Tonight is our work Christmas party. For weeks I have been driving the editor of Crikey crazy, asking him what I should expect -- apart from the rumored flash mob to Gangnam Style of course. This will be my first Private Media Christmas and in my experience every company handles this team-building event differently.
In the early days of my magazine career (early nineties) I was one of the many happy campers at Australian Consolidated Press who received an extraordinarily generous hamper each year from our then proprietor Kerry Packer. That hamper fed my extended family for Christmas. It quite literally contained everything we needed, food and drinks. The company Christmas party, though, was where you were reminded of your place in the hierarchy. For many years, at least, ACP had a VIP area at their Christmas party where the executives could go to escape the throng.
At the turn of the century, I celebrated Christmas as an employee of Pacific Magazines. The company put on an extravagant Christmas party for the entire company at an impressive venue. I recall always being impressed by the way the room was dressed for the occasion. There was no limit to the alcohol and also no thought about the impact of the evening's events on team dynamics the morning after. The Christmas party shouldn't be the place where you learn far too much personal information about your manager. There were lots of awkward moments in many teams for the weeks that followed.
My favourite work Christmas parties were the ones I celebrated as Publishing Director of EMAP until the company was sold to ACP in 2007. I'll admit that I was initially shocked by the lack of extravagance with regard to the venue. Christmas parties were held in some local bar with the barest of decor. Party food often consisted of not a lot more than chips and dips and there were never enough canapés to go round. But the lack of trimmings was compensated for by fun. From the Managing Director through to the most junior member of the team, everyone felt like a member of a big happy family. I will never forget the memory of my MD and a couple of editors with their arms around each other singing along to some tune in the middle of the room.
If someone was standing on the sidelines looking on, they would be dragged onto the dance floor and into the festivities. The EMAP crew certainly knew how to party. Far too much alcohol was consumed alongside far too little food, and a number of staff members slept in the office after the event rather than attempt to struggle home intoxicated.
I was shown a video from last year's Private Media Christmas party. Lots of twenty-something team members dancing freely and wildly. Apparently there will be a quiz and presents. I've been told the parties are always inclusive and usually entertaining. It augurs well for this evening's events.
Do you have a favourite memory of a work Christmas party?
Marina Go is GM of Hearst-Bauer, publisher of Harper's Bazaar, ELLE and Cosmopolitan. She is also chair of the Wests Tigers, a director of Odyssey House McGrath Foundation and a member of the advisory boards of the Walkley Foundation, The Remarkables Group and Women's Agenda. She has an MBA from The AGSM and is a member of the AICD. Her new book is Break Through: 20 Success Strategies for Female Leaders.