Where’s the party?

“Happy Corporate Holidays!” This is the second in a series of three blogs dedicated to the holiday season spent inside a cubicle.

If you have ever worked for an international company or are from anywhere else but here, you know that the month of December is a very difficult time to get anything done in places like the Caribbean and Central and South America. For the entire month of December there are street parties and family gatherings and food and festivals and religious celebrations and singing and fireworks.

I know. I know. They are barbaric savages. We have one party. But it’s a really, really great party. With our co-workers, right after work, at the office. Unless the company is doing well and then we get to go somewhere, like a restaurant and/or bar. And if we are doing really well, we get to bring a date and we get two drink tickets to share and all eat hors d’oeuvres and cake for free. Either way, the next morning, we get to talk about how fun it was for 15 minutes at the water cooler. Which is awesome.

Courtesy of ryarwood, Flickr

But, you know for those other people, from those other places, it’s a cultural thing. Those companies from those places send their employees off to spend quality time with their families and – get ready to gasp – they don’t host office holiday parties. At least by our standards. Why? Because they prefer to spend their holidays with their families instead of random people they would have never even spoken to or associated with if it wasn’t for the fact that they applied and were hired at the same place.

In the hopes to spread our vision of the corporate holiday party to remote parts of the world (only accessible on JetBlue airlines) and jump-start my career as an international holiday party planner for these underdeveloped companies, I have prepared a plan that will blow their socks off.

First, I would begin on a macro-level. The country as a whole must plan, prepare and advertise the “holiday spirit” from All Saints Day to Christmas Day, like us. And like us, for two months all will worship consumerism, credit cards and cash, but not Christ. No. No mentioning of Christ or Christmas. Just say The Holidays, but use the expressions Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Blessed Kwanzaa on those days. Once these norms are in place, then the holiday loses any meaning or importance or relevance to anything, which means companies can justify only giving two-and-a-half days off. But they still have to host one really great Holiday party — with guidelines and procedures set by Human Resources.

Then, comes the actual Holiday party planning. This may or may not take an entire 6 months to plan, depending if all goes well. First thing is first, to have a company holiday party you need employees. Not just any random group of employees. You need the right core cast of players. You need the following:

  • the gossiper
  • the flirt
  • the party animal
  • the girl who thinks she’s hot
  • the dirty old man

If these characters do not already work at the company, we either put out an ad for an opening in the accounting department or allow employees to bring their spouses. You know someone has got to be married/dating/sleeping with one of the above. When the guest list is complete, you can either organize the event at a restaurant/bar or you can save the money all together and host it at the office.

I would advise the company to host an office party, just for employees. Cheap and cheerful and easy access to the copy machine for added antics. I would add lots of alcohol and festive Jello shots, with only a few homemade dishes, like chips and salsa and an assortment of nuts. To break even (and even make some money) I would outfit the entire office and parking lot with cameras and offer a video feed online, subscription-based viewers only of course. Effectively introducing the first pay-per-view international reality show, called “The Holiday Party.”

I would also plan to have a big project or a  presentation due early the next morning so the majority of employees have to work through the party, only popping in every once in a while to refill their drinks, looking more and more stressed. And then when finished with their work, they have access to all the left over goodies from the party. This way they can feel like the didn’t stay late just for work and got to drink their sorrows away.

Lastly, we will give them the entire day off on Christmas. Unless they are in the IT department and the executive team cannot access their email, which has their travel itinerary. One week later, we will give them another day off on New Year’s Day. This way they get an entire day to think about all the money they spent in the last two months and how much they need their job to pay off all those holiday bills. And then it will happen. They’ll think back to that party and think, “Oh, it’s not so bad to work there, they threw us a really nice Christmas party.”

Doesn’t that month-long celebration look like a real waste now?

Look out for the next entry in this series about the dreaded office gift exchange.

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Published by Mari

I was born with a widow's peak and a thick accent. I majored in English as a second language. I work (marianeladearmas.com) and travel (alittlecubangoesalongway.com) and sometimes do both.

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