- Employee who drank too much and made a fool of themselves.
- Employee's date or spouse drank too much and made a fool of the employee.
- Boss or manager made an inappropriate comment or joke during their speech.
- Boss or manager made an unwelcome advance on an employee.
- Two people wore the exact same outfit.
- Hired entertainment (band, comedian, etc.) made inappropriate comments on stage or embarrassed high-ranking company officials.
- Hired entertainment caused a ruckus before, during or after their performance.
- Coworkers got a little too amorous with each other.
I'll use the stories when speaking with journalists, and you can choose to remain anonymous if you like.
Please tell us about your embarrassing or funny office party stories in the comments section below or email me through our contact page.
The worst holiday party I ever attended was actually quite nice until upper management handed out little ornaments containing cash. The company in question did not give out any Christmas bonuses. One employee who had been with the company five years (making her one of the senior employees, given the company's high turnover) was so happy about seeing the hundred-dollar bills that she yelled out the cash amount, which inspired other employees to open their ornaments. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the employees found a $5 bill tucked inside their ornaments. Fueled by cocktails and wine, the mood immediately changed from festive to hostile. The general opinion was that a $5 Christmas bonus was more insulting than no bonus at all. Also, most agreed that these token gifts should have been distributed as employees left the party so there would be nothing to spur comparisons.
What does it say about my job choices that I have NEVER had a good holiday party? I can't even choose the worst one because they're all equally horrible for different reasons.
Among the best of the worst:
1) Last year was my first holiday party at my current job. I'd been told by numerous people that we did the holiday parties up right -- the year before had featured sangria, amazing food, and a surprise visit from Robin Williams. But last year, something went terribly wrong. The theme was "celebrate your inner child" and we were taken to a local ice cream joint. Over a lunch of cold french fries and hot dogs, we built gingerbread houses and played a terrible 90-minute version of work-related MadLibs. The worst part was that they blew up our baby pictures and made us wear them around our necks all afternoon- the baby pictures were on 11 x 14 foam-board, so they were big, awkward and heavy. Brilliant!
2) The previous year, I was working at another nonprofit. No one was getting along, so the Executive Director decided that instead of a holiday party, we'd all go to cooking school to bond over a "common experience." We arrived at 10am and didn't eat our "holiday" meal until 7:30 that night. By that time, we wanted to kill each other.
3) At another job, the boss gathered everyone together the Friday before Christmas and presented us all with our holiday bonus! He gave a passionate speech about the value of his employees. Ripping into our envelopes, we each learned our value: in the form of a single crisp $10 bill.
4) Another year, my boss got drunk and made out in the parking lot with the wife of our wealthiest donor. After that night, we no longer had our donor, and my boss ended up moving to Chicago, leaving the rest of us fundraisers to clean up the mess and find a new major donor to make sure we could stay open.
5) Our despised boss was sad to announce to us that he would have to miss our holiday party because of a family obligation. During the party, we had a white elephant gift exchange and almost every present had something to do with the boss and how much we hated him. There was his face on a dart board, a "I hate my boss" coffee mug, etc. Halfway through the game, our boss walked in. His travel plans had changed.
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