send me your office holiday stories and questions

I’m working on an upcoming holiday-themed episode of the Ask a Manager podcast, and I want to include your stories about holidays at work: gift exchanges gone terribly wrong … holiday party disasters … the time your boss got drunk at the Christmas potluck and passed out on the copier … Whatever funny or weird stories you have about holidays at work, I want to hear them.

I also want to answer any questions that you have holidays in at work – like whether or not to give your boss or your coworkers a gift, how to get out of working New Year’s Eve, whether you really have to attend the office holiday party – whatever you’re wondering about, send it in.

To submit your stories and questions for the show:

1. Record a sound file on your phone and email it to podcast@askamanager.org.

2. Record them on the show voicemail by calling (855) 426-9675.

Thanks!

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Où est la bibliothèque

    Not the most nightmarish, but…

    Got assigned into small groups (like 6-7 people) and assigned a Christmas song. Then told to make up lyrics about the company to the tune of said Christmas song. Then get up with your tiny group and sing it in front of everybody. All this before dinner and stone-cold sober.

    Reply
    1. ElspethGC

      That would be right around the time I would be texting someone to call me with a super important family emergency that I just *had* to go take care of, so sorry, can’t stick around…

      Reply
    2. mkaibear

      That… sounds perfect and hilarious to me. I would *love* to do that.

      (and, in fact, I did filk the 12 UKIPO days of Christmas last year for one of the work choir’s Christmas concerts… but we didn’t have time to do it… boo :( )

      Reply
      1. TardyTardis

        “On the first day of Year End
        My CFO gave to me,
        A fully balanced PPE…”

        (any time you get all the assets whacked right off is a miracle, trust me).

        Reply
  2. A.N. O'Nyme

    “the time your boss got drunk at the Christmas potluck and passed out on the copier”
    Allison, is that a random example you just made up or is there an exciting story coming up on the podcast?

    Reply
  3. T

    The year before I started my job at an entertainment company, they held a huge Xmas party at the office and the president of the company came to visit. Apparently some guy got so drunk (this was a the beginning of the party), he threw up on himself as everyone was listening to the president make a speech before the band started. He was not fired but he was forever “that guy” after the incident.

    Reply
  4. Amber Rose

    Last year’s party was kind of a gong show, but there were two notable events. One of them was kind of sad and the other was I think the reason we’re holding the party somewhere else this year.

    Reply
  5. Prague

    Just wanted to say I’m always extremely grateful for the podcast transcripts. I’m a visual learner and tend to stop paying attention by accident, plus I can read much more quickly than the time it takes.

    Reply
    1. Cathie from Canada

      Yes me too — actually, I never listen to podcasts. I thought it was because I just don’t like them, but maybe its because I’m a visual learner too. Also writing down a story allows the author to create a succinct narrative, while telling a story can be sort of scattershot and rambling.

      Reply
    2. Liza

      Oh, I hadn’t noticed there were transcripts–thank you! I rarely listen to podcasts either, but the topics keep sounding interesting. (I did listen to a couple of episodes, but the topics of the ads were really off-putting–listening to the AAM podcast does not mean I’m interested in a podcast about serial killers, no thank you.)

      Reply
    3. Batshua

      Yeah, I have trouble with spoken text, too. My brain translates into background noise and tunes it out, unless I’m REALLY invested in it. This requires me to be driving, and sometimes not even that works.

      Reply
  6. Cedrus Libani

    My dad once took me to his new office’s holiday party. I was mistaken for the IT guy…and loudly accused of seducing my father. (“What are you doing?! He has a FAMILY!”) I was an eleven-year-old girl.

    I did meet the IT guy later that day, and we really did look almost identical. It was uncanny. Poor guy.

    Reply
    1. Close Bracket

      Wait, what? Was being confused for the IT guy a separate incident from the seduction accusation incident? Or did people think the IT guy was trying to seduce your father?

      Btw, why did they ask what *you* were doing? If they thought you were his mistress (or a really horny IT guy), they should ask *him* what he thinks he’s doing.

      Reply
      1. Ms Cappuccino

        I’d even say if they thought she was his mistress they should have called the police and get *him* arrested for pedophilia.

        Reply
        1. Cedrus Libani

          I was 5’10” at the time (and still a head shorter than my dad). The IT guy in question was also 5’10”, and pony-tailed, and…well, built like an eleven-year-old girl. A group of co-workers saw me and my dad from the back, casually snuggled together as we chatted with his other co-workers, and jumped to conclusions. They were all quite surprised when I turned around to see what the yelling was about…

          Puberty, plus another growth spurt, had fixed the problem by the following Christmas. Somehow, though, my dad never took me back to the office.

