It’s nearly the end of 2008, which for many people means one thing: the office holiday party. Whether it be a luncheon, dinner, or after work get together, the folks at QuintCareers.com offer the following advice for proper behavior at the gathering, after all it is a work function:
- Do remember that although office parties are intended as social events to reward employees and raise morale, they remain strictly business events. Do act as though your behavior is being observed every minute (because it probably is).
So in other words, no break dancing to the soundtrack of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.*
- Don’t pass up the invitation to an office party; not attending could hurt your reputation. And when you attend, do spend at least 30 minutes at the party for appearances. But don’t overstay your welcome by partying until the wee hours.
Just being there is fine, but don’t spend the whole time in the corner on your Blackberry checking your friends’ Facebook status.
- Do conduct yourself professionally at all times. Don’t use the office party as an excuse to blow off steam. It’s still a company function, so proper etiquette and decorum matter.
This means you don’t challenge anyone in HR to an arm wrestling match.
- Don’t bring the party lampshade, gag gifts for the boss, or any other crazy stuff you might do at a personal holiday party.
Leave your talking puppet and ventriliquist act at home.
- Do enjoy yourself at the party. Employers spend the big bucks to reward their employees, so be sure to enjoy the only holiday gift you may be getting from the company.
Smile like you mean it, even if you are getting the party instead of the bonus check you were hoping to use for your child’s college fund.
- Don’t pull the nightclub attire from your closet for the event—and do ask whether the attire for the party is formal or casual. The party is still a business function, so conservative party clothes are a good choice. So, do remember to skip anything too revealing or too flashy. Keep your reputation for good taste intact.
This means don’t break out your old Saturday Night Fever white three piece suit and keep that hideous Christmas sweater with reindeer and the glowing Rudolph nose from your great aunt Mildred in the closet.
- Do keep your hands to yourself. Don’t flirt and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior. The office party is not the time to end your career with the company by doing something inappropriate or illegal.
Just think cell phone camera + YouTube=unemployment.
- Don’t spend all evening talking business.You’ll forever have the label as the office bore.
Not talk about work? But what else do I have?
- Do keep all conversations positive and upbeat. Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging, correcting, whining, or ridiculing. And do avoid controversial subjects (such as religion, politics, etc.) and off-color jokes.
This is quite the conversation limiter. What else is there to talk about? This means all current events are off the table and no talking about your family. And no “So three guys walk into a bar….”
- Don’t monopolize conversations—and, especially, 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.
Welcome to the most boring party ever. Another drink please?
- Do keep one hand free during the night so that you can offer handshakes to people as they come by. And do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening.
Or just wear the helmet that allows you to hold and sip on two drinks at once. Problem solved.
- Don’t feel you need to drink excessively just because it’s an open bar. And don’t pig out at the food buffet either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party. What? And then pay for it myself? That’s crazy. What’s wrong with four or five Southern Comforts with lime and setting the record for most mini egg rolls eaten in an hour?
- Do take the time to network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career or who you may not see regularly, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships, so do introduce yourself and build your network.
This may be difficult. See rule numbers eight, nine and 10.
- Don’t assume everyone celebrates the same holiday, so don’t go overboard with the “Merry Christmas.”
Go with “Happy Arbor Day” instead. Everyone loves a tree.
- Do be sure you know exactly who is invited to the party. Spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties. And if guests are permitted, don’t bring an inappropriate person as your guest.
Yes, make them wait in the car instead.
- Don’t forget to thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. And do consider sending a thank you note to top management for hosting the party.
To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the splendid party. Sorry for throwing up on your shoes. Hope we can do it again next year.
- Do inquire about office policies on providing car or cab service for employees attending the holiday party. And do appoint a designated driver or do hire a cab yourself if the company is not willing to provide the rides home. Don’t drink and drive.
There is nothing funny about drinking and driving. Don’t be stupid. It’s your life and could be someone else’s.