CHICAGO — It’s official: The office holiday party is making a comeback.
This year, nearly 90 percent of companies are set to ring in the holidays with an end-of-the-year bash — that’s a 23 percentage point increase from 2011, according to a survey by the folks at Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
And that’s not all.
More companies have increased their holiday party budgets, hired caterers and booked private venues — all a sign of at least slightly improved corporate profits and a positive business outlook in the coming year. And more than 40 percent of company parties will serve alcohol, according to the Chicago-based firm’s poll.
This year’s company Christmas party revival, however, is the kind of good news that should come with a warning.
Take it from a guy who once split his pants while sliding on his knees across the dance floor like a chubby Tom Cruise in “Risky Business” at his first company Christmas party.
And there was that wild holiday party at the French bistro …
Anyway, if you’re going to your company Christmas party — especially if it’s after a few years of potluck dinners at the office — let me offer you a bit of friendly advice culled from personal experience, the ridiculous behavior of idiots and fools and TV sitcoms, among other things.
While some things you absolutely should never do at a company holiday party are obvious, there are a few on this list that just might help you preserve your dignity, avoid becoming the topic of office gossip, save you cash, a trip to jail or your job.
Rule No. 1: Don’t get drunk before, during or immediately after the office holiday party.
Rule No. 2: Avoid co-workers who get drunk before, during or immediately after the holiday office party.
Abiding by those two golden rules will almost certainly save you a ton of trouble.
But if drunkenness becomes unavoidable, try to remember a few things:
• There is no upside to attempting certain dance moves, including “the splits,” “twerking,” “grinding” or other overtly sexual or booty-shaking dances, particularly if you are wearing a short skirt, tight pants or slippery soled shoes.
• It’s called a secret office romance for a reason.
• Everyone will probably remember that you sat on a co-worker’s lap.
• The “Irish goodbye” — slipping out of a party without anyone noticing — is an underutilized but extremely effective exit strategy.
• If you have never talked with your boss about your personal life, career ambitions or what you really think about company strategy ... keep it that way.
• Arm wrestling might seem like a good idea, but it’s not.
• Things tend to happen in order. Consider this: One tequila … two tequila … three tequila … floor.
• Never, ever, put a co-worker in a pro-wrestling-inspired sleeper hold. (I once saw this happen.)
• Your “edgy” jokes probably aren’t funny.
• Post-party snowball fights almost always end badly.
• What happens at the after-party never stays at the after-party.
• In the end, they’re laughing at you — not with you.
• Taking a cab, Uber or limo — even if you get charged the puke cleanup fee — is always less expensive than a DUI.
• Illinois is an “at-will” state, which means your job depends solely on whether your boss has the will to keep you employed.
Finally, a wise old man once said: “It’s better to be the last one to hear all the scandalous holiday party gossip than it is to be the scandalous holiday party gossip.”
And it’s still quite possibly the best advice that you will probably forget — until you get to work the next day.
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