Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
So the holiday season is upon us once again. I don’t consider myself a Scrooge. I don’t kick carolers or insist co-workers come in on their days off. Heck, I don’t even complain when they want to decorate the office. I have even been known to make a homemade ornament or two. Still, I dread this time of year for one reason � the office holiday party. The reason for my loathing of the party is twofold. The first is my face and its inability to hide any thought I am having. I recently realized that my Big Boss can read my apparently readable face. I don’t need to be (unknowingly) looking longingly at 57 Hottie across the party just so Big Boss can come over and say, “So that’s who that is.” My other reason for not liking holiday parties is that since I was knee high to a grasshopper, people who don’t know me have been saying nearly the same thing to me: “You know, when I first met you, I didn’t like you.” For instance, a couple of weeks ago I was out for happy hour with some co-workers from the new firm. After a pint or two, one co-worker � who I had only seen a handful of times and maybe spoke 10 words to in the seven months I have been here � confided in me that before that night, he thought I was stuck-up. Now, I have always struggled with being taken seriously. It is one of the reasons I color my hair darker (the other is that I think it makes my skin look brighter). I do try to maintain a certain level of professionalism when I am at the office. Plus, I am a guarded individual; no, maybe more of a quiet observer. It takes me a while to warm up. I am not what one would call a natural social butterfly. So I completely understand where people are coming from when they tell me they used to think I was a snob (not the word they use, but I’m a lady). At the same time, it is a backhanded compliment, and after the 14th time you hear it in one night, even the most even-tempered person (which I am not) wants to scratch someone’s eyes out. And this becomes a Catch-22, because the more I think about it, the more I don’t want to meet new people; and the more I shy away from meeting others, the more I look like a snob. Of course, giving me a few glasses of wine could alleviate all of this. I never care about what others think of me then. But this is exactly why I have a rule about drinking at work parties. I really don’t need to come in the next day to the sound of folks whispering about what a great dancer I am or how easily I was able to jump up on that bar, and that they really don’t understand why security was so uptight and insisted I put my dress back on. It’s a matter of semantics really. What I call “Fun-Sarah” others might call “Drunk-Sarah.” A side note here, if you will indulge me. I know conventional wisdom states that holiday parties are always easier and funnier if you are enjoying them with a bit of a buzz. Most of me wants to agree with this. However, I will offer that sometimes, standing back and judging everyone, shaking your head and feigning shock is a good time too. Plus, you don’t bolt up out of bed the next morning with dread and regret and horror about all that you did and all that you don’t remember doing. Now, I suppose I could just not go to the holiday extravaganza, but in the same way that my dieting mother always makes me order dessert, I would never want anyone to know that the very idea of the firm’s holiday party makes me wet under my arms. So I talk a big game about how I can’t wait to cut loose. In other words, unless I come down with some horrible illness, there is no way I can not go. This is why I have decided that this is the year I get over my fear of networking events. Sure, a holiday party isn’t exactly for networking, per se, but I think it is a good, solid baby step. I also think this is the perfect year to overcome this fear � 2007 really has been my year (as promised in my first column this year). I quit smoking (I haven’t had a cigarette since Jan. 1), I found an awesome job and I ran a marathon. If anyone can get over the fear of meeting new people, it is Sarah v.07. Plus, I haven’t been at this new firm for a whole year. I still have a lot of new people to meet, and with the exception of my Big Boss, most might just chalk up my odd faces to a very sensitive olfactory gland. And I know my friends outside the office would like me to get to know some of the lawyers here a little better. When I first started, they sent me a barrage of e-mails with bios of my co-workers that they thought were hot. I guess if I would look past the fact that they are lawyers and that we work together, I might realize that some of the guys around here are good-looking. Also, in my years I have come across a few lawyers who are cool, some of whom I even downright like. The law of averages dictates that at a firm the size of my new firm, there have to be a couple more wandering these halls. Now, while I hope I am able to overcome my own awkwardness and insecurity and actually mix and mingle with my new co-workers, my bigger hope is that 57 Hottie and A-hole will be hanging out together, so that there is only one section of the room I have to avoid all night. Other than that, I don’t have much of a game plan. I have been doing a lot of Web site biography updates, so part of me thinks maybe I should use that to my advantage. I could just approach unsuspecting lawyers and talk to them about things I read (or wrote) in their bios. If nothing else, it breaks the ice, right? It also may make me look like a stalker, but a girl has got to start somewhere. There are also a couple of people from the office that I see in the hall or the elevator or the lunchroom often enough that I think it is high time for us to know each other. In fact, I have even started saying “hi” to a couple of these individuals in preparation for this event. Of course, if my courage fails me, I can always insist that my co-workers introduce me around. Or I can just sit back, quietly observe and wait for everyone else to loosen up, and then strike � emboldened by the fact that if I do behave like a total freak they may be too drunk to remember. Happy holidays! Or, for those of you who don’t celebrate anything, enjoy all the extra days off. Sarah E. Klem graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. Klem has written articles for neighborhood newspapers and contributed content to a paralegal blog. She is a paralegal and legal assistant for a law firm in Center City. She lives in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia with two roommates and a dog. Her blog, called The Devil Wears Brooks Brothers, is online at http://devilwearsbrooksbrothers.wordpress.com.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.