Alternative titles: How Not to Get Fired or Become the Talk of the Office on Monday Morning.
A sense of relief comes with celebrating an ending to the year- hey we’ve made it out alive! The holiday party is a prime time to make a good impression while mingling with superiors who you may not get much face time with, Yet, many of careers fall to shambles due to excessive drinking and reckless behavior.
I began my first full time job in August, so this is my first holiday season in the big, bad corporate world. With two office parties under my belt already, boy were there lessons learned for the future. As a new grad, I need to position myself as deserving of as much respect as those that have been with the company since before the .com boom.
So darling, avoid these faux pas to avoid making a fool of yourself. You are welcome in advance.
Do be mindful of how you present yourself in front of coworkers. Despite the name, this “party” is still a professional event. Good posture and a warm smile will radiate confidence and put those around you at ease. Maintain eye contact throughout the handshake and conversations that follow.
Don’t skip the party altogether. You may think your attendance is optional, but your absence will go noticed and shed you in a negative light.
Do follow the boss (wo)man’s lead on acceptable behavior.
Don’t arrive fashionably late to the party. You better have a damn good excuse (such as work to finish up in the office). Not being punctual shows your lack of respect for the event and makes it hard to break into conversations that have already began without you.
Do dress appropriately. No revealing club attire ladies. Err on the side of caution and opt for the conservative over the form fitting, low cut, sequined, blingy attire. Find out ahead of time if it is a cocktail event or a more casual venue to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb.
Don’t talk about work at the party. You will inevitably end up releasing your inhibitions after a little liquid courage. Despite any resentment that has built up over time or grudges you may be harboring against your boss, keep those to yourself.
Do stop before you’ve had too much. It’s at these social events that higher upd see our true colors and get to know us on a personal basis. Drinking too much can be counterproductive to your professional ambitions.
Don’t view the open bar as a buffet of alcohol. Rather, think of it as a soup kitchen of alcohol. You get your share then proceed back to the party. And don’t pig-out at the food buffet either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party.
Do take the time to network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career, such as top management and those from other departments. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships, so don’t be shy to introduce yourself!
Don’t answer your cell phone or text at the party unless it is an emergency. If you must take a call, leave the room and go to a private place to talk.
Do keep all conversations positive and upbeat. Attitude is everything. Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging or trash talking. Leave the sass at the door. And avoid controversial subjects such as politics and religion that may lead to heated debates.
Don’t talk only with people you already know. Make a point of meeting three new people and finding three things in common with each of them. This one can be difficult because I have a strong group of grad friends that I roll with, but I realize that interacting with my peers will only get me so far.
Do keep one hand free during the night so that you can offer handshakes. And do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening. Even if you are left-handed, tradition dictates we shake with the right hand.
Don’t dominate conversations, and don’t talk about yourself or your accomplishments all night. Do show interest in others. Do be gracious and thank coworkers and team members for all their help and hard work during the past year. And don’t even think about gossiping about others.
Don’t take pictures of your colleagues without asking for permission; and do not post them all over social media without their consent. Be respectful of their privacy.
Do eat or talk as separate events. Doing both at the same time is not charming.
Don’t take shots. Or dance. And by god, don’t under any circumstances go near the mistletoe. Just no. If you want to have a good time, be the guy in the Santa costume.
Golden Rule: Don’t argue over whether the holiday party should be called a “Christmas” party.
Make it a night you won’t soon forget by letting loose and having fun in a way that doesn’t get whispered about on Monday morning. Know when to bow out gracefully for the night with your dignity intact, and you’re good as gold.