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Monday, December 05, 2005
Xmas party preview 2005

Well, it's that time of the year again, and the company party is set for next week. Last year, I was dreading it because I just didn't feel like taking my scarce free time to spend with a lot of people that I didn't know. Regular readers of this epic tome know that the resulting mayhem will be spoken about deep into the future. It was truly a spectacular fiasco.

The event will be held at the same venue as last year, and the menu once again promises to be fantastic. We will be seated again at eight-person tables. Of the eight people I sat with last year, I am the only one left who hasn't been fired, or left on my own. My department was gutted last spring, and most of the faces are new. The new bunch is populated with nice people, but I don't have the kind of history with them that I did with the old gang. And it's not as if I'm out there trying to make friends, it just isn't me.

When I started working for this company in 2001, it was an independent operation. We were set up on our own floor of a skyscraper, and we were basically running around unsupervised, and having a ball. There were only about ten employees in the company, and we were all grossly underpaid, without health insurance, and battling other companies with huge budgets that were trying to crush us. It made us into a tight group, and in spite of the obstacles, we were very successful.

The people I worked with at that point were very talented, and very odd for the most part.
We didn't have any need to engage in office politics, so we worked, bounced off of one another, and trudged on against a world trying to kill us. We rarely hung out as a group, although there were occasional times where most of us might be in the same place at the same time. We enjoyed one another's company, but there was never any forced camaraderie. It was very much like a family, and we argued, fought and laughed together, but it was always a united group.

In 2003, we were bought by one of our competitors, and most of us went to work for the new company with over 100 people in a new building. Some of our friends, mainly the office staff and sales people were not kept on. That is always a hard thing, and it happens. You try to stay in touch, but you don't, because even though you like one another, the main thing you have in common is work. The rest of us stayed, because after all, we were very successful, and that's why they spent millions of dollars to buy us.

But this past March, the rest of them got fired, and an entirely new group was put together. It is, predictably, not the same. Previously, even after I was done with my work, I would often just hang out, often times when I actually had other things to do. It was a lot of fun, more like a clubhouse full of idiots than a workplace. Nowadays, I finish up my work, and I get the hell out of there. Again, it isn't that I don't like the new people, but I just have no desire to spend my free time with them. And now it's time for the party.

Now what's funny is, the old group was exceptionally creative, but was for the most part very introverted. The new gang is more extroverted, and to my mind, more needy, in a "look-at-me" kind of way. I expect a lot of showing off and forced wit at the party this time around, and I hate that. Now, considering what a debacle last year was, you might say, "Wait. Last time, there was thrown food, screaming, mousse-painting and loud drunkenness." All of that is true. The thing you must bear in mind though is that all of that came as a result of sheer recklessness, and the rest of the party be damned. It was an drunken get-together of eight, which unfortunately was surrounded and witnessed by an office party of over one hundred. Maybe it's a subtlety that I can't adequately explain, but I know it's going to be vastly different this time, and it's going to be boring.

I doubt I'll bother writing about it.

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posted at 6:39 PM

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