Career

So You Behaved Badly At The Office Party: Here’s Damage Control

There are varying degrees of Christmukkah party transgressions. Did you complain about the company, give your boss a serve or try to kiss your work crush on their cute little mouth? Maybe you’re a tabletop dancer, a bawdy joke teller or pass out in the corner kind of guy? For each crime there is a punishment – pick your penalty below.

Keep things in perspective

There’s a chance you were the only slightly pissed, slightly inappropriate reveller at the Christmas party, but it’s unlikely. You were probably surrounded by co-workers, cutting lose like overstimulated children on the one day of the year their extra-curricular selves are even acknowledged in the work place. Plus it’s Christmas! And it’s summer! And there are holidays! And etc. Recognise the general lowering of standards and go easy on yourself.

Keep a low profile

drunk pineapple

Image: Stocksy

Inevitably, the work Christmas crisis involved the heady mix of alcohol and your lowered inhibitions, triggering some “out of character” behaviour. Was there impromptu Christmas carol karaoke? Do you have post-champagne squawk? Did you get jiggy in a sexual way? Whatever your transgressions, the key to recovery is to be very, very inconspicuous when you next see your colleagues. You need to redress the imbalance with your best inner church mouse, creating plausible deniability in the face of your crimes.

Beat ‘em to the punch

If plausible deniability fails, embrace your failure. Don’t wait for your workmates to turn your necktie around the head moment into a meme. Make yourself a meme. The tone you’re aiming for is wry self-deprecation. I am such a doofus. Won’t be doing that again. Until next time.

Bring coffee

Hurt your liver? You may not be alone. If you’re looking to make amends for bad jokes or obnoxious behaviour at the Christmas party, bring your workmates coffee the next day. Bring hangover recovery food and Berocca, too, and you’ll be halfway to your goal of total forgiveness.

Write a note

monster note

Image: flickr

What happened to the fine art of letter writing? The notion of putting actual pen to physical paper is so looney tunes in this day and age that to do so smacks of very deliberate effort. If you offended someone at the office Christmas party by telling them their dress looks like unicorn snot, by mocking their sobriety, or by vomiting on their shoes, a carefully written apology will show them you mean business.

Suck it up

Too loud? Too drunk? Too flirty? Too urinate in public-ish? Sometimes the best thing to do is just apologise face-to-face. If you think your crime was relatively mild, go for a low-key but sincere apology that says, ‘Hey, I am a flawed human being, but I’m trying.’ FYI – pissing in public may not fall into this category.

Beg forgiveness

There are certain transgressions for which only sincere, self-chastising horror will do. If your transgression involved illegal or immoral behaviour, including aggressive and unwanted sexual advances towards your colleagues, you should feel genuinely remorseful. However, you need to be very careful about what you do with your guilt. It might not be ok to apologise directly to a co-worker on the receiving end of your bad behaviour – they may feel uncomfortable or unsafe if you confront them. For serious misdemeanours, you need a responsible manager to manage the situation. Go to your superior, express your genuine and unreserved apology, and concern for your colleague’s wellbeing, and ask them to mediate.

Quit your job

There are some things you’re not coming back from. A wise person knows when they’re defeated.


Simone Ubaldi is a ghostwriter, music journalist, film critic and has co-authored four books, including memoirs of Bon Scott and Mark ‘Chopper’ Read.

(Lead image via Stocksy)