Today’s Office Party story was submitted by BCP reader h_a_l and concerns, appropriately, a Christmas Party. Though h_a_l presently has an enjoyable job at a non-profit that understands the importance of the annual Holiday Party (and is generous enough to sponsor two for their hardworking employees), this wasn’t always the case. Although this Office Party Abyss story is devoid of the scandalous encounters and drunken folly that characterize a typical drinks night with the co-workers, it is still rife with the shame and loathing that are the hallmarks of the OPA. Read on to see how a cheerful and pleasant holiday gathering winds up a grudge-worthy embarrassment at the hands of a thoughtless boss.
I was working as an Office Manager/Assistant. The previous year, my colleague and I had decided to get everyone together at one of our favorite haunts for a bit of an impromptu holiday party. Everyone had a great time, and the boss was kind enough to foot most of the bill. So the next year, everyone kept asking us for details of the holiday party. We were told by the boss and his wife to go ahead and plan it, and let everyone know. We picked a great place and even got food and drink discounts since we had a group of 25+ people.
Everything was going great – the food was good, the sangria was even better, and everyone was feeling nice and festive. Just before the end of the meal, the boss and his wife left. With my head clouded by the sangria, I hadn’t even thought about the bill up to that point. I asked my coworker what the deal was, and that’s when we saw that there was a pile of money where my boss had been sitting. We requested the check, and then realized that what my boss had left behind was just enough to cover the meal charges for himself and his wife (they don’t drink).
We started to collect what we could from everyone, but there were unpaid interns there! So, one of my co-workers ended up footing most of the bill. He spoke to the bosses the next day and was ultimately reimbursed, but when everyone talked the next week about what a disaster the holiday party turned out to be, the blame was assigned to me and my colleague for “poor planning” and “not thinking everything out.”
You know what? I’m sorry, but when the boss tells you to go ahead and plan the office party, one does not automatically think: “I’d better make sure that everyone, even the unpaid interns, knows that they have to pay their own way at this shindig.” Oh, and to add insult to injury, I had asked my boss in the begining if they thought we should just have the party at the office with a few bottles of wine and some cheap catering. They were all, “Oh, no, it would be so much nicer to go somewhere outside of the office.”
Please, share your Office Party Abyss horror stories in the comment section. If you have a more detailed (but not too long – do as I say, not as I do!) story to share and would like it to be considered for publication, email email@example.com, and we’ll post the top story. Include your chosen pseudonym and title your email “Office Party.”