Promotion, purgatory and the office party

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Sir, I see that office parties are meant to be some sort of reward for hard work (Report, December 13). My long experience of them (and they do seem to be a rather British phenomenon, Chinese new year celebrations excepted) convinced me that they were a thinly disguised form of performance appraisal.

The large majority of attendees saw them as a sort of purgatory: with luck the torment would not last too long and things would improve once it was over.

Members of this group might be promoted if the right opportunity came along but, in general, their reluctant and glum demeanour marked them out as being unlikely to want to sacrifice their own sanity for their employer’s benefit.

A rather smaller group would become so drunk and ill-behaved that they wrote themselves out of a career, there and then.

The smallest group achieved that elusive Goldilocks personality blend: outgoing enough to enjoy the inanities without any obvious sense of irony, but savvy enough to make sure the right people saw just how fit they would be for promotion.

David Boorer

Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, UK

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