Not looking to be the next EY, BDO U.K. is taking steps this year to ensure female staff can enjoy themselves at firm holiday parties without worrying about getting groped by randy colleagues. How? By suggesting a pair of squares stay sober to monitor the festivities.
In an internal memo obtained by The Financial Times, it was suggested to BDO department heads that they assign two grown-ass people the job of staying sober and babysitting their grown-ass colleagues in order to “be responsible in an emergency situation” and “ensure everybody can get home safely.” An insider told FT “the measure was designed to provide a ‘protective’ role for staff at parties, but that it would also have a ‘deterrent’ effect as it could prevent people from engaging in bad behaviour.”
“I know these precautionary measures might sound slightly excessive to some, but I think they are sensible for the wellbeing of our people,” read the memo from BDO COO Andy Butterworth.
I dunno about y’all but I didn’t go to my high school prom. I did, however, attend a handful of (regrettable) school dances and I don’t recall a single instance where the threat of chaperones made our demented little hormone-soaked brains go, “Wow! I better be on my best behavior!” If anything, it only made us that much more determined to get away with shit we otherwise might not have tried had we not been presented with the challenge of getting away with shit under the watchful eye of someone’s mom. Y’all know what I’m talking about. The fact that BDO thinks this will deter anything tells me everything I need to know about the formative years of whoever came up with that idea (read: they were dorks).
But hey, we’re talking about grown professionals here, not high schoolers. Right? Maybe not.
The issue is so pervasive the FT piece goes on to mention how KPMG is pushing for dry Christmas lunches rather than the boozy holiday parties of yore, and PwC is encouraging its people to have a “meal or a lunchtime event rather than a drinks party.” Ironically, a “junior staff member” at PwC told FT that after the firm cut the meal from their holiday party in order to save a few bucks last year it had to be reinstated because people got too drunk from not having grub to soak up all the liquor. Delicious.
So yeah. Y’all can’t behave, basically. Which is funny, because it feels like just a few years ago I was writing long advice pieces on how not to make an ass of yourself at the firm holiday party and now here we are talking about chaperones and dry lunches. My how the drunken have fallen.