The Seven Deadly Sins of Staff Parties and Other Serious Business

Photo by Isto-Ica

In the past few years of teaching, I repeatedly commited the cardinal sin of office parties: I skipped them.  Usually, the school hosted a round of bowling at a local alley, and teachers were randomly teamed in threes, as well as tasked to bring finger foods and put off any grudges towards department heads, administrators, or any other teacher that just annoyed the crap out of us in the teacher's lounge.  No thanks, I'll pass.  The fact that I hate bowling (gasp - I'm un-American), was only number three on the list of reasons I opted out of attending.

This year, in after-school programming, I've already attended one staff party, and have at least two more on my calendar before the season is over.  Lucky for me, one of these is going to be hosted at a restaurant that I really like, and it would be silly to turn down free food.  Liking my co-workers is also a plus, but none-the-less, I waddled around my house all day Saturday and never got my baking act together, so I almost showed up empty-handed to office party #1.  Another sin.  So, to help others avoid the mistakes I so easily stack up, here are:

The Seven Deadly Sins of Staff Parties

1) Not going.  Nothing says to your boss "I don't want to spend any more time around you people than mandated," than skipping the party.  It's especially a bad move if no one wants to attend said party, and everyone ends up bitterly resenting the skippers.  Don't be a skipper.

2) Arriving empty handed.  Most parties require bringing a side item, a beverage, or some variety of white elephant gift.  On Saturday I didn't bring a white elephant gift, leaving my hosts to scramble around their house for something they were willing to give up so that I could participate.  Talk about feeling guilty.  Also, everyone who did bring gifts brought random, funny crap - like the hand carved, spread wing Eagle figurine, or the sausage pig candle holder.  My "gift" ended up being a VHS copy of Junior.  I'm sure my hosts are missing that cinematic treasure right about now.   

3) Bringing store bought baked goods.  "Hello, my name is lazy - can I please come in and put my HEB box of cookies next to your hand tossed tabouleh salad with finger crushed pistachios?"  Yeah, I was also guilty of this on Saturday.  As penance, I also brought wine. Which leads me to... 

4) Drinking too much.  Everyone warns against this, and everyone does so for a reason.  A sloppy drunk is not soon forgotten.  Save it for Sixth Street and the throngs of anonymous people who won't remember your face if you happen to vomit on their shoes. 

5) Revealing water cooler secrets to the whole guest list.  Oh, I'm sorry, you mean you hadn't told all of your cubicle mates about your toe nail fungus problem?  Don't sweat it, our boss got crabs from the chick in accounting.  I mean...

6) Staying too long.  You don't win points if the host sends out a text to someone, (say... me), that says "When are they going to leave?  I'm old and want to go to bed."  Received about 10:30 PM on Saturday.  Glad I left at 8!

7) Taking someone from work home with you.  While I'm sure most offices are highly incestuous after-hours, there's no need to make that move after you're three wine coolers deep and starting to think you could care less what rumors are spread about you, because, hey - this isn't middle school.  Um, yes.  Yes it is middle school.  Perhaps worse.  Save the pick-ups for crowds where everyone doesn't know your name, social security number, and place of employment.  It's just bad news.

Is there anything I missed?  Not having two straight weeks of holiday makes me seriously ponder going back to teaching, bowling and all.  But then again, not having to write a semester test may make up the difference. 

And if anyone has any funny office party stories to share, I would love to hear them.