The party season is in full swing and with it comes the dreaded office party. Depending on how well you get on with your colleagues, they can present something of a challenge. Add into the mix a roster of clients and some members of the media and you’re facing a true nightmare before Christmas. This happened to a good friend of mine a few weeks ago who was put in the tricky position of having to swig a never-ending amount of free booze whilst speaking to a client and a journalist who were stone cold sober. Once he was nicely pickled, his account manager, who had not had the opportunity to sample the free bar, decided it was a good time to palm off the rather important client to him. The situation got worse when a journalist spotted the client and wondered over to have a chat – off the record of course.
So, there he was, struggling to keep both eyes focused on the same object, tie loosely hanging from his Tom Jones-like unbuttoned shirt, desperately trying to keep pace with a conversation about PE ratios. Despite being one of the brighter people I know, he failed, miserably. Instead, in his infinite wisdom, he changed the conversation to football and who was going to win the league. Far from scoffing, the journo and the client then launched into a huge debate about which team was better – Arsenal or Manchester United. I don’t know how the conversation turned out, but an educated guess would lead me to believe they decided upon the mighty Arsenal.
My friend, now a drooling, rabid, Spurs fan chipped in with his two cents worth and got more than a little agitated with the Gooner (his client) going as far as to call all Arsenal fans the, and I quote, “scum of London.” I asked him how the rest of the night turned out after that, but he looked at me quite blindly, shaking his head and said he couldn’t remember. As it happened his client went on holiday the next day and wasn’t heard from in a week. For the entire week my friend was on ‘squeakybum time’ and lost about half a stone through nervous energy.
I have since heard that the client returned and sent an email to my friend. With a shaky mouse he opened it up and followed the hyperlink it contained. The link took him to Youtube and a video of Arsenal’s goals so far this season. He went back to the email and looked under the link. It read: “not bad for a bunch of scumbags.”
Whilst it all turned out fine in the end I somehow doubt he would recommend doing it again. His sudden, and very noticeable, weight loss and the apparent addition of five years of age are evidence of that.
So, when you’re at you’re Christmas bash this year, if there is even the slightest chance of being cornered by a client or a journalist, just say no to that next glass of champagne – unless of course you want to go on a very dramatic diet and don’t fancy sleeping for a week.