Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Party's Over

The Party's Over

Wondering why your company holiday part is being scaled down or is non-existent this year? Looks like the tough economic times are hitting all sectors of the work. So now even those who work hard aren't exactly playing harder. I ran across this article from the USAToday's website.

Companies scale back, cancel holiday parties
NEW YORK — The fizz has gone out of the $20 billion corporate party business this holiday.

Party planners say those events not canceled are being scaled back to befit the economic times.

"For the most part companies are being cautious," says Jim Alkon, editor of Agenda, a corporate party planning and events publication. "People are reluctant to cancel, but they are also reluctant to be lavish. In a time of layoffs, that can send the wrong message."

Agenda Magazine? It's on my coffee table, I'm sure it's on yours. Oooh did the new agenda come in? I'm going to go take a crap.. gotta have that copy of Agenda with me.

Yet, party experts argue that corporate gatherings can be a morale booster in these times.

"In order to motivate people you have to find something to celebrate in tough times," says David Adler, editor of BizBash, a magazine and website that covers the business of party planning.
Ha ha ha ha!. party planning. Some of the issues this month in BizBash: Taking Attendance; Yes or No?, Spiking the punch; Rum or Vodka?, Party Favors; have we gone too far? and of course Plastic utensils or finger foods?
Adler says that, in fact, "People are hosting more events, but they are less expensive. … The foie gras factor is down to zero." If foie gras is out, what's in? Comfort food, less dazzle, cheaper booze, while trying not to look chintzy.
What company is serving foie gras and why haven't I worked for them? Oh, I know why. It's because I'm in the television industry.
"A lot of people attend these parties, and you don't want them to look cheap," says Jeffrey Best, principal of Best Events in Los Angeles. "They don't know the budget's been cut. They just look and say, 'Why are they using these cheapo folding chairs?' "

Best's business is down 25% due to cancellations, such as a car dealer who pulled the plug on a party for 1,000 after using Best for the past 11 years.

Other ways companies are saving:

•Time shifting. Parties were pushed out of the December peak season for savings of up to 30%, says Chicago planner Ivan Carlson & Associates, which has moved parties to January and February. In December, "Caterers have higher costs and venues are more expensive," says Randi Freedman of Logistics Management in Miami.

What's the point of having a Holiday party if you're going to have it well past the Holiday season. Let's have the company St. Patty's day celebration in August!

Dressed-down décor. Fancy lights and extravagant flowers are being tossed out for more subdued statements. "People don't want to be seen as too opulent," says party expert and author David Tutera. "The big wow factor is gone."

Does anyone care about those bells and whistles anyway? Just provide me some pigs in a blanket and some egg nog. I don't want to take part of any team building.

•Utility utensils. In Los Angeles Best is replacing china and silver with disposable bamboo plates and cutlery. The charge for a plate is 20 cents vs. $1, and cutlery is 10 cents vs. 90 cents. "It's cheaper than china and still gives you a look," Best says.

I say fuck it, just order some pizza's while you're at it.

•Early curtain. Howard Givner, whose client roster at Paint the Town Red in New York included the former Lehman Bros. and AIG, says parties are being cut from "four to three hours to save a little and make the event more subdued."

He also says he's suggesting to clients a format with an hour town-hall meeting before a two-hour reception. "If it's simply drinking, eating and dancing, the event doesn't appear to have as much of a business purpose," he says. "We're encouraging people to build in more business elements."

Ha ha ha, yeah.. so you're going to make me work before I reap the rewards of said holiday festivities? Please, I'm trying to get wasted here. I'm not trying to conduct a brainstorm session.

Personally, I don't want my boss knowing what I do on my free time. I'm a firm believer that anything you say and do will be used against you in the HR department. Have one drink too many or make one snide remark, and considering it's me we're talking about, I'm bound to make a snide remark, or check out that one person in that tight dress or make one thinly vailed racist or dirty joke and it'll come back to haunt you for the next six months.

For the most part they feel like it's some sort of entrapment to begin with. Most Holiday parties are simply laboratories of human behavior. Your boss puts out free booze, gets a dj and tosses you on the dance floor with very little food and it's a crap shoot on what actually happens.

If the studio doesn't have a Christmas party this year then let me go on the record and say great. My chances of attending that party were already slim to none. To those of you who feel the company party is the highlight to their season, I feel sorry for you. I don't understand the appeal of it. These must be people with no social life. Why do you depend on the office party to get that inner party animal out of you?

This isn't a way to show appreciation to your employees. If companies wanted to show more appreciation to them they'd show it to them in the form of better pay. Not some booze and the option to crash their career. Christmas parties are there to make you forget that you're paid so little.

I don't want them to know my drinking habits or just about anything personal about me. Best way to keep your job is to be an enigma. Be like a light switch. Go into work and get your job done and then go home. I can't make it any simpler than that. Once you start bringing drama into work then it becomes a setting where you don't want to be apart to begin with.

When you do go to the party you typically hate half the people there and the other half you have unresolved sexual issues with leaving you two tequila shots and a dance floor away from doing something you'll regret for the rest of your life.

Not to mention that if they are cutting back on the amount they spend on the party, what kind of booze are they serving this year if they're cutting back? Vodka of the gods from trader joe's? Doesn't seem worth it if you ask me. Just buy yourself a bottle on the way home and celebrate with a couple of good friends who you do want to socialize with.

Being in an industry where I have to network around to land my next production gig, I still find it that I don't want to be in these company parties. But I have survived my share of them so here's some advice to you if you have to be at the company party to network and look for the next job. Don't drink. Go there do business and get out. Come in and make your grand entrance. Sweep the room and then get the fuck out as fast as you can so you don't screw it up. Always leave them wanting more.

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