By Alex Rogers |

© Tim Pannell/Corbis

Sure, we’d all like to believe we lived in Scranton, PA, where our co-workers are closer than the family and friends who only appear as guest stars once or twice per season. But in the real world most of us don’t want to “hang out” with the people whose permission we need to use the scanner and who are definitely stealing all our gel pens. Despite this, whenever the holidays roll around or management feels its time to be magnanimous without being “raise your standard of living” magnanimous, we dutifully herd together for cheap booze and, I don’t know, bowling? Hell, they’re basically all just terrible birthday parties! But for the next two hours we have to party like it’s our job… because it kind of is. Here are a few common, real-world doozies to avoid if you plan on leaving with your professional rep intact.

1. Keep forgetting that one guy from HR’s name even though he’s told it to you like three times. It’s Daryl… or something like that.

2. Start any sentence with, “You know, if we worked at Google we’d get…”

3. If a co-worker shows you photos of his wife and children, ask if he can e-mail you hi-res copies.

4. Invite the representatives of the Henderson account to the party. Lose the Henderson account.

5. Start a vicious and terrible rumor at the party about yourself and your habit of murdering people who try to engage you in small talk about the weather or vacation plans.

6. Tell that amusing ethnic joke. It’s totally okay to tell because your mom is half-Jewish.

7.  Express your disappoint that the company didn’t shell out for a ball pit, like they also didn’t last year, and the year before that – even though the party would be a thousand times better with a ball pit. They’re not expensive.

8.  Leave a conversation by saying, “It’s been great networking with you!”

9. Before leaving, cut the music and scream as loudly as possible to everyone in the room, “I’m heading out!” 

10. Hook up with that guy from HR whose name you never remember. Darren? Dwayne?

11. If the event is bowling the party is already ruined, no matter what you do.

12. Bash your company office party on Yelp with a bad review.

13. Instead of engaging your boss with small talk or a polite thank you, get on your knees and beg him for your job back. Also, how did you get past security?

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