I’m sure many freelancers would agree that NOT having to attend a mandatory office Christmas party is one of the GOOD things about working for yourself….
So, when a couple of weeks ago, David asked me if I wanted to have an office Christmas party, I looked at him as if he had grown two heads. He explained that Crissey Farm (http://crisseyfarm.com/), a neighborhood banquet hall where we have hosted and attended some music events, was putting on an “office Christmas party” for small businesses in our community, and that since the two of us are a “business,” our “office” could attend. The idea being that an office of four or five or six (or, in our case two) people might not be able to put on a big holiday shindig, but various small offices could band together to be part of a larger event. With 150 or so people, you can put on a real dinner party, complete with a DJ and dancing, and you can have it in a nice space, too. (Crissey Farm is a spanking new green building, with a warmer, more personal feel than your basic hotel banquet hall; it’s ideal for events up to about 200 people).
It’s a great idea, really: I remember that when I worked in “real jobs” in “real companies,” the office party was seldom my idea of a good time. I mostly found that in a business setting, as in life, there are people you gravitate to as friends and people you don’t, and the latter outnumber the former. Enforced jollity with people you have mostly chosen not to socialize with can be awkward, especially when coupled with office hierarchy.
But at this party, you could network, chat, and socialize all around the community; you could roam around, outside the confines of your own little group. We were seated at the table of a publisher of a local ad magazine, who made us feel very welcome. Our dinner companions included a fellow writer and a fellow musician; it was all very congenial, and who knows, maybe we’ll get the musician over to our place to jam sometime.
It turned out that David and I knew a handful of people from various different offices: Some were students, or friends of students, or parents of students, or fellow musicians. Next year, we plan to try to put a table together, and make sure that other self-employed creatives we know in our community — fellow teachers and musicians, the owners of the local music store, piano tuners, and such — know about the event and can come and join us.
So I’m looking forward to an office Christmas party, a year in advance. Who’d have thought THAT was was possible?