This is the time to get down and loose with your co-workers, to be able to be free around your bosses and superiors. Having said that though, too often the office party turns into an embarrassment that haunts some employees well into the next year. Make sure if you are to attend your end of year office party, you do not kill your career. The following tips will help you to make sure that you have responsible fun and are able to face the world next year.
1. Don’t Get Drunk.
This is the number one mistake that tends to be at the root of all other mistakes. Drinking too much can lower your inhibitions and make you do things you’d never do sober. Before the party begins, resolve to have no more than two alcoholic drinks all evening, even if there’s an open bar and the booze is free.
2. Have Good Table Manners.
Even if the food is expensive and delicious, try to use good manners. Don’t overload your plate and properly dispose of stained napkins, toothpicks, etc. Above all, do not try to sneak out snacks for later consumption. Being seen stuffing a napkin full of shrimp in your pocket or purse does not contribute to your image as a classy employee who knows how to represent the company in public.
3. It Is Not An Opportunity To Climb The Corporate Ladder.
Just because those in upper echelon management choose to make an appearance at the office party does not mean that they’re willing to be your new best pals. Do not buttonhole the company president and try to make a case for your getting that promotion you’ve been hoping for. Do not pitch the head of research and development the fabulous new product you’ve been working on in your basement.
4. Don’t Make Sexual Advances To Co-Workers.
Hitting on your fellow partygoers has always been a really bad idea, but now in the age of smartphone cameras and social media, it’s a potential career (or relationship) killer. If you come on to that sexy babe in the low cut dress and she turns out to be the big boss’s trophy wife, getting shot down is bad enough. Having a photo of your unsuccessful forward pass wind up on Facebook or Instagram is much worse.
5. Do Not Over (Or Under) Dress.
For some women, the holiday season is the perfect time to play the sexy siren, with plunging necklines, curve-clinging dresses and stiletto heels. While there’s a place for movie star glamour, it’s not the office party. If you want to be taken seriously in the corporate marketplace, do not use this as an excuse to show off your figure.
6. Don’t Do Anything You Don’t Want Others To See.
In addition to those ubiquitous smartphones, some companies have security cameras hidden around the premises. Do not think you can sneak off to the janitor’s closet for a tryst with an inebriated co-worker and not get caught.
7. Do Not Bring Uninvited Guests.
If the invitation does not clearly state that you are welcome to bring a guest, ask about your company’s policy before bringing anyone else. If your spouse gets miffed about not being invited, remind him/her that this is a career obligation, not a fun event for sharing. To smooth things over, stay at the party for a short time, then take the SO out for a romantic dinner.
8. Do Not Just Fail To Show Up.
If you really hate office parties and are tempted to pass this year, make sure attendance isn’t mandatory. There are some companies where all employees are expected to make an appearance and those who don’t are likely to find their future with the firm cut short. Find out how important it is to make an appearance at the party before you beg off with an excuse.
9. Don’t over-share.
Maybe you think you could do your boss’s job better than s/he does. Maybe you’re planning to bolt for a competitor after the first of the year and take all your clients with you. Maybe you had a one-night stand with someone from human resources last summer. Stay sober enough not to share any of these at the office party.
10. Don’t Show Off Your Dance Moves.
Getting your groove on out on the dance floor may make you the life of the party, but not in the way you’d like. You don’t really want to see photos of yourself booty bouncing all over a co-worker’s Facebook page. Slow dancing can get even more dangerous if you have a few too many and use it as an excuse to feel up that sexy redhead in accounting.