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A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Christmas Parties Past

Dear Readers,

Last week I devoted the column to information about holiday office parties. Although surviving the event is a challenge for some, others look forward to the party in anticipation of a wild and crazy time. 

The office holiday party is an event that some people prefer to avoid, while others eagerly anticipate the big event. And every year, there is someone who drinks too much and does something regrettable that will never be forgotten. If you have an interesting story, please send it to me and I will put it in my collection for next year.

Today's column is devoted to your comments and stories of office holiday party memories.

****Several years ago, there was a voluptuous young woman who worked in our firm. The first year she was with us, she came to the Christmas party in a tight and very revealing dress. Whether we wanted to or not, no one could avoid noticing and looking at her well-endowed chest.

Her "dress" became the brunt of office jokes and ultimately, she became somewhat of a joke. Back at the office, even when she was covered up, it was difficult to look at her without picturing her in that dress. 

I am not exaggerating when I say that she and her dress were part of the office conversation for years. 

- M.L.

I will never forget the intimate dinner our department had to celebrate the holidays. There were 12 of us at a nice restaurant and one woman had too much to drink. She started to make fun of the hairpiece a coworker wore. She was teasing this man, running her fingers through his hair and ended up pulling the hairpiece off. 

He handled it fairly well, but I can tell you that their relationship was never the same. In fact I don't think she was ever the same either. The more I think about it, the more I realize that someone should have said something, but there was no stopping her - she was out of control. 

- Witness

****I enjoyed your column on office parties. I have one to share, but it is sad. A few years ago, I attended our office party, which was small, but loud and crazy enough. My boss is a very quiet guy. In fact, you're lucky if you get him to utter "hello" during the day. 

However, at the Christmas party, after consuming a few beers, he totally changed. He was loud and gregarious, and invited everyone to go to the movies, offering to pay for all.

He pulled the money out of his wallet, and you guessed it -- the office cleaned him out. The next day, no one said a word. I saw this happen, and to this day, I don't really know if he even knows what happened. It was a case of an office party that got way out of hand. My suggestion for others is to stick to drinking soft drinks. 

- Mark

****It is difficult to avoid the blurring of the lines between our personal and work lives, especially when companies are demanding so much of their executives' time and energy. 

When an employee allows him or herself to become vulnerable to humiliation by having one or three or five "too many" with the gang from work, an important edge is lost. It changes the status someone has in the company. 

Quoting some of the comments in your column reinforces my advice; "From that (embarrassing drunken) day forth, there was tension between that partner and myself"; "I could never get away from all the ongoing comments after that night..." The drunken employee's angry tirade was "an unforgettable moment." The new employee jailed for drunkenness, etc. 

How folks drink on their own time should be their own business: drinking unwisely in the company of co-workers is bad business. 

- Jim

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

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