Depending on where you work, and whom you work with, office parties are either something you look forward to or absolutely dread. If your office is stocked full of handsome hunks with uncanny resemblance to Jon Hamm in Mad Men, you may use the annual get-together as an excuse to let go of being oh-so professional and harmlessly flirt around a little.
On the other hand, if your office is filled with people who might as well be casted on the show The Office you may spend your time throwing back an extra glass of vino and constantly checking your watch for an appropriate time to dine and dash.
The day after is likely to be spent reminiscing with girlfriends about how the night unfolded and what your co-workers are really like when thrown outside of the comfort of their cubicle. But no matter how much your experiences differ from that of your gal-pal, experts claim that there are exactly 10 party ‘characters’ present at every single staff party regardless of where it is, which industry or trade throws the bash or how many people attend.
According to a study by National bar and brasserie, the classic office party will follow an almost formulaic pattern. Browns’ spokesman Paul Hulyer said: “The faces may change as quickly as the music at these staff parties but one thing is constant – the 10 staff party characters who are present…Never is that more obvious than at the annual staff Christmas party”.
With the annual Christmas office party being just around the corner, try and figure out: Which character are you?
This man or woman is the preacher of promise to the Christmas party. They help round up the pack in advance of the annual get-together and make wild pledges of incredible party feats constantly announcing that they will be the last-man or woman standing at the after-party. They are then found just an hour into the festive bash burnt at both ends, snoring quietly in the corner.
If you’ve seen the way Rex creeps on Lori in the movie Ted, you’ll be able to identify this character almost immediately. You’ve had your suspicions about this staff member all year and, as the Christmas party celebrations start to unfold, they confirm your worst fears –you are the main target of their inappropriate advances. It starts with an innocent offer of a drink then before you know it they take the creeping to the next level, shunning every other staff member and focusing their attention solely on you.
They’ve been the picture of discretion all year, coolly hiding their inner discontent at not getting that pay-rise or failing in that promotion behind a façade of indifference. But after there inhibitions are lowered from one glass of wine or they have allowed the festive spirit to take them, playing it cool is no longer an option. They suddenly lose all self-control and it becomes impossible to maintain company secrets or private disclosures. They can be seen whispering gaudily in partygoer’s ears, gossip rolling effortlessly off the tip of their tongue. No topic is off limits and before the end of the evening all confidential company business is suddenly common knowledge among the entire workforce. Often found at the root of any Christmas party drama.
Often besties with the Peak-too-sooner and the Organizer, the Houdini seems all for the festive frolics in the lead-up to the event. They go as far as helping organize venues for the wild party animals to go to after the main event has run its course. But when it comes down to it, this party ‘type’ is all talk. When the après-party commences, they are no where to be found, having discretely slipped home, into their sweatpants and under their down comforter, while the workforce is still in full-party mode. Usually in their early thirties and often a new parent or grossly smitten with their newly acquired lover.
The Dark Horse
Throughout the year, this co-worker has been walking on eggshells around the office then suddenly, frighteningly finds their outrageous inner self at the Christmas party. While they would barely make eye contact in normal office hours and were painfully shy they suddenly think it is perfectly acceptable to go around taking sips of colleagues drinks and dance inappropriately close to members of the opposite sex. They’re also likely to announce that they used to be lead singer in a death metal band once they’d quit their job as a dancer at a seedy revue bar. Often to be found working the floor alongside The Flirt.
You can easily spot this staff member at the Christmas party because they are irremovably welded to the side of their departmental boss. They’ll be the one wide-eyed and heartily laughing at their boss’s awful jokes, cooing cringefully at their boss’s development plan and eagerly dashing to the bar to buy their boss drinks all night out of their own pocket. They are worse then the most-hated teachers pet in grade school. They’ll also be the one left heartbroken as their boss exits the party early without hearing their full 14-part eulogy to his/her greatness. Often to be found, at the end of the night, in the toilets, attempting to outcry The Weeper.
This is staff member who simply refuses to leave their personal problems at the door of the Christmas party venue. They wear their heart on their sleeve and spread their misty-eyed romantic delusions of love through snotty tear-stained tissues thrust into the clammy hands of colleagues. If you are unfortunate enough to aimlessly wander into the toilets while The Weeper is mid-shriek you are sure to be stuck listening to the novel ending of their torrid love affair with Ed, the guy they met a month ago who randomly stopped calling. Their tears are so excessive and likely at Christmas parties that The Organiser has stopped booking them a seat at the annual dinner table and has simply arranged for them to be hooked up to the water mains in order to replenish lost hydration.
Always a decade beyond their prime, The dancer will bust all manner of old-skool moves at the office party following years of secret attendance at their local community centre’s disco dancing classes. Thought you’d seen the last of the hand-jive? Oh no you haven’t. And you’ve never ever seen anyone under the age of 25 attempt that backflip into a John Travolta strut before. This staff member will not vacate the dance floor – tonight it is their personal stage and the masses of open-mouthed colleagues sitting around the vicinity of the dance floor are their greatest audience. Also available for christenings, bah mitzvahs and evening wedding receptions.
This person makes changing your Christmas dinner choice at the staff party seem like you’ve committed a crime by belittling the quality of the venue. The Organiser is the one who will be steadfast and angrily on your case making sure the event turns out picture perfect. This staff member has spent years scaring the pants off the biggest characters in the staff line-up, with a withering stare that has been practiced to perfection. They have a list of everything (including other lists) and have arranged the staff party with military precision. No matter if you have just ordered a full round of drinks for you and your colleagues, if The Organiser says it is time to move on, you immediately shuffle into the dining room and leave the drinks behind with a smile (they’re banned from this room because The Organiser has arranged special Christmas cocktails to be served).
Usually a friend or significant other of a co-worker, The Gatecrasher has already been out at their own staff party at a venue across town earlier in the evening. They show up (maybe drunken) to yours, risking the wrath of The Organiser and happily invite themselves to share the paid-for after-dinner activities. Convinced that they have brought this new party to life and sure of their ‘legend’ status they’ll even try and lighten the spirits of The Weeper before attempting to solve world famine, challenge The Dancer to a Step Up-style dance-off and demand that your boss tell them exactly what it is like being a PA.