Depending upon where you work, you may or may not have some kind of year-end office holiday party celebration. And they can range from upscale to a drinking fest, and everything in between. Planning these things are an HR nightmare – not only do we hate that we become “party planners” for some odd reason, but all of the potential pitfalls and liability possibilities is enough to drive us to drink (at home, of course). HR aside, navigating your office holiday party, can greatly impact your career.
Party Like a Rockstar?
- You absolutely should attend. And coming from me, this is BIG advice. I am not a fan of office parties or celebrating with people I work with every day, but showing up for an hour to your holiday party is a good idea. Let me be clear – it’s a must, especially if you work at a smaller company. Your boss will be looking for you, the owner and organizer will take it personally, and you can get face-time with people you don’t usually come into contact with. Just suck it up and go.
- Have a two drink maximum. Period. I don’t care who you are, you don’t have to get drunk at your office party just because there is free booze. You are working, getting paid, which means you can spend money on alcohol and celebrate with your friends any time you want. This is NOT the time to get sloshed. Haven’t you heard any/all of the ridiculous office drunk stories? Why do you think this is still a good idea? Not to mention the potential liability that your company has should you drink too much and then do something stupid. You don’t want to be that person. You don’t want to undo years of hard work with one night of “relaxing.” Grow up.
- If you bring a plus one, make sure it is someone you are serious about. You don’t have to be engaged or married serious, but people will continually ask you about that person going forward. So unless you want to explain a hundred times over why you only had one date with that person, remember the long-term impact of bringing a friend along. Short-term “suffering” on your own versus having to field questions, comments, suggestions, and more for months to come.
- Don’t think that the relaxed environment means that you can gossip freely. I can’t even tell you how many times a feud has started because they “overheard” something being said at the holiday party. Save it for a phone call or lunch the next week. Or even better, stop being so judgmental and mean and stop gossiping (and get to work!).
- Dress appropriately. Pay attention to the invite information – if it’s formal, casual, business-casual and so on. If the party is right after work or in the middle of the day, most likely the same attire for the office is sufficient. Maybe step it up a bit, but for the love of Nancy, do not go overboard. What’s overboard? Super-short or “sexy” dresses, skirts, and tops. Too much overwhelming sparkle. Hooker heels, and so on.
- Step away from your coworker/boss/someone’s husband/wife. Obvious, but it happens all of the time, probably thanks to the alcohol. Regardless, the office party is not the place to hook-up. Do you remember this commercial by Olympus? Try not to create your own commercial.
- Be the rational human being you are the other 364 days a year.
Do you have an awesome office holiday story to share? I can’t wait to hear if your experiences rival mine!
- Part 3: Gifts for your Boss