The Survivalist: sex, booze, violence and the firm’s office party
Yes, the Consumerist Conspiracy that is Christmas is on our doorsteps once again, fellow survivalists. So it’s time to strip, oil and service your weapon, lock and load and give Santa both barrels.
OK, so that came out all wrong. Reset. It’s been a sparse year in the bunker and without a regular outlet, the Survivalist is getting a little horny and ornery.
Which, ladies and gentlefolk, is precisely what is happening in the office of one too many partners just about now. In a crunchy market, with work either flat or flat-out, it’s been a tenuous year for BigLaw and I’m betting there are quite a few senior bods out there who ain’t been gettin’ enough.
The Survivalist will have no Christmas Party in the bunker. Instead, he’ll crank up the electric fence, dismantle the AK-47 and watch the box set of Homeland with a six-pack of Red Bull and a handful of Pro-Plus.
But for you fresh-faced, pinstripey elves out there in Lovely Lawland, the office Christmas party can spell a whole lot of trouble if you’re not careful, particularly when it comes to those jiggy-deprived senior bods mentioned earlier.
Spending fifteen minutes kneeling at the feet of the vodka luge in the shape of Michelangelo’s David might seem like a good idea at the time, but half an hour later when you’re locked in the disabled toilet getting your face pressed against the strangely-unfrosted glass by the head of corporate as he fiddles with your pants, to the delight of the fourth floor watching from across the atrium, reality will start to come a-knocking. By Monday morning – and for the rest of your life – you will regret your abandon.
Now, you may think that no self-respecting partner these days would be dumb enough to risk his reputation by trying it on with all and sundry after one too many cherry brandies. Alas, alcohol is an insidious drug, and office party myth and legend is laced with many such indiscretions.
Lesson One is to attend, regardless of how much you might like not to. Law is a team sport, at least outwardly, so smile, grit your teeth and get on with it. Your boss will expect you to be there, so don’t disappoint, and try not to leave before he/she does. This should also be a good opportunity for a bit of judicious schmoozing, especially if your firm is fairly flexible about partners picking the assistants they like from a wide pool.
Lesson Two. Dress professionally, nothing too low-cut or too fitting. A lacy basque may look great on Christina Aguilera when she is getting down ‘n’ dirty, but it’s asking for trouble, especially if you’re pitching for a place in the rugby sevens team. If they mandate fancy dress, God help you. And remember that only Gaga looks good with a couple of pork chops stapled to her bra and a rack of ribs on her head.
Lesson Three. Remember who and where you are, and your position in the pecking order. Don’t forget this, regardless of the alcohol or other substances and the lateness of the evening. You are advised, if you do drink, to drink enough to permit you to dance passably well to Staying Alive and to laugh at the head of tax’s lousy rabbi jokes, but not enough to permanently damage your chances of advancement at the firm by acting like a total tool.
Lesson Four. Watch your language. Alcohol loosens the tongue so let your use of expletives be guided by the person you’re talking to. Let them make the first f***. On no circumstances let tequila slammers give you the bright idea of bawling out the maverick head of finance, who will remember exactly where you told him to stuff his collateralised debt obligations come Monday.
Lesson Five. Watch who you leave with. Unless you’re planning to make the somewhat dubious move of shagging a partner, don’t accept the offer of sharing a taxi home.
But all this withstanding, have a good time. You may have been an emo at uni but refusing to dance to the nasty, commercial pap that everyone is having a laugh to will box you into a corner socially, so let those locks down for a bit of judicious participation.
As ever, stay Frosty (the Snowman). TS