It’s that time of year again when office Christmas parties descend upon the nation. Companies are expected to lay on a do for their employees, to thank them for another year of hard work done.
Working for a large corporate organisation, I recently attended the office Christmas party in Covent Garden, Central London. As I have gotten older and working for a corporation, I have found my tolerance to attending the festivities where alcohol is present has increased. On this occasion, I did not question whether or not I should attend, but accepted it as a form of participating in office activities.
Being raised as a Muslim, I know where the fundamental boundaries I must not cross lie. To many of my Caucasian colleagues, it comes as a surprise that I have never touched a drop of alcohol and would never consider doing so. But to me, it is astounding to watch professional business people becoming undone in front of their co-workers, acting in a manner which they later regret. Or even worse, cannot remember.
Standing back as a sober person, I watched the havoc unfold at the open bar where the company was picking up the tab. I was trying to understand why people need a liquor to open up and ‘enjoy’ themselves. And then I realised it is part of their culture and how they have been raised. However, attending parties with alcohol present and being around drunk people is not how I have been raised.
It is concerning to acknowledge that many more young Muslims are now drinking alcohol and partying until the early hours. There are influences all around, including the good strength and stability of the home environment, the expectation of the workplace and the people we are associated with. However, it all comes down to an individual’s inner character, once the consequence of choices has been weighed up.
The choice of attending office parties is amongst the common expectations of living in a Western society that is it not second guessed by many of us British Pakistanis.
What do you think?