It's that time of year again. While your non-freelance colleagues are cracking open the champagne and closing the studio early for an epic Christmas party, you're stuck at home watching the fun unfold on Twitter.
The festive period can be a lonely old time for freelancers. Secret Santa isn't the same when it's just you, and even Bob Dylan's Christmas album gets tedious – fast – when you're on your lonesome.
But don't feel sad. Are work Christmas parties really that good? If you're feeling the self-employed blues, let us remind you of a few reasons why work parties really aren't all that…
01. The free booze
Free booze sounds good, sure. But face it: your tolerance isn't what it was. Telling your boss what you really think, twerking on the dance floor or head-butting the receptionist while slurring a story isn't considered appropriate behaviour. The flashbacks will haunt you for months, and you can kiss goodbye to that Christmas bonus.
02. The honest drunk
If it isn't you, it'll be them. Christmas parties are a recipe for over-sharing. Even if you're on your best behaviour, beware the sloshed colleague who's one fatal white wine away from letting rip on your latest project. The worst part about these exchanges is once the perpetrator has you in their clutches, they'll never let you go.
03. The dancefloor
Breakdancing. Air guitar. The worm. We've already covered twerking. Fuelled by a heady mix of boredom and booze, even the unlikeliest of candidates can transform into a beast on the dance floor. Except your moves don't look like they do in your head, and might even damage others – not to mention your pride (more on that next).
04. Mobile phones
Yep, there's always someone on hand to capture your descent into oblivion, recording it for posterity. Watch in horror the next day as that video of you trying to light the wrong end of a cigarette (you don't even smoke) circulates around internal email, before taking its rightful place on Facebook.
05. The mistletoe bearer
You can guarantee that if there's mistletoe in sight, someone will become that person. But whether they're going in for an awkward peck or facilitating a full on swapping of saliva, the outcome always ranks highly in the cringe stakes. Remember: some things you can't un-see.
06. £70 taxis
It's easy to miss the last train home – and don't those taxi drivers know it. Assuming you remember where you live (and succeed in projecting the image of someone unlikely to vomit during transit) you'll likely be slapped with a hefty taxi bill at the end of the night.
Christmas parties aren't all they're cracked up to be. But if all this hasn't convinced you that you're not missing out as a freelancer over the festive season, then remember this: unlike your hungover PAYE compatriots, you don't have to go to work the next day if you don't want to.
Happy Christmas to all freelancers!
For a host of expert freelance advice and insight – whether you're just starting out or a seasoned professional – don't miss Computer Arts issue 249, a freelance special issue, on sale 8 January 2016.
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