What Not To Do At The Office Party

A Story – Part of the Career MuseMat Series.

What Not To Do At The Office Party.

By Shannah Matterson

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you” (Proverbs 4:6 NIV)

“You crossed over into 2017 with the high hopes that you were going to start off the year on the right foot. You told yourself that there would be no more ‘Happy Hour Weekends’ with the girls or late night snacks. You prayed, made your positive affirmations and pronouncements and felt that deep abiding stir in your stomach that things were going to be good. You did all of the things you were taught to do back in 2016: you upgraded your profile on Linkedin, you joined your company’s career network on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest job alerts and you enrolled on to that highly sought after organic growth programme at work in order to seal yourself a promotion.

But, at 11.55pm on New Year’s Eve, before you even sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ with your work buddies you found yourself in the middle of the office party dance floor. It must have been the potent blood-red cocktail that convinced you to showcase some of the most inappropriate, career-killer style dance poses known to mankind. Fast forward, it’s January, and you are back at work. The blurry shadow of the New Years Eve office party hits you when you notice the cold, ‘ooh, you got busted!’ looks, that are plastered across your colleagues faces. Before you even reach your desk, your supervisor taps you gently on the shoulder and ushers you into her office.

“Whats going on?” you ask, your voice slightly waivers, you can feel the tiny beads of perspiration forming on your brow.

“Have you seen the photos?” Your supervisor quickly looks away, you notice now that her cheeks are blushed a light reddish pink.

“What photos?”

“You know, the ones at the New Years Eve Party…”

Your supervisor taps the screen on her iMac and you gaze with horror. There you are, that inebriated figure, under the unflattering sheen of disco lights. Your left leg is wrapped around the shiny bald head of the guy you never talk to from HR, alongside the trending hashtag whatnottodoatofficeparties.

“Who is that girl?”

“It’s you”.

You spend the rest of the afternoon with your head gently tilted, waiting for the short hand on the clock to go on 5 and the long hand to go on 12  before you can clock out and leg it home. You cannot believe it that you were that girl snapped mooning* in front of the director of HR with your backside and your new ‘buy one get one free’ polka dot undies displayed for the world to see. And, you were also the same girl that was doing some strange ‘Juju On That Beat’ dance routine in the presence of your line manager.

Later, after you have cried to your best friend on the phone about your informal warning, about how you’ve messed up your career; you can hear your mother’s voice in your head, ladled with fury. She rebukes the Juju that must have been projected into your drink and blames her catalog of enemies for invoking foolishness into your life. You imagine her slapping her thighs before resting her hands on her head and saying, “What would possess you to dance to any ting wid Juju in its name? Abeg! You have killed your career! Wonders shall never end!”

*Mooning – The act of exposing one’s bare behind


What lessons can be learned from the protagonist’s experience at work? What can be done to salvage a career marred by such misdemeanors? I would love to read your comments in the section below.

Also, connect with me on twitter @muse_matterson or via email to share your comments

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