Beware The Big 3 D’s - Drugs, Drinking And Decadence At Office Holiday Parties

By John Lavitt 12/24/15

Letting loose with friends instead of coworkers might be the safer bet during the holidays.  

Christmas Party

Office holiday parties often lead to next day regrets; some of the bigger ones resulting in end-of-the-year dismissals and even lawsuits. You need to avoid abusing the Big 3 D’s at your office holiday party: Drugs, Drinking and Decadence.

Before the global financial meltdown, corporate holiday parties verged on the bacchanalian. Infamously, the Australian company Macquarie splurged $500,000-plus on a Sydney holiday party, even as the markets crumbled around them. Such lavish revelries are long gone, but many office parties continue to dance with extremity.

Attending a recent holiday party held by a corporate giant, a female secretary recalls being cornered by a female executive:

“When I arrived the first thing she did was offer me a line of coke! It turns out that half the office was sending coded messages at work arranging to buy drugs. She told me that a ‘glass of bubbles’ equals cocaine, and that if someone ever mentioned that they’re looking for their missing ‘sports bag’ what they really wanted was some speed.”

The bad behavior extended right up the ranks as employees and employers became emboldened. Despite wearing wedding rings, male executives were hitting on young women as the drugs and booze took hold. The big boss bragged about his luxurious hotel suite while dropping hints that it was really close by.

After working long hours in close quarters all year long, a source in the entertainment industry explained that pent up sexual energy is released by the combination of drinking and drugs:

“Everyone at work joked that if the Christmas party didn’t turn into an orgy it was a bad year so people who had partners knew not to bring them. Even the boss, I’d never even seen her have a drink before and there she was taking tequila shots. She spun the bottle on the table and said, ‘Never have I ever kissed someone from work!’”

Lawyers are often faced with the fallout of such extravaganzas gone wrong. "Everything from removing plants from hallways… to people smashing cars coming out of the parking lot," said James A. Merklinger, vice president and general counsel for the Association of Corporate Counsel. "Guests don't always realize that other colleagues are there, unfortunately."

Inhibitions reduced by drugs and alcohol, such excesses tend to lead only to regrets or even disaster in the coming year. If you have to get wild, you can let loose with friends, but it’s best to be cautious when going to a holiday office party with co-workers and employers.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.