Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas hells

Dear Jilly

My workplace is a very conservative one. It is in the legal/financial sector and everyone wears suits all the time. We do not have dress-down Fridays because our client base would not take kindly to it, and we have a company-wide dress code stipulating that women are not to wear long earrings or studs larger than a shirt button. Next weekend my company is having its annual Christmas party. Usually this is a smart affair in a nice restaurant we have booked out for the occasion, and we often have entertainment of some sort. To give you some idea, last year it was a magician, the year before it was a group of actors who got us to play charades.

However, business has not been very good this year and so the budget for the party has been cut. We will instead be having a meal in our in-house canteen after work on a Friday, although it will be catered and drinks provided. This has not stopped some people from feeling rather cheated and this is where my real problem lies. Senior management have asked if I will belly dance at some point between the main course and dessert. (Rather foolishly, I included my hobby on my resume when I applied for my current role. I thought it may give me some ‘edge’ over other candidates, because in my line of work I was sure it would make me memorable when it came to short-listing applicants.) I have declined, on the grounds that I don’t want to mix my hobby with my work, but my line manager has assumed that it is because I was not offered payment. In fact, I am concerned that my very straight-laced colleagues will make me the subject of spiteful, unfounded gossip.
My line manager has all but accused me of being selfish and greedy for depriving my colleagues of a bit of Christmas cheer. I did try suggesting alternatives – Andrew from sales is always looking to demonstrate his hand trumpeting skills, for example, and Danusha is a champion juggler – but this has fallen on deaf ears. Should I reconsider for the sake of my career? I do not want to be seen as someone who is not a team player.

The Pinstriped Pirouetter


Dear Pinstriped

You haven't got where you are today by being as dumb as a barnacle, have you? And I'm willing to bet that you've got gut instincts a ship's rat would envy. After asking around, it seems that refusing to dance for free at a work do is not a sackable offence. If your first thought was to leave your Bella at home then trust that feeling! Obviously, I've never been to an office party, but if what I understand from popular culture is true then at some point in the evening one of your workmates will dance for free anyway.

Hope that helps!

Jilly x


  1. Your instinct to refuse was a wise one.There is really no benefit to you or bellydancing if you perform at the Christmas party. I'd get the juggler to perform.

  2. I was a bit disappointed that Jilly didn't recommend the hand trumpter. Who doesn't want to hear the Chariots of Fire theme sounding a bit like farts?