As some 43 million freelancers can attest, there are lots of advantages to living cubicle-free in the United States. A terrible client is only your boss for so long. Need a beer to get through a mind-numbing memo? No problem! Turning a bar into your office is way better than unlimited access to a copy machine.
It feels more and more that 9-to-5 culture is as obsolete as a 28.8K modem, but it would be a shame if the venerable American tradition of the holiday office party died along with it.
For the past three years, Brokelyn, the website I edit, has been the co-host, along with two other websites, Greenpointers and the skint, of a No Office Holiday Party, which was created to challenge the notion that debauched seasonal revelry is just for the besuited. After all, don’t people who toil in co-working spaces and coffee shops and apartments also deserve to bask in the pleasures of karaoke, vodka luges and electric sexual tension with people who have similar lives? Shouldn't freelancers be able to celebrate their ability to chase down work like wolves without the peace of mind of an auto-deposit every two weeks?
Oh sure you could network at our party, but why bother when you can also make a pass at someone, content in the knowledge that you won’t have to see them at a sales meeting tomorrow? While an office party can be fun, it can be so much more fun when there aren’t professional consequences for going overboard on the punch or taking out an unsuspecting row of party goers with a surprise stage dive during your karaoke song.
Plus, freelancers need to celebrate and blow off steam too, because we’ve worked hard — often harder than anyone else. Sure, there's a social aspect of office life we miss out on, good and bad: smoke breaks, complaining about the Knicks at the water cooler, ridiculous arguments over where to place our lunch orders. But then we remember we can take a nap at 2 p.m. and forget all about it.
At the "No Office Holiday Party," we’re celebrating not just the holidays but the young laptop nomads, coffee shop dwellers and gig workers who chisel away at their passion project in the cracks between babysitting or stocking chickpeas. Working alone doesn't mean you actually are alone. And besides, not having to go into an office the next day means not having to combine a hangover with fluorescent lights.