          Reply
  7. Jennifer85

    I don’t want to record incase it ends up being linked back to me.. but I got a book on ‘how to be assertive’ in secret Santa (one of few women in a male dominated industry where I’d had problems with trying to take on a leadership role and not getting any respect..) – where it turned out the giver was someone q senior who used to be my manager. Soooo passive aggressive (does it mean I’m *too* assertive? Or not assertive enough) and I just don’t know how he thought it was ok.

    I dealt with it by going for a quick cry in the loos then getting tipsy at the work Christmas lunch and complaining to various people until he eventually found me and apologised. Not my finest hour…

    Reply
  8. Meredith

    My husband’s office wins, hands down, as the worst holiday party I’ve even been to in my life. It made the Offices’s holiday parties look normal in comparison. Consider the following:

    1. White elephant presents were almost all alcohol. They were opened immediately and shared.
    2. The owner made an hour long speech discussing the past year’s events.
    3. The games were the worst: everyone was divided up when you got there into your games group. No couples allowed in the same group.
    – one game involved one person sitting in a chair wearing antlers while everyone else on the team threw rings at the antlers.
    -another classic was assembling a child’s toy car in the fastest time. Strangely, with a group of mechanics and engineers, HR won since they practiced ahead of time.
    4. Sober ugly sweater contest down at the beginning of the festivities.
    5. Increasingly drunk, it descended into the casual parlance of people falling over and yelling epithets at each other.
    6. It lasted for 6 hours! We were only excused because we were an hour away from home and our babysitter couldn’t stay late.

    Never in my life have I been more grateful to work at a job with only a weekday holiday lunch!

    Reply
      1. it's-a-me

        Agreed. Every part of that sounded fun! Except the ugly sweater part, but only because I’m in Australia and it’s typically 30 degrees Celsius at the time our party is on.

        Reply
      2. Kes

        Parts of this sound okay to me but the hour-long speech, having people throw things in the direction of your head, people yelling at each other, and being stuck there for 6 hours all sound terrible. Also, it sounds even worse for people who don’t drink and are trapped with increasingly drunk people for hours.
        Can’t leave for hours = not good in particular

        Reply
  9. M313

    Hey, are we going to get a chance to write in with holiday stories? I certainly have a few, but I don’t think I could properly convey them in brief recordings. Also, I sound like a complete doof when I’m talking to a voicemail.

    Reply
  10. Nonyme

    So I worked for a lovely company for about ten-ish years and they always had a great Christmas party. They’d rent a couple conference rooms at a local resort, have a banquet, and give out awards, and socialize afterwards, and it was all very lovely. There were usually about 200-300 employees at the party.

    And then we got bought by a competitor. Our first inkling that the competitor was Not A Nice Company to work for was what they did to the Christmas party.

    First, they moved it to a fancy-schmancy resort a good twenty miles from the office. Then they declared it was going to be black tie. (And folks, this was a casual office with a staff that made approximately twice minimum wage for most positions — and the sort of dress code where blue jeans were a no-no on most days but okay on Fridays; black jeans or khakis were okay every day. Most of us didn’t even own the appropriate clothing.)

    And … and … and then they announced that there would be a cover charge.

    For the Christmas party.

    They wanted the employees to PAY $25 a head to attend the Christmas party. They tried to make it sound like they were doing us a favor by renting out this fancy resort twenty miles away, and we should be delighted to have to buy formal gowns or penguin suits, and that we should feel honored to have to pay $25 for the Christmas party. The party didn’t include food, either.

    Nobody went. Literally, nobody went. Apparently, the upper level managers had the whole resort to themselves, and they were on the hook for all the cost, since nobody was willing to pay the cover charge. Our new evil overlords were quite offended. They were apparently expecting the employees to attend en mass based on previous attendance figures for holiday parties, and had made plans based on an expected attendance of about 200 people @ 25 a head.

    The next year, there was no party at all because they said “nobody every attends them anyone.”

    That was my first sign that our new owners were clueless and just generally not nice people; I could tell stories about some of the other things they did.

    Reply
    1. Kes

      Unless you work for government or somewhere that’s not allowed to spend money on parties, I don’t understand asking employees to pay to go to a company party. Who wants to pay to attend a company holiday party?

      Reply

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