Agencies pride themselves on letting down their hair. So this is the time of year when they double down and pretend co-workers are their wingmen. Gather ’round, ye olde creative directors and ye younge media buyers: It’s the season of the Agency Holiday Party.
While a fun tradition, the office holiday party can be a minefield, especially for younger staffers who may mistake it for any other typical Saturday night in the Meatpacking district.
So for this edition of Ask a Millennial, we asked our focus group of youngs: What’s your holiday party strat?
Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
Male, 27, account service
Our holiday party this year, based off my past experiences with office holiday parties, is an absolute joke. We received an email saying the “holiday party” is in the middle of next week, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the main lobby of the agency. What kind of shit is that? I may skip it and crash a friend’s holiday party, which — like a real party should be — is on a yacht that travels the Hudson and East River.
In past years, though, the strategy is all about who’s there and for how long. I generally drink slow while the bosses are there socializing with everyone. After a few hours, it turns into a standard Friday night with free booze. So there’s not really any holding back. Just gotta make sure to not get fired. Anything short of that is all good.
Female, 29, communication strategist
My strategy: Lots of drinks early, snacks regularly, finish up the last 30 minutes with water only — and leave before 9:30 p.m. After that, things get weird. The worst thing was when awkward photo-booth encounters were accidentally placed on the company server. That was a very silent Friday afternoon in the office.
Female, 30, strategy
If you’ve worked there for less than a year, have two drinks but don’t get drunk. Period. Once you’ve worked there for more than a year, you probably have enough good friends at work that will stop you from doing anything dumb.
Male, 26, content strategist
Memorize the drink order of someone in senior management. It’s much easier to get valuable face time with a vice president or partner when you can hand them their favorite drink and chat. Just make sure you get the drinks before the open bar closes. When I first started working, I got stuck with a $17 bill for an elaborate drink and was too ashamed to tell the boss that the bar had closed.
Male, 23, creative
Strategy? I’m going to get bombed.
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