Bob Goldman

Talk about weird! The CEO of Lululemon, the trendy manufacturer of trendy athletic gear, has resigned over a few innocent remarks. What did ex-CEO Chip Wilson say that was so terrible? He said: "some women's bodies just actually don't work." Heck, for years now, our supervisors have been saying our bodies don't work, and nobody has had to resign.

As it turns out, Wilson's remarks were interpreted as blaming the customers for certain production blunders that turned Lululemon's products into real lemons, like the see-through-surprise yoga pants that caused such a stir in my gym. And here I thought I was attracting attention because of my masterful downward dog.

Fortunately, business etiquette expert Diane Gottsman brought sweet reason to the season with an article in The Huffington Post titled, "Business Etiquette: Surviving the Holiday Office Party."

During our recent run of hard times, holiday parties disappeared, like raises and job security. But now that happy days are here again, at least in the paychecks of our managers, the powers that be will once more be providing crumbs of stale fruitcake and paper cups of watery wassail before jetting off to talcum-powder beaches where they can frolic in the sun. (Note to ex-CEO Scott: If your holiday plans include a stay in the Cayman Islands, please bring a volleyball.)

Will you have a holiday party to survive? I hope so, because I will cheerfully gift you a few of Gottsman's tips, which are guaranteed to "keep your glowing reputation intact."

"Prepare in advance" is definitely good advice, especially when you can "plan a few conversation topics that are lighthearted and engaging, such as asking a client about his or her favorite holiday tradition or where they plan to spend the holiday this year." I also advise preparing some lighthearted and engaging remarks you might make in response, such as: "It's nice you can afford to travel over the holidays. We're spending the holiday at a Salvation Army shelter. And exchanging gifts is a lovely tradition. If I were better paid, I could give my children presents, too, though they do love the government cheese I stuff into their stockings."


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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