I’m going to start this article by mentioning that this isn’t just a Recruitment thing. No matter what industry you’re in… No matter what your job… You will find all manner of sins are carried out in dark corners the glitter ball doesn’t illuminate.
It’s Christmas party time. Which means a free bar, scantily clad colleagues (weather irrelevant) and AWARDS. For the work-hard play-hard types out there, it’s business as usual.
For the “Oh no I’m actually a Headhunter” type, this is your swan song. Yes you’re ‘more sophisticated’ January to November, but don’t tell me your Christmas party doesn’t look like a scene from Trainspotting.
For every Recruiter out there here’s my guide to survival…
1. You promise yourself you won’t drink for a week before.
Rule: Ignore this. It’s Christmas and that’s what you do at Christmas. Eggnog. Jagerbombs. Mulled wine. Mulled cider. Any drink becomes a ‘festive activity’ at Christmas.
2. Secret Santa involves getting the best sh*t present you can find for £10. Muttering the mantra “Please don’t get the boss” under your breath cause you know they don’t have a sense of humour and won’t appreciate your inappropriate jokes.
Rule: Find someone who has your office pal and swap. Second Rule: It never remains a secret.
3. On the day of, your boss will declare that it’s a normal working day until 3pm.
Rule: Ignore this. It’s not a normal day. No work will be done. Everyone’s too excited. There’s a coat hanger jungle where desks used to be and there’s an audible buzz in the office despite no one doing any work.
4. Someone suggests having a pub lunch to line the stomach.
Rule: Stock up on food here. You’ll be having another big meal before it kicks off too but you don’t want to be the drunken mess everyone mocks the following day.
5. There’s a head height cloud swirling round the office like the morning haze over the jungle. It consists of hairspray, perfume, Lynx Africa, musky aftershave and more Lynx Africa.
Rule: Don’t inhale this or you’ll have asthma for life.
6. At least one of the women will squeeze into a dress so tight you can see what she had for lunch. As she came for the pre-lunch you know that was predominantly wine.
Rule: DO NOT comment on the tightness of this dress. Tears during the event are certain, tears before are avoidable.
7. Joan from accounts will wear a hairband with Mistletoe on it. Unfortunately she’s the only one that does.
Rule: Go for the cheek at all costs. She was hurriedly necking that fourth pint with you at lunch and knows you’re at your weakest.
8. Sh*t Secret Santa gifts are exchanged. One person always goes too far with a cheap insult. One person (whoever got the boss) definitely didn’t stick to the £10 budget and the rest bear insignificant and are left in the bar.
Rule: Don’t upset anyone you don’t know that well. Second Rule: Definitely over spend on the boss.
9. AWARDS. Here we go. It’s time to cash in that ‘effort cheque’. The reason you’ve been working your arse off all year. You’re thinking Rolex. You’re thinking a short speech on a podium. You’re thinking admiration from the adoring crowds.
Rule: Be humble. Don’t forget to thank God, your parents, your colleagues, Accounts, Admin, HR, your dog, the staff at the venue and there’ll be an award created for someone that doesn’t necessarily deserve one. Thank them too. Second Rule: Don’t be bitter when you miss out.
10. The terrible food is served. Wherever you go for your Christmas party and regardless of the michelin stars, the food won’t be up to scratch. Why? No one knows.
Rule: make an obligatory effort and move on to the wine.
11. Speech comes in from the boss about next year being even better. There’s no mention of the staff who’ve left and the phrase ‘onwards and upwards’ is thrown in somewhere.
Rule: Get a list of cliches with your colleagues and play Catchphrase Bingo. It’ll liven it up while you sneak more wine.
12. That person from Accounts who doesn’t say hello to anyone normally turns into a cross between Michael Flatley and David Brent.
Rule: Don’t ridicule them or video them. This person will be back to bashful tomorrow and can make your life difficult.
13. There’s at least one love triangle doing the rounds. Jason’s fancied Rosie all year and has chosen this opportunity to make a move. Rosie’s pre-occupied with yearning over Dave who’s now so drunk he’s now regaling the story of his imaginary trial for West Ham and how he once played alongside DiCanio in the reserves.
Rule: Don’t get involved. This triangle is like the Bermuda Triangle. All who enter here are lost.
14. Someone gets the shots in. And then more shots. One person will insist they “can’t do Sambuca after that one time at Uni and now even the smell will send them the wrong way tbh.”
Rule: Buy this person a Sambuca.
15. The same person then does Sambuca with no aforementioned side effect.
Rule: More shots.
16. Someone, normally the sweatiest/largest/hairiest man in the company (normally a Dave) will take his shirt off and put his tie round his head. This is his mating ritual. He’s been married for 15 years but this is how it worked back then and he’ll be damned if he’s changing now the divorce is being finalised.
Rule: Definitely do film this. Everyone loves Dave. Especially Dave.
17. At least one office romance will be started, have a rocky patch and then a sudden ending in the space of three songs.
Rule: This is unavoidable. If it happens to you take it on the chin. But expect to be the object of “office banter” for the next week.
18. At least four people ask for a pay rise. Normally none of the ones who’ve won an award.
Rule: Just don’t do it. Do you think your boss wants to hear your grumbles after forking out for this party? They’re not making a note of your grievances and bumping up your pay the next day. You’re more likely to get a decrease if anything.
19. At least one person quits. This will be the same person who quit last year. Why are they still here? Why do they only quit at the christmas party? Why are they crying? Why won’t they stop crying?
Rule: Get a sweepstake going for closest minute. At least it’ll make it interesting.
20. At least one person is sick. Normally the same person who was crying in the toilet 20 minutes prior. The same person was starting a fight on the stairs 30 minutes prior to that. This was the Sambuca person. Maybe they were right. You shouldn’t have bought them that shot.
Rule: Offer help quietly. As soon as they don’t hear you, scarper safe in the knowledge you tried your best.
21. At least one person forcibly backs the boss into a corner. “Let me tell you how we can make this place better…”
Rule: This is most likely to be a Resourcer who’s just joined the business. There’s a high chance it’s the Sambuca person.
22. Everyone sings Mariah Carey. God what a great song.
Rule: Join in for God’s sake. It’s nearly Christmas and no one likes a humbug.
23. Someone loses their Rolex they were given 2 hours prior. Cue a company-wide search on knees for said Rolex. Someone accuses the barman and demands to see CCTV footage before remembering you asked the other member of staff to put it in the safe.
Rule: Apologise. Carry on dancing.
24. The venue calls time to the tune of drunken groans… Where to now? After party? Someone’s house? “Sports club?”
Rule: Plan this before hand. Even if that plan is home, it’s cold and you don’t want to be wandering the streets on your own without the coat you lost earlier.
25. The only reason anyone’s in the office the next day is because they’ve slept there after not being able to make an after party.
Rule: If you’re liable to doing this, pre-plan some different clothes and mask your hangover as much as you can. Dig out the Lynx Africa.
26. Someone will say “Did you see this?” producing a photo/video reel on their phone. Information Julian Assange would be proud of is speedily gasped at and then deleted.
Rule: DELETE everything apart from Dave dancing with his top off. He’ll love this. Oh it’s his phone.
27. Anyone in the office from Christmas party time until the end of the year either didn’t have any holiday left, or is denied holiday because everyone got there first. Gutted.
Rule: You’re going to be hearing more voicemails for this three day period than you have done all year. Embrace it. Catch up on some Ed Hunter. Do a quiz. Speak to your family.
Merry Christmas you filthy animals.
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