I love a good company party. And, at the risk of having my “strategic HR” card permanently revoked, I admit I even enjoy planning them. Over the years I’ve organized everything from sit down service awards galas to parties with DJs, bands and (one time) an improv troupe. I’ve planned picnics for the kids at parks and zoos with the requisite “Executive Dunk Tank” and I’ve coordinated my fair share of potlucks, catered lunches and boozy happy hours.
But nothing beats the company holiday party for, hands-down, the optimal environment for things to go slightly off-the-rails. Maybe it’s the fact that baby Jesus is omnipresent. Perhaps it’s the inevitability of numerous socially awkward staffers making “Santa only comes once a year” jokes. I dunno what it is but there’s something in the air.
So, in honor of the season, here are a few of the more memorable happenings from my company holiday parties over the years. Ho ho ho!
Boss: “What are we going to do if someone has too much to drink? We can’t afford to pay for taxis for people.”
Me: “We can have one of the nuns drive them home. Probably Sister Agnes though: Sister Mary Coletta likes her wine.”
By 11 pm the booze had been liberally flowing for several hours and people were sufficiently lubricated. Social norms of the office had been discarded and left on the burning trash heap of company protocol.
Jenny, a buxom young lass with a strapless cocktail dress, convinced the usually reserved male CEO to join a frolicking group on the dance floor.
She shimmied and slithered to the club remix of some Top of the Charts song as she repeatedly tossed her arms akimbo and positioned her posterior inches from the CEO for some good old fashioned twerking. With a flourishing twirl she turned to face him, arms over her head….and her dress down around her waist.
Dancing until the song ended some 60 seconds later (“this is my song !!!”) Jenny finally pulled up her dress, tucked in her ample assets, and headed for the bar.
The CEO remained in place on the dance floor in a state of abject confusion for a few moments. As he later confided to me … “I didn’t know where it was safe to look anymore.”
… Overheard at the Employee Xmas Pot Luck …
Joe: “Who made this potato salad?”
Jane: “Karen from Accounting.”
Joe: “Oh hell no. I’m gonna pass. You’ve seen how disgusting and dirty her desk is; can you imagine her kitchen? We’ll all die of botulism.”
Setting: upscale venue, seated multi-course dinner, open bar, live band with dancing, suits and cocktail dresses. 6 PM cocktail hour/7 PM dinner/8 PM dancing and frivolity.
Time: approximately 10 PM
Employee: “Miss Robin – I think you need to know that Sally and Betty’s husbands are in the men’s room doing lines of coke”
(Miss Robin, in full on HR lady mode after 4 hours of cocktailing, takes a quick and purposeful march into the men’s room interrupting not only the snorting party but also random-employee-Joe who is mid-stream at the urinal).
Me: “Guys; I’m glad you’re having fun and I could care less how you celebrate the holiday season but please knock that shit off and clean up this countertop before the big boss comes in here to take a pee.”
The Husbands: “Oops. Sorry. (finish it off). Merry Christmas.”
Employee (knocking on my office door with a folded slip of paper in her hand):
“Um….. do you think you can go talk to my manager and tell him we need to redraw names for our department’s Secret Santa? I pulled Sharon’s name (shows me slip of paper) and there’s no way I’m buying her a gift. I hate that bitch.”
Employee: “Hey Robin; this is my daughter Trixie who I brought as my guest since my husband had to work”
Robin: “Nice to meet you Trixie; glad you could join us. Having a good time?”
Trixie: “Yeah this is nice. But I’m in a little pain since I just had my clitoris pierced today.”
Robin: (guzzles martini)