All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Dreaded Office Holiday Party

Not much to do with baseball in this post. I just feel like rambling...

The annual office holiday party is an American tradition - and according to surveys, one most people would be happy to do without. Employees would rather be given the time off to do as they wish, and have the money spent on the party as a Christmas bonus.

But employers still insist on holiday parties, and mine is no exception. Our party was Friday afternoon. You get the afternoon off - but only if you attend the party. If you don't attend the party, you have to work your normal hours or use your vacation time.

I've been enjoying the parties less and less, not least because they've been getting ever-larger and more corporate. When I first started this job, the holiday parties were planned by individual work groups - maybe 10-20 people each. One group even held their party in July (a pool party, not a Christmas party). Now, we all attend one big party, as dictated by TPTB. I guess they think it helps with teamwork or something.

But that means our holiday party is now 120 people, instead of ten separate parties of maybe 12 each. This is a pretty small town, and there simply aren't many facilities that can handle a group that size. The few that can are very boring and corporate. You're crammed into a big room, where you can hardly move, and there's nothing to do but stand around and drink. You're packed in like sardines at the tables, and the food is awful (since cooking for 120 isn't easy).

It was a lot more fun when the parties were smaller. We could go to normal restaurants and order off the regular menu, so you could get what you wanted, rather than same old bland rubber chicken and dried-out ziti buffet that's standard at big parties. And we could go to places that had things to do: billiards, darts, bowling, video games, off-track betting, foosball, etc.

I was seriously considering not going to the party this year. It's getting to the point that spending the afternoon in the office working is more fun than the party. But I went. And it was worse than ever. There was no parking, the food was bad, the restaurant was horribly boring with nothing to do, and it was so packed it was hard to mingle. A lot of people didn't show up, or snuck off early. But in the end, I was glad I went. I got to see some friends I hadn't seen in awhile, and that was nice.

In particular, I got to catch up with a guy who used to sit in the next cubicle. (Yes, I work in Dilbert-land.) He's really into sports, and we used to talk football for half the year and baseball for the other half. He transferred to another department (mainly because he gets a company car there, and gas prices were killing him). It was great to see him again.

He told me he'd recently found out that his only child, a teenaged son, is gay. I wasn't really surprised. His son is a great kid, but he's always been different from other boys. He didn't like sports, which was a disappointment to his jock of a dad. He didn't seem interested in girls, at an age when most boys are girl-crazy. Indeed, my friend had long suspected his son was gay, even when the kid was very young. And he always said that it wouldn't matter to him, either way. (The kid is very lucky to have my friend for a dad, IMO.)

Unfortunately, the boy's mother was not so accepting. She's still in denial, even though her son is now out of the closet. This has caused so much difficulty that she and my friend briefly separated. It's kind of the reverse of the stereotypical situation, where the father gets upset and the mother is accepting.

At least, that's how it was in my house. My sister is gay, but she was afraid to tell our parents for a long time. My dad is glued to Fox News every day, and is politically somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. She finally told my mom, and she broke it to dad. He was upset for about a week, then he wrote a letter to my sister, apologizing for all the terrible things he's said about gays and saying that he was proud of her and would always love her. He's still somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, but he's no longer a gay-basher.

On a lighter boss is one of those people who should not drink at company parties. But that never stops him. He gets glaze-eyed drunk, and then starts trying to pick up chicks. He's married with three kids, mind. And his life is so tightly scheduled that he couldn't do anything even if he did manage to pick someone up.

Not that that's likely to happen. He was hitting on two young women yesterday, but they weren't fooled for a minute. One of them looked at him and said, "Okay, you're married. Where's the ring?" He was outraged, and denied that he was married. But they weren't buying it. Somehow, they knew just by looking at him that he was married. It was hilarious.

Well, I guess that's one more reason to envy pro baseball players: no company Christmas parties.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:25 PM


Go Hawaii!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, December 23, 2007 1:43 AM  

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