The Haught guide to end-of-year parties

Don't dance at work parties

This may be my last post of the year before Jesus turns 2017, so I thought I’d give you my tips on resurrection from death.

Only joking – that’s blasphemous and requires many more than 500-odd words to properly explain.

I’m actually going to give my advice on end-of-year work parties. I wrote down 16,000 during my lunch break – here are ten of the OK ones:

Rule 1: Turning on your heel and walking away from boring conversations is perfectly acceptable. If the conversation surrounds a group of people or movement conspiring to shut down Christmas, you should turn so fast that your heel corkscrews into the flooring, so that you leave shavings or a burn mark behind. 

Rule 2: Don’t dance. Dancing was invented in 1771 by Dr Hubert van de Waggelen as a cruel and unethical social experiment and was never meant to leave his dungeon/laboratory in Utrecht. It incomprehensibly caught on, spread across the world and was retro-fitted with a millennia-old (and far happier) history. By dancing you are (now knowingly) legitimising the perverted experiments of a wicked, wicked man.

van de Waggelen’s vile “dancing” experiment.


Rule 3: If it’s unclear who’s controlling the music volume, you are.

Rule 4: If you intend to engage in copulatory activities with a colleague, make sure you choose a broom cupboard with a lock. Regular readers will know that end-of-year parties are great networking opportunities and some go-getters will talk to you about career advancement no matter how sweaty or nude you are.

Rule 5: Photocopying parts of your body, such as your dooday and your buttlechops – is a Christmas party cliche of epic proportions; it’s not even funny in a postmodern/kitsch sense. Only do it if you want to cultivate a reputation as the Tom Hanks movie of your office.

Rule 6: Bring a trumpet. Nothing changes the mood of a party like a blaring, discordant note from a brass instrument played for absolutely no reason.

Rule 7: During early party speeches, when managers emphasise safety they are explicitly calling into question your adulthood. You should heckle with profane abandon.

Rule 8: Loud sneezers are vulnerable to attack after a few wines. Make hay…

Don’t succumb to loud sneezers’ pleas for mercy

Rule 9: Once you’re asked to make a financial contribution to attend the party, all responsibility for whether or not you have an enjoyable day or night transfers immediately to upper management. If you feel like, say, a toffee apple and there’s none at the event venue, it’s off to the nearest supermarket for the CEO to buy a granny smith, a thick wooden skewer, a saucepan, a portable gas cooker, sugar and an apron that fits him or her just right.

Rule 10: Spitting on people is rightly considered one of the most socially unacceptable actions a person can possibly undertake. It’s the primitive response of a lesser member of the species to something that challenges their feeble mind. It is an utter affront to humanity. It’s also completely fine if you do it when someone suggests karaoke. 

Follow these precepts, and you’re guaranteed to have more fun than a barrel of monkeys.




An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns

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