Let's Pull the Plug on Office Holiday Parties

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 29, 2010

That's right drones. "Enjoy" yourself! Not too much, though. Someone is watching, and one wrong move could cost you your career!      

Let me be clear: I'm not criticizing Quintessential Careers. Sadly, they are exactly right. Their recommendations make sense, and that is exactly the problem. What they're describing isn't a party. It's a wake. I'd rather stay home and do my taxes.      

I last had a good time at an office party back in college, when I attended the annual gala for the buildings and grounds crew, the guys who plow snow, mow lawns, and buffalo heavy furniture for minimum wage. After a few too many, one of guys committed about 25 or so office party "don'ts," which culminated in a threat to "put the knuckles" to his immediate supervisor and an attempt to throw an empty beer keg at a coworker's car. Now that's an office party!

You might not want to take it to that extreme, but if your holiday party comes with a tacit list of do's and don'ts that is longer than the healthcare reform bill, maybe you should look for another way to express your appreciation.

 Here's a suggestion: pay employees for the two or so hours that they'd otherwise have spent at the party, divvy up and give them the money you'd budgeted for the party, tell them to spend the time and the money with whomever and on whatever they want, and wish them Happy Holidays.  

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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