I heard a beautiful rumor yesterday. Word on the street is that our company holiday party will be canceled this year. That worries me about the financial state of the organization, but since I’m a silver lining kinda guy, it also makes me happy because it eliminates the stress and anxiety of having to suffer through 4 forced hours of awkward conversation as co-workers down alcoholic beverages.
The reality is most people don’t enjoy these end-of-year celebrations, most of all, company owners, presidents and CEOs. On the risk/reward scale, the former wins. Shaky economic conditions give the Head Honcho the perfect excuse to be a holiday killjoy.
Here are the reasons why your company might cancel the holiday party this year.
1) MONEY. Economic times are tight and companies are pinching pennies everywhere they can. Even if the company can afford it, have you noticed how expensive basic foods have gotten!? These parties ain’t cheap.
2) LAZINESS. The holiday party doesn’t book itself. Staff members must invest time to make it happen, and perhaps this year, they just don’t feel like it.
3) FEAR. Parties give people an excuse to behave badly. Whether they’re being sexually inappropriate or making dumb comments, party actions can have a spillover effect to your desk duties.
4) EVIDENCE. Many organizations hold annual reviews at the end of the year. Now when they deny you a raise or give you a smaller slice than last year, they can point to how they are ‘cutting corners.’ A party cancellation can also be a precursor to layoffs.
5) PEERS. What will the competition think (or stockholders) if you hold a holiday party? Spending on ‘extras’ can send an inaccurate message of a company’s financial standing.
6) DISTRACTION. The folks at the top are still doing pretty darn well when it comes to $. Perhaps the powers-that-be have arranged their own personal holiday or group trip that doesn’t include the ‘little people’ – the ones who make things happen. Cabo or bust!
7) AMBIVALENCE. No matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. Employees will complain about the party – or whether or not you held the party – no matter what. Realizing it’s a no-win situation, makes it easy for the boss to pull the plug.
The holiday party does have a few benefits for both the employee and management. The employee gains face time with upper-management, the ability to make new contacts and an overall feeling of “love” from the company. By canceling the party, employers risk employee resentment and listlessness. On the surface, it seems like an end-of-year formality, but the holiday party carries more weight than many realize.
So what’s your company’s holiday party status?
Coming Soon: How to gracefully decline the corporate holiday party.