the circular runner

5-Minute Rant: Holiday Work Parties…

In humor, life, observations, writing on December 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

I hate holiday work parties, and I avoid them.  My wife gives me a sad look when I say this. She thinks I’m wrong not to go, but there’s something kind of awful about them. I understand if the party happens during work hours. Then, you either go or you act like some kind of social misfit and you stay at your cubicle and work while others eat cake. I am not that brave, personally, though I wish I were. If there is a social function during the work-day, I suck it up. I go. I eat cake.

I should say that I like the people I work with. It’s really not them. It’s more that work, I think, is for work, and if I’m not meeting a co-worker who I’m not close with about work-related stuff, then I want to be home with my wife during the evening.  As it is, my wife and I are becoming one of those sad San Francisco couples whose schedules collide and who don’t see each other often enough because they are trying to stay afloat in this beautiful city where the middle class is evaporating like the fog we all so love to see every morning.  How’s that for socio-economic poetry?

I feel my wife’s sad glance upon me again, and it’s not just the awful metaphors I’m coming up with, either. She wants me to be honest–completely honest.  Besides my love for her and my desire to hang out with her, there is something else. For me, there is a principle at stake, which is the real reason why my wife gives me a sad look when I duck out of holiday parties. Whenever I invoke principles, she gives me this look that says, “Really? Oh stop already. Don’t be a blow-hard.”

Well if I am a blow-hard, then let it be so. I am a man, after all. I will toot in my own sense of righteousness. I say to you, wife and readers of my blog, I am man, hear me blow, which kind of sounds odd, but you now what I mean.

So here it is. My principled stance against the holiday party: holiday parties are a form of forced community, and I reject that. Yes. There it is. It is my rebellion of one. My revolution against the powers-that-be. I have always felt this way. I have stood on this ground of social independence since I was a child. I hated camp for the same reason. I don’t like when I am forced to be social. I felt this way in high school and college whenever we were “asked” to talk about our feelings in community circles or “encouraged” to attend mixers. I stood my loner ground then and I stand on it now.

I like people, don’t get me wrong. But don’t start telling me that I HAVE to be somewhere to smile and drink unless I’m getting paid for it. Yes, that’s right. Whereas I take a principled stance against forced community, I am ok with paid community, which kind of would make me a prostitute if I did ever find a boss who would pay for such things. So maybe I’ll have to revisit that one. But for now, I am available for paid drinks and smiles.

Look, I recognize why my wife gives me the sad look. I get all worked up about what might seem like silliness. She thinks it’s not that big a deal, that I should just go and make an appearance.  What’s the point? To which I say, here’s the point: there is so much stuff that you have to do on any a given day, stuff that you don’t want to do but that you force yourself to do because that is just the way it is, because that’s part of being responsible, an adult, blah, blah, blah.  I accept that. But parties? Nah.  If I want to celebrate, then I will find my own way of doing so. Is this dumb? Is it worth me stroking out about? My wife’s sad glance says, no, but I am going to have to disagree on this one. I am man, hear me blow!

  1. I’m gonna have to go with your wife on this one…but you’re ok to blow, it’s your prerogative

  2. I hate work parties too… I am with you 200%… and yes, it IS the principle of the thing!!!

  3. You sound exactly like my husband and I give the same sad face…however, your blog was persuasive and is bringing me over to the dark side!

  4. Office Holiday Parties are the socialism of parties.

    It’s like going to the DMV, you don’t want to but you have to. I enjoy going to them only to observe who’s finally going to bone who and see how they act around each other the day after at work. it’s my gift to myself for actually attending.

  5. RE: Parties at work…”I go. I eat cake.” That cracked me up.

  6. […] read this blog for any amount of time, then you know my feelings on forced community–see my post on holiday work parties if you’re […]

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