The Annual Christmas Party is a new phenomena for me. The last couple of years I have been able to avoid them by working in such a huge organization that my absence would not be commented on. However I have a new job, with a whole new organizational culture. One in which my absence would definitely be noticed.
Now, if it was a Christmas party involving only the library, well that would be different. I know these people. Itt would be fine spending a couple of hours with them eating and drinking and raffling off prizes. However, we at the library are considered city employees. Which means that the Christmas party involves a lot of politics.
So here is how I survived my first Staff Christmas Party, which was a sit down dinner at City Hall.
1. Fret about it all day.
I am not good in social situations. I suffer from a mild fear of crowds as well as having to interact with strangers, a condition that is aggravated by fatigue. Needless to say, I am tired these days- all I want to do is go home, curl up and watch movies in my pyjamas with my kids. So spending my Friday night schmoozing with people I don’t know, don’t really want to know and pretty much have nothing in common with, made me slightly jumpy.
2. Find a buddy
Otherwise known as becoming a human leech, sticking to someone you know and not letting them out of your sight. I drew the line at actually handcuffing myself to my coworker, but otherwise I became her shadow. Where she went, I went.
3. Stick to your own circle
This I saw was most people’s strategy. Stick to the people you work with. Which meant that one table was a Library table. The table beside us was Comunications. The Table behind us were the Foremen. On the other side of the room there was the arena table and in the front, the City councillors.
4. Don’t take too advantage of the open bar
However it may dull the pain, it is always wise to limit your alcohol intake at these functions. Which is hard, because there is always a councillor’s son or daughter hovering with a bottle of wine. Above all, one wants to avoid making bad decisions with each other, or god forbid, giving someone else the idea of attempting a bad decision with you. (shudder)
5.Have several escape strategies
Last but not least, plan several ways of getting out of there. As I work far away from my home and the weather has been very unpredictable lately, I was worried about getting home. I had three escape strategies that all involved making sure I got home at nine at the latest.
In conclusion, I want to mention that although it is not exactly my thing (being an anti-social troll) the gesture was appreciated. The food was good, the wine flowed freely and there were a lot of nice door prizes (I didn’t win any, but I appreciated that they were being offered). It’s nice to feel recognised in your organization. So thanks, city. Don’t feel bad if the Christmas Party scared the hell out of me. I suspect it might be a personal thing…