Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Why I Love My Job

Reason #74

Among the highlights of the holiday season- workwise- is the office party. I am treated to two such shindigs each year- one for my division, the other for the entire agency. Unfortunately, my inbox received discouraging news last week:

For some time I have been concerned about the consumption of alcohol at XXX holiday parties. In thinking about the risk to staff and the Bureau, I have been worried about: ever mounting public concerns regarding drinking and driving, the associated increase in legal penalties, and the introduction of zero tolerance DUI standards; the large number of our staff that commute via private automobile (from XXX, Metro Stops, or Commuter lots); and the difficulties that supervisors encounter in attempting to effectively monitor and control alcohol consumption at XXX parties

In view of these considerations and the potential risk to XXX staff and others, as well as the potential harm to XXX, I will no longer be granting exceptions to the ban on the consumption of alcohol on Federal premises for holiday parties.

XXX, Director

Either that, or last year a couple of employees got more than a wee bit drunk. If you ask whether my officemate was one of the drunkies, I'll act like I didn't understand the question.

Yesterday afternoon, the bill came due. The division holiday party. Christ! Alcohol shouldn't just be available at holiday parties- it should be required. The food was good- until the head of the food committee (yes, seriously, that is what he calls himself) started talking (nay, going on) about the spreadsheet he used to plan the buffet.

The occasional conversation (usually a two or three person chat among actual friends) took off. Most crashed and burned- three sentences were bounced around before silence and stares returned:

Economist #1: Did you make the pretzels this year?
Economist #2: No.
Economist #3: Oh, those were really good. (return to silence)

or

Manager #1: Do you know who made the cake?
Economist #4: I'm not sure, but it looks good.
Manager #1: Sure does. (ditto)

In fairness there was one ongoing discussion about TurDucKens. The chatter more closely resembled a spoken Round than actual conversation- new people kept entering and recycling the same lines. Among the most commonly repeated lines were "doesn't that sound good" and "I've never had duck"- those two sentences were often uttered by the same people.

None of that, however, is as bad as my boss talking to me about the schedule for the rest of the week. Whoa, party foul! Here's a guy who can approach normal, but he needs a little help. But upper management is denying him the tools he needs to succeed.

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