Bob Goldman

Be honest now -- what's your favorite part of the annual holiday office party? Is it the magical moment when the entire marketing department strips to their skivvies and does high kicks in the style of the Rockettes? Or is it when the clock strikes midnight and a deluge of dollar bills descend from the ceiling, leaving the merry attendees to fight and claw for their bonuses? Do you go for the appetizers -- the passed platters of artisan Ritz Crackers, tastefully topped with goat cheese Velveeta? Or do you bug out at the buffet with its golden bowl of tuna-noodle casserole, where you can fill your plate again and again, at least, until the IT department starts using it for a footbath?

Yes, there are many wonderful aspects to your company's annual holiday party. (We haven't even mentioned the opportunity to experience the alcoholic antics of managers who think nothing of toasting you tonight and firing you tomorrow.)

Considering all the highly enjoyable aspects of this annual agony-fest, it's easy to understand why you see little likelihood of surviving the event without a few cocktails before, during and after. Unfortunately, being drunk at a company party can have results even more dire than the very real possibility you'll end up cuddling in the coat closet with the CFO. I suppose that's why Susan M. Heathfield, a human resources columnist on, has devoted an entire posting to the question -- to drink or not to drink.

If you do decide to drink, you will not be drinking alone. According to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management -- SHRM to its friends - 70 percent of 502 HR professionals surveyed say that drinking is acceptable at a holiday party.

But how do you know if your company is drink-friendly?

A good solution to this problem is to break out a bottle of Jagermeister at the next staff meeting. Take a slug yourself, and then offer the bottle around. If no one joins you, chances are that you are working for one of the 30 percent of companies that do not approve of drinking.

HR expert Heathfield also suggests that you take a cue "from your knowledge of yourself and the affect of alcohol on your actions." You could accomplish this feat of self-analysis by asking your BFFs at the Kit Kat Klub, but who trusts the opinion of a bunch of drunks? I say: Have a little confidence in yourself. You know that after a couple of drinks you are one of the most charming, funny and insightful human beings on earth. And after five or six cocktails, you are completely irresistible, especially when Nelson, the giant panda bear who sits next to you at the bar, decides to become visible.

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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