Don’t become the office party legend

by Dec 16, 2021

The reputation as the office party legend is a dubious honour.

It’s really not a good idea to become the office party legend because it can be a hard reputation to shift. You want to be visible for the right reasons.


There are big debates raging this week. Should we or shouldn’t we go ahead with the office party? Under normal circumstances this week would see more office parties than any other in the working year. Whether it’s a big bash at a fancy venue, or a few drinks at the local bar, many workplaces take some time out to celebrate the festive season. The combination of a free bar paid for by the boss with a communal letting down of hair, can lead to some unfortunate consequences. Will this happen in 2021  – it’s hard to tell, but many are still planning a celebration of some sort.

As one old friend, a now-retired SVP HR says:

“Nothing good comes out of a bar at 0300 a.m.”

The reputation as the office party legend is rarely acquired for the right reasons.

office party legend

Walk of shame

Each event usually has at least one memorable faux pas, with the offender having to do the walk of shame the day after. No one wants to earn the reputation as the office party legend, etched in the annals of corporate folklore and above all in everyone’s memories.

Jaclyn a Marketing Manager at a pharmaceutical company recalls how a senior manager was caught in flagrante on CCTV cameras by security, in the front seat of her Porsche. That was even before Fifty Shades of Grey was a thought in the author’s head. Her walk of shame was very short. She was requested not to return to work.

Martin remembers when a colleague several glasses for the worse, shared her lack of confidence with the Board’s strategy with….. the President of the Board.

Melissa recalls a female colleague having a wardrobe malfunction and another throwing-up in the bushes of the restaurant. Tables, shots, and dancing were mentioned in the same sentence. Never a good combo.


There is also a very strong connection between alcohol consumption and sexual assault.

How to avoid becoming the office party legend:

  • Eat before you go –  with large groups service tends to be slower, and it’s easy to consume more aperitifs than usual. So if the “do” is after work, eat a good lunch.
  • Keep track of your refills – it’s easy to lose count of the refills when waiters come around topping up your glass. Try and estimate!
  • Drink lots of water  – alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
  • Network with senior people early – while your speech is clear and your thoughts are lucid. And vice versa.
  • Avoid the mistletoe – Really. Like a communicable disease. Especially during COVID which IS a communicable disease. You might have had a secret crush on a colleague all year, but guess what….that’s exactly how it should stay. VERY secret. That would be one piece of office “goss” that would go viral. Think #MeToo and sexual harassment case.
  • Apply the 24-hour rule –  Absolutely no photos, tweets, Facebook posts, or Instagrams until the following day. Then ask that critical question. What value would it add? The answer is almost always ….none. Generally, a social media embargo is a good idea.

Don’t forget that there are still annoying double standards regarding mis-behaviour for women. Men are more likely to be forgiven more minor alcohol-related indiscretions. If you walk into the office the following day and see smirks and sniggers, you know that something less than desirable has happened.

If your company needs to strengthen its female talent pipeline  – get in touch now!  

Get the facts. Then apologise. Profusely. To everyone. Immediately. This will never go away and pretending it didn’t happen, or you can’t remember won’t work. If you really can’t remember anything at all, you were in worse shape than you thought.


Is your organisation holding inclusive events?

Take a look at this post: 10 factors to consider to set up inclusive events



Staff Writer: Career Contributor
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