of a crush you have on them is definitely verboten. You also don't want to tell the boss how much you love him/her or "you're th' bestest guy I ever worked for!" It's uncomfortable being flattered by a drunk. Always remember that you have to work with these people. Also, don't go up to the owner/President and spend thirty minutes raving over how much you love working there and what an awesome job it is. You'll be perceived as an asskisser (and a drunk).

8. Nobody wants to hear someone talk the whole time. Make a point of asking people about THEIR interests; their family, their hometowns, their college, etc. If you cruise from person to person monopolizing the conversation, nobody will welcome your approach and you'll be seen as a boor - and a bore.

9. This may be too Zen-like for some, but before you go to the party envision yourself spending a calm and pleasant evening behaving rationally, treating people kindly, sticking to your limits, and departing with polite thanks to the company owner/personnel responsible for the party. In that vision make sure to include waking up the next day with no remorse and no dread concerning your return to the office Monday.

10. If you have any doubts about whether you can behave at a company party, don't go. Sacrifice the free dinner and booze, buy a case of beer (or jug of wine) and a pizza, and stay home (or go somewhere else). You may feel guilty about missing the fun, but you'll go in Monday with your head up and no apologies to make - and your primary source of income will be safe.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. And don't forget the condoms.
To fill with additional free booze to take home and enjoy later.

What did you think I meant, freak?
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. You'd have to be a real slut (of either gender) to enjoy
latex-flavored booze. :eyes:
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. If you turn them
inside out (the flavored ones) that might work.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Just get the polyurethane ones.
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