True Tales of Company Holiday Party Fouls

office party It's the most wonderful time of the year... unless you've made a huge gaffe at your company's holiday party. All of these tales of what NOT to do at the company party begin with mixing alcohol with business -- so beware the demon rum (or eggnog) at a celebration when your livelihood is on the line.

What were we thinking?

I'm Karen, and I am 40. When I became the poster child for "what not to do at a company holiday party," I was working as a real-estate commercial loan officer for Bank of America in Virginia. Our office had a Christmas party, held at a fellow loan officer's new home.

I am not normally a drinker, but for some reason a female office cohort (she is pictured with me here) and I decided to drink a few shots at this Christmas party. Before I knew it, I was dirty dancing with one of my loan officers – and it went downhill from there. Later that night, my cohort and I had both passed out, sprawled across the bed in one of our co-worker's new bedrooms.

The next morning we woke up with our host (the poor guy) hovering over us, saying, "I must be the luckiest guy in the world to discover two beautiful women in my bed!"

We pretended to be asleep until he left the room, then we sat up in the bed and looked at each other, fully dressed with our wrinkled after-five party dresses and shoes still on, and couldn't help but burst out laughing uncontrollably.

When we went to work that next Monday, we were the talk of the office. Although our host was very gracious in not making us feel embarrassed, others in the office made it clear to us that they thought it was extremely inappropriate to drink that much at an office Christmas party and then pass out at a co-worker's home. Of course, they were right!

As an otherwise respected professional, I really regretted letting my hair down at the office Christmas party, and have never taken shots at another holiday party. Ever.

-- Karen Francis

Drunken dialing

My name is Jenn, and I work in environmental consulting. One of the most embarrassing moments of my early career happened during (or really immediately after) a company holiday party.

At the time I was 25 and still under the false impression that your boss could also be your friend. After the official party was over, a group of us decided to have drinks in the adjoining hotel bar. Everyone decided it would be more fun if our boss could join our after party (he is a very nice guy), so the group nominated me to call him up to invite him. At this point I was drunk enough to also think it was a good idea -- so I took my phone out and slovenly slurred through an obnoxious frat-style invitation for him to come out to party more with us.

Let me be clear that my boss was not amused, and his wife did not appreciate a call from an obviously drunk female employee coming in in the middle of the night. Luckily, I apologized profusely Monday morning and kept my job, but that impression was something that took a very long time to recover from professionally.

Just do yourself a favor, ladies, and keep the company party drinks to a minimum!

-- Jenn Leighton

Career suicide

Getting drunk and stupid are always taboo at a company holiday party. But I decided to add one more element into the mix to ensure complete disaster.

I was 19. I got drunk. I got stupid. Then I imitated the boss.

He was a tall, thin man who had perfected his role as a vintage-clothing shop manager. His sales pitch was always the same.

The moment a customer entered, he'd run up to her like a rabid dog, panting at the pants rack, drooling down the dresses and whipping out at least 10 different items he'd insist the bewildered person could not live without.

"That's the bomb," he'd loudly proclaim with each item he'd hold up to the customer's frame.

We staffers constantly made fun of him behind his back and, after about six glasses of wine at the company party, I decided to take my performance public.

The party was actually in the store, so I had the clothes racks as props to enhance my imitation.

"That's the bomb." "That's the bomb." "That's the bomb."

Fellow staffers were horrified. The manager was even less amused.

My next day's hangover came with a notice that my services had been temporary for the holidays and no longer needed -- even though it was still two weeks before Christmas!

-- Ryn Gargulinski

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