Holiday Office Party Tip: Don't Have Fun!

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 22: Art Altenburg, Santa #1 celebrates at Art's Concertina bar annual Christmas party on December 22, 2005 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Art Altenburg owner and proprietor of the only Concertina Bar in America throws an annual party for christmas, free of charge for any and all who show up. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
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Blogophile is written by's Melissa P. McNamara

'Tis the season for the company holiday party, but many bloggers advise you not to have too much fun. When the New York City Department of Health voted unanimously to ban large amounts of trans fats from Big Apple restaurants, the decision drew sneers online. Find out why. Plus, bloggers have little sympathy for the new work hours facing some members of Congress.

Ho, Ho, Ho? Nah.

'Tis the season for the company holiday party and it turns out, many companies are having them this year. After years of corporate cutbacks, the holiday party has returned for many workers eager to celebrate. And for those a little too eager to celebrate, the blogosphere is full of advice and words of wisdom on how to behave so you can show your face at work the next day.

As Inc. reported, of more than 100 businesses surveyed nationwide, 94 percent said they were planning some kind of holiday bash, up 7 percent from 2005.

But for some, that means many more opportunities to make some kind of holiday blunder this year. To avoid being one of those people, Minneapolis blogs that some keys to surviving a company holiday party are "Don't start drinking until all of the work is done" and "Be at work early, the next day."

For many, the prospect of mingling and making small talk with coworkers is among the most feared aspects of a holiday bash. "If the thought of party small talk makes you sweat, don't panic. People who blather on are usually the ones who embarrass themselves — not the quiet type. Simply think before you speak," Joyous at Kitsch recommends.

And, of course, holiday parties are a feast for the litigious. Some blogging lawyers weigh in with their holiday party advice. "Designate some members of management to stay sober and keep an eye out for inappropriate behavior and/or employees that should not be driving themselves home ..." Chris McKinney recommends at The HR Lawyer's Blog.

Many bloggers write in to remind partygoers that they are still going to a work party, not a friend's holiday affair. "It may be tempting to pull out your holiday finest, but don't wear anything that would tarnish your image as a professional. For women, anything too short, tight or revealing is a no-go," a blogger at The After Work Chronicles writes.

A blogger at Divine Angst recommends you "leave while you're still having fun." "If you follow this rule, you never wake up the next morning regretting having gone out the night before," he adds. Along those lines, HogWild says, "DO have fun. DON'T really have fun. UNLESS you are already planning to change careers."

Above all, beware of those coworkers with secret blogs. You might be part of their post the next day.

Goodbye Trans Fat, Hello Big Brother?

When the New York City Department of Health voted unanimously to ban large amounts of trans fats from Big Apple restaurants, the decision drew cheers from the health-conscious and sneers from libertarians.

What else will be banned, some bloggers asked. "If you're in The Big Apple and you enjoy eating, stop reading this and run to the nearest deli for one of New York City's famous Black and White cookies or perhaps a bagel with a shmear. If you're not quick, you may miss out on your last chance to enjoy those — and many other — New York delicacies in an unadulterated form," writes.

Many bloggers say the ban is an example of Big Brother coming to a restaurant near you. "Regardless of your view on trans-fats, the idea that a city council takes it upon itself to ban a non-toxic food ingredient, with no solid science behind them and no consideration of the potential risks to the tens of thousands of businesses (in just one city) they are affecting is truly appalling," Ross Kaminsky blogs at Real Clear Politics.

And where do you draw the line? "... Ask yourself why trans fats should be banned in restaurants but not barbecue pork ribs? Why ban trans fats in restaurants but not butter-drenched baked treats?" Parke Wilde blogs at U.S. Food Policy.

Some bloggers outside New York fear their city is next. Trans-fat fever hit Chicago where one restaurant took on the cause on their own. "The 'home of the butterburger' is getting rid of trans fats. What, are they just going to cook everything in butter, now?" the Chicagoist writes.

Others see sinister motives as the impetus for the ban. "I can't prove it, but my intuition is that all the strength on the 'health' side of this war comes not from people who really care whether other people are healthy, but from people who don't like having to see fat people," Ann Althouse blogs. "They are concerned about their own aesthetic pleasures, and they think fat is ugly."

Still, others question whether banning trans fat will make any difference. "Food companies can now pander to the uninformed. Already there are 'trans fat free' food labels on your store shelves ... even when food companies still have their foods loaded with TONS of other forms of fats and calories. Another fad is born," Dr. Wes blogs.

Working Hard Or Hardly Working?

If you feel overworked after a long week, perhaps you can take solace in knowing that your elected representatives are joining you in working five days a week. (No, they never did before.)

Starting in January, when Congress returns from recess, members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday. And that's not all the hardship facing our elected officials. Tossed into history's trash bin will be their extended vacations, like the six days they had around Memorial Day.

The new Democratic leaders of the House and Senate announced an ambitious agenda to counter critics of a "do-nothing Congress" and emphasize the need for legislative triumphs they can brag about on the 2008 campaign trail. But it was really their work day that had bloggers buzzing this week, making this story one of the most popular topics online.

"That certainly seems like 4.5 days to me. Much less than the average worker in America. And that's not to mention the extended vacations they get, and the perks," Justin Gardner blogs at Donklephant. "I know I have a blue-collar sensibilities, but I really feel not an ounce of sympathy for these people having to actually show up and work," a blogger at Medley adds.

Republican Rep. Jack Kingston's point in a Washington Post article about the extended work week, in which he said the new schedule cut down on his family time, did not meet many sympathetic ears. "I understand that it really does mean time away from families. And I know that that's not fun. But it's called work, and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it," Ben Cauble blogs at Anti-Pedanti. "Come to think of it, everyone wants to be a congressman."

Big Dog agrees. "Mr. Kingston, quit your whining and act like a man. Our military members have been away from their families for months on end and they do not whine like you. Additionally sir, they do not get paid the huge sum of money you do for the little work you produce," Big Dog blogs.

Other bloggers also compared the House's work week to the time service members spend away from their families. "Suffice it to say that most people, not least our troops, but also plenty of people holding down multiple minimum-wage jobs, don't have the option of working 2-day weeks in order to spend time with their families," Mike B writes at Useless! Worthless! Insipid!

Many saw the change as a sign that the Republicans in power had been lazy. "Instead of laying on a beach somewhere off to the south, Republicans will have to endure the Democrats legislative agenda," Josh Ing blogs at Joshing Politics.

But some say it's more important for members of Congress to spend their time outside the Beltway. "There is no reason whatsoever for members of the House to be in DC five days a week. It's no secret that the more time politicians spend in DC, the more detached they become from the people they represent," Jay C. writes at Toys in the Attic.

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By Melissa McNamara