Damage Control for Office Party Disasters

Have you ever gone in to work the day after the holiday party and found it impossible to make eye contact with Carrie the Controller, or sensed your boss glaring at you so hatefully it felt like your cheek was blistering? Me neither. I’m not saying that I haven’t made office party mistakes, but I know now how to conduct myself in the aftermath. One party started under the mistletoe and ended under the sheets. I didn’t quit but, like a lame-o, did spend the rest of my time ignoring Joe, who unfortunately got stalkerish. Since then, I’ve conducted vast research and come back grayer, wiser and full of valuable information on how to fix party disasters. So, feel free to eff up, because here’s how you fix it.

If you made out with Friendly Fiona from HR
Do not avoid her. Do not. Rather, be proactive: Take her out for lunch, as soon as possible. This will be the most painful lunch in the history of painful lunches, but it will give you the opportunity to explain that you didn’t actually mean all those charming things you said over eggnog. Apologize for any “misunderstandings.” Accept it if she calls you an a-hole. Look up with puppy eyes once she’s done ranting and say, “Friends?” (If she continues raging, just leave it alone.)

If you made out with Clingy Cathy from Supplies
As with Fiona, take the lady out for lunch and explain that you’re just not that into her. With Clingy Cathy, you’ll need to be particularly straightforward. Any b.s. will make things work against you, so repeat this in your head: “No b.s., no b.s., no b.s.” till whatever you say comes out as clean as water. Water from the fountain of truth! The truth that you don’t want to make out with Clingy Cathy ever again. Don’t even suggest “Friends.”

If you told your boss that he’s an idiot
If you still have the job, the bad news is that you’re now working for an angry idiot. There’s only one solution to this, and that is to apologize. Profusely. If your boss is actually a cool guy, I’d suggest asking him out for martinis and steak. If he’s more traditional, a nice bottle of single malt may do the trick. The trick of saving your job.

If you require multi-disaster management
OK. So, you: dry-humped somebody’s date; or, tried to impregnate the watercooler; or, nude table-danced; or, punched Santa; or, set the centerpiece on fire. Yes, all very funny and mostly ridiculous — but they happen, and none should happen to you if you are career-driven. If any of the above are in your repertoire, you might have an alcohol problem. No joke. There are some great programs at CAMH that you could look into. Talk to your boss about it — your alcohol problem (say it out loud) — and tell him you’re getting help. Don’t be devious; be a man. Face the fact that you may actually genuinely need help.

Image courtesy of Leonie.

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