the season of holiday office dramas begins today…

Because today is Thanksgiving, in lieu of a post today I’m instead presenting five crazy holiday stories from years past. (Crazy letters are high on my list of things to be thankful for.)

1. my office Secret Santa gave me a sex toy

2. my office wants us to chip in to send our CEO’s family on a ski trip

3. I punched a coworker at the company Christmas party

4. my office hid the Christmas party from us

5. former boss sent large gift baskets to some of us, but not others

And for good measure, I’ve done a round-up over at the Fast Track too, which includes your 10 funniest workplace gift debacles and 10 worst office holiday party disasters. You can read the whole thing here.

{ 43 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia

    Every time I see this collection to send the CEO and his family on a ski trip my blood pressure goes up. This is entirely outrageous.

    1. Elkay

      I’d love to see an update to that one too. I suspect a lot of the ones where the letter writer believes they are being treated unfairly are difficult to get updates on because it’s hard to hear that being fired for lashing out when a jackass provoked you was a fair outcome.

  2. Megan

    Hi Alison, I re read the ski trip story & noticed in the comments you were thinking of writing an etiquette book – is that still happening?

      1. A Teacher

        That would be awesome. I already use your blog and the columns you write to supplement my career classes. A book like this would be a great reference!

  3. Monodon monoceros

    Alison, when I clicked on the “here” link for the Quickbase page, it said “nothing found on this blog”.

  4. Felicia

    I want an update for all of these!

    Also kind of sad no post today, but I’d totally forgotten this was Thanksgiving for Americans.

    1. acmx

      OK that is the most repulsive thing. I’m afraid to read the whole post. I think I’ll wait ’til after the holiday. I don’t want to be flabbergasted all day lol

    2. Canadamber

      Oh my God, that’s just outrageous. I have allergies, so I’d be like, “…Dude. No. I’m not doing that.” That’d be a good way to stop this, actually – someone goes into anaphylaxis from cross-contamination because someone ate peanuts or whatever before doing this spitting activity. :) (Scary thought, though…)

      1. Elkay

        Imagine having to explain that reaction at the hospital “Well Dan had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch then when he was spitting soda into my mouth some of the residue must have been in the soda…”

  5. Mouse of Evil

    My mom worked in the same kind of environment as the OP in the Secret Santa Sex Toy story, and I can totally see some of the guys in the shop doing this to embarrass the ladies in the front office. I suspect that my mom, who could never even bring herself to MENTION sex and wouldn’t let me watch TV shows that mentioned it (e.g., Soap–I’m pretty old) until I was in junior high, would have been so upset that she probably would have spent the rest of the day in the bathroom, because at her company if you left halfway through the day you had to take a full day’s vacation–and she only got five vacation days a year, even after 20 years of employment.

    Actually, come to think of it, she wouldn’t have wanted to go back to the bathroom, because you had to go through the shop to get to it. I’m not sure what she would have done. She wouldn’t have gone to the owner–a woman, BTW–because the owner might have turned it around so that it looked like my mom was just a silly old prude (I don’t know that the owner would have done that, but that’s what my mom would have been afraid of).

    Or, who knows, maybe having worked as a secretary in the petroleum industry for much of her adult life, my mom was used to this kind of thing and would have treated it exactly like the OP did, on the assumption that no reaction was the best way to thwart the idiots who thought it was funny to do something like that.

    Anyway, I guess what this made me think of, on Thanksgiving, is how thankful I am that 35 years later most of us at least have the option of not putting up with crap like this. And I’m thankful that my mom was willing to put up with what she did to make sure I had a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes to wear to school.

  6. OfficePrincess

    This is perfect for today. My workplace has to run a half day today, but my Job is 80% communication with places tag aren’t open. I’m here as a sign of solidarity for my staff and to knock out the straggling projects on my to do list, but I don’t have nearly enough to fill the time.

  7. Elizabeth West

    Not working today, but I am tomorrow. Today is all about cleaning the house and writing, and finishing the online portion of the First Aid/CPR training I’m taking at work (I have to finish it by 5:00 pm tomorrow and I’ll be busy). I remember some of these but not all.

    Punching coworker: This one I don’t remember seeing. I had to read all the comments. I really wish we could get an update. Anyway, here’s hoping the OP read the comments and learned something from them and the experience.

    The gift basket manager is a raging asshole. Here’s something to be thankful for: he’s gone!

    1. Artemesia

      I would be so embarrassed if I got a giant gift basket at work for no reason while my co-workers didn’t. That one is creepy all around — but in the hilarious rather than sad mode. The tax low paid workers so the CEO can ski is a whole other level.

      1. Elizabeth West

        That happened a lot at Exjob; customers would send their sales rep or engineer a basket of goodies. People usually just put them out in the office for all to enjoy. There was one guy, however, who didn’t like doing that. I suppose technically it was his gift, but it was like, “Dude, really? Whatever.”

        1. DBAGirl

          I’ve seen salespeople get these gifts from their customers, I think it goes with the territory/relationship.
          A gift from a Former Boss is just Weird.

  8. Erin

    Number 4 made me sad because of what happened next. In the comments, JJ the OP said she had a surprise review with her new manager from the main office and it was shockingly negative. Did we ever get another update on that whole situation? I hope the new boss improved or JJ got out of that situation.

    1. Jazzy Red

      I went back and found her comments, and my heart hurts for her. She sure deserved better than that!

  9. Waiting Patiently

    Oh, I thought I was going crazy for a minute. I got a notification in my email but the link took me to the post about the hidden holiday party. I started to commenting then realized it was from 2013. Was wondering how I got there. Now I see…
    Any way happy thanksgiving! Hopen everyone is enjoying this time with family and friends.

  10. Anoners

    The worst part about American Thanksgiving is being a Canadian pining for the usual AAM posts (or web posts of any kind for that matter!)

  11. Mephyle

    Re #5, what I am wondering was how the five giftees and non-giftees reacted among themselves. Were the two who did receive baskets pleased to have been favoured by horrible ex-manager, or were they embarrassed in front of the other three who received nothing? I see that nobody asked that in the original discussion, but it makes me curious.

  12. Liz

    Christmas parties are so great. A couple of bosses ago, our manager turned up drunk and started crying. Just the best year ever.

  13. CoffeeLover

    OP #4 (not invited to the Christmas party) if you’re still out there I’d like to get another update. I saw in the comments you updated. Things just got worse though so I’m hoping you can let me know if you stayed at the company, how the reorg worked out, etc.

  14. West Coast Reader

    As much as I’m sad that another year is going to be over, this is also the best time of the year for AAM – relishing on the crazy stories of 2014 and be thankful that I’m not a character in any of them! For the record, I love AAM all year round. :)

  15. Andrea

    Along these lines…I started working for a new company this year, run by a husband and wife. There are about 40 people at the company and the husband and wife are hosting the party this year (which, according to years past, become quite drunken and wild) at their home.

    Am I out of line for finding this to be a bit uncomfortable? I may claim a family commitment so I don’t have to attend.

    1. DBAGirl

      You are not out of line at all. You have to figure out if “so sorry can’t make it” will hurt you professionally. It depends on your line of work, your job title, your ambition, and your company culture. It’s more trouble than it’s worth to make the calculation:) but you should make it.

      When I said “ambition”, I meant political ambition – if you want to rise up the corporate ladder, you should go.

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