The office Christmas party has been the making and the ruin of many careers. In my own former business career and 20+ years as the wife of a manufacturing plant manager, I’ve attended a lot of them and seen it go both ways.
So from many years of experience, here are my top seven tips – in order of importance – to help you do your career a favor at the office Christmas party.
Do not arrive at an off-site party stumbling drunk out of limo you rented with your girl squad. Do not leave your office party with the HR manager chasing after you to take away your car keys. And at no time during the party should you lose your inhibitions. It makes no difference if the liquor is free. Keep those inhibitions firmly in place. They will help you maintain your dignity and your colleagues’ respect. The truth is, it’s easier to get a new job than it is to regain lost respect.
Maintain Office Dress Policy
Yes, it’s a party. But never forget for a moment it’s work too. You can be sure managers and bosses don’t forget. So put on some sparkle, but don’t bare body parts you wouldn’t (or couldn’t) on the job. Men will gawk and women will talk – and none of that’s good for you. The only breasts and thighs on display should be in a chicken bucket. If you want to be a more visible representative of the company, then demonstrate you know how to represent. Stay classy.The only breasts and thighs on display should be in a chicken bucket. Click To Tweet
Express your appreciation for the event to the boss. Make it a priority and seek them out – keeping it friendly and brief. You don’t want to go overboard and make it awkward. But many people have forgotten simple social graces and consider an office party something due them. To the contrary, it’s a discretionary company expense. When a boss hears a sincere “Thank you,” it sets the employee in the shrinking class of people who are socially astute and well-mannered.
Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Use the event as an opportunity to build relationships with people other than those you normally work with. If you work in Accounting, mix with people in Sales or Engineering. It doesn’t take any special skill to hang out with your crew. But it shows poise and polish to be able to move among other departments – so show you have it. It will be noticed.
Don’t Criticize The Fare
Even if the catering company is lousy, don’t complain about the food or drink. It’s free to you. HR may offer a survey about the event afterward where it’s appropriate to comment professionally. But don’t run down the event while you’re there or afterward. The words of an ingrate travel fast.
Tend To Your Spouse/Significant Other
If spouses or significant others are invited to attend the office Christmas party, make sure you introduce them to colleagues. Don’t leave them stuck in their chair or otherwise fending for themselves. It’s just bad form – in both personal and social arenas. Because even if you’re unaware you’re being neglectful, others won’t be and some colleague will feel like they have to pick up your social slack.
Don’t Vent About Work
It’s difficult not to talk about work when you’re surrounded by work folks. Most people do. But try very hard not to let it turn into venting work frustrations. First, because it’s a party, so keep it light. And second, because of that word traveling fast phenomena. You’re more of an asset when noticed pitching solutions rather than struggles.