It’s that time of year again. Holiday cheer abounds, from the store discounts that start in October to… the infamous office holiday bash! The office holiday party holds a warm spot in many a dutiful careerist’s heart – those who recall episodes of reckless inebriation, Yuletide meltdowns, or scandalous rounds of Spin the Dreidel. Let’s face it: the combination of alcohol, holiday stress, and surly coworkers is a recipe for disaster. That’s why you need to prepare yourself, and make sure you know how to behave beforehand! Let’s discuss some ground rules:
Make Sure You Go
Thought you could avoid the pandemonium altogether? Think again! Skipping out on the office soiree is often perceived as a sign of disrespect. Even though the invitation doesn’t always say it, assume that company gatherings usually fall under the “must attend” category – so blowing them off isn’t really an option. Employers often spend big bucks putting these shindigs together. Why? To thrust you into precarious situations that could jeopardize your career? Maybe some do. But most like to celebrate in order to show their gratitude for all the work everyone has put in, and also to facilitate company bonding. Take home point: don’t even think about home until you’ve put in at least a good 30 minutes of face time.
Putting the Office in Office Party
Remember: even though an office holiday party is meant to be a social event, the professional context remains. This means that your superiors are watching, ever mindful of who is behaving naughty and nice, and who’s going to get the nix, come Monday morning. Limit yourself to a two-drink maximum if alcoholic beverages are available; or, better yet, don’t drink at all. Pay attention to the part of the invitation that explains the dress code – formal or casual – and then dress more conservatively than you would normally; office holiday parties are no place for flagrant self-expression. Finally, behave yourself. No lewd behavior or forbidden office liaisons – there’s no sense in embarrassing yourself, or, worse yet, getting slapped with a sexual harassment complaint by HR.
We’ve already established that office conventions carry over into the after-hours office party, but that doesn’t mean that your cubicle chitchat has to also. It’s okay to talk some business, but this is a social event. Lighten up and broaden the conversation. Otherwise, people will avoid talking to you and you’ll get pegged as uptight or boring. Another mistake is to relax too much, and start complaining about your job, gossiping about coworkers, or discussing your pay. Avoid any controversial subjects, especially those related to work. Finally, branch out and talk to some people you don’t usually get to interact with during normal working hours. Don’t forget that office parties can be a great chance to network, so don’t be afraid to engage with some of your superiors.
Holiday parties at the office can actually be a lot of fun, and bring out a more relaxed, fun side of the people you work with each day. Just make sure to keep the obstreperous, party animal side of you in check!
The Doostang Team