Most of us in the American workforce have been invited to attend some sort of a holiday office party this Christmas season. This might be your first party at a brand new job or something that you’ve experienced for many years in a row. Some companies pull out the red carpet and require formal dress attire with a night of fancy hors d’oeuvres. Smaller businesses with fewer employees might throw together a more casual gathering at the boss’ house.


For some, this is a loose party invitation. Your coworkers might want your white elephant gift at the party or your wife’s famous chocolate fudge, but there is little care as to whether or not you actually show up. For others, the invitation might as well be referred to as a court summons because you either plan to attend or plan to pack your things come Monday morning.


Regardless of where your office environment tends to fall on this spectrum of party plans, there is a lot that can be said of your job satisfaction as you prepare for this annual event. You may see some coworkers who look miserable in their jobs every single day, so you expect nothing less than the same attitude when it’s party time. They will be sitting in some corner playing Eeyore just like they do on a typical Tuesday afternoon. And on the opposite end of that is the overzealous brown-noser of a coworker who will be acting as though this party is the greatest night of their life and that your boss is a superhero, just as they carry on every other day at work.


However, those extremes are not usually the true indication of job satisfaction as it affects the normal group of office party attenders. If you are truly satisfied with your work, then you will typically fall into one of these three categories when party time arrives.


The Genuine Party Lover…  I love my job and enjoy my coworkers, so I truly look forward to letting down my hair and celebrating the holidays with them. We work together to compile a list of our favorite finger foods and Christmas songs, making sure that the night goes off without a hitch. I enjoy shopping for gifts for these people because, in reality, they are my family for a large portion of the week.


The Just Suck it Up and Goer…  I love my job because of the work that I get to do. That is why this party is important to me. I tolerate my coworkers because they are talented, but we don’t have very much in common when it comes to relationships outside of the office. I will attend our big office party because it is expected of me and because the bonus checks are passed out, but I will not necessarily look forward to chit-chatting with my cubicle neighbor.


The Annual Skipper… I love my job because I can work hard and then play hard. I never make it to the Christmas party because I am always on vacation at this time of year. I work hard and rarely miss a day of work, so I think that I deserve to utilize my vacation days whenever is best for my family, which usually means on Christmas break. Therefore, I miss the party because I’m committed to my work.


If you hate your Christmas party and everything about your job in general, then it might be time to step out into some new territory in 2018. Life is too short to spend it in career misery.