It is that time of year when your colleagues and you share time outside of the office on, at least, one occasion. The famed office holiday party.
Despite the cliches of photocopying random body parts and inappropriate hook-ups, most office holiday parties are, relatively, tame. Primarily due to our oversensitive culture around liability and trust. Nonetheless, chances are, you will be invited to one and, while the expectation of debauchery may linger in the back of your mind, this is no place to be the person having too much fun.
Here is a list of five things to keep you in the race for the promotion during the holidays.
1. Dress nicely.
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How you handle yourself after work on Friday is none of the business of anyone you work with. Your boss has probably seen your Facebook page so just know it will not be a surprise anyway. However, for your holiday office party dress like you are going to work.
If you wear a suit to work, you might be able to forego the tie and coat, but dress appropriately. If you company spends money to host a holiday event, treat it as a work function. If your company has issued uniforms, you will not wear those, but you should keep the same dress standards. Polishable shoes, belt, slacks not jeans, etc. Maintain the expectations that are upheld on a daily basis.
2. Mingle with your colleagues.
If you spend all your time talking to the bartender at your office holiday party, you are sending the wrong message. This is a chance to get to know your colleagues outside of work. At least that is how the higher ups like to think of it. Give them the satisfaction of doing that. Get a drink and float around the room.
Giving as many people a polite “seasons greetings” is the right thing to do. While you may not like everyone, you did not pay to be at the party. Show some mature appreciation and shake hands.
3. Eat something.
This is no time to race the effects of alcohol to the finish line. Chances are, there will be some type of food at the party and you should enjoy it. Eat at a steady pace so you do not get wasted after a couple of drinks.
In reality, being the person at the party who is just drinking sends a mixed signal of your habits anyway. Be sure to mix the food and drink as you mingle at the party. We have all seen it. Someone who has three drinks with no food is much more noticeable than someone who has three drinks during some snacks.
Go to the party and get a little buzz, but do it appropriately and in a way that doesn’t scream “I might have issues”.
4. Introduce yourself to your superiors significant other.
If your boss comes with a husband, wife or partner, introduce yourself to them sooner than later. You know, while you still have your wits about you. While this may seem small, it means a lot and will make you a stand out at the party.
There is one thing a boss loves more than anything. Being a boss in front of their other half. This is not a kiss-ass method of getting a promotion, but, rather, a polite gesture to say thanks for the food and drink. By giving a three minute question answer with the boss and their guest makes you the professional in this situation. Just do it.
An addition to this step is to say “thank you for having me” right now. Do not wait until you are leaving. A slurred comment is not what you want as you bolt by your boss one your way to your usual haunt. This is where you politely thank them for feeding you and providing you some drinks. Saying “thank you” early is very important.
5. Never tell inappropriate jokes.
You may have a rapport with some of your colleagues that makes this okay, but the office party is no time to give a performance. Things that are fine with the other degenerates may not be fine as it translates to other people who do not know you as well. Keep the joke telling to yourself.
Can we just say that joke telling, unless you are on a stage and consider yourself a professional, has about a 75% failure rate in public places. Meaning that your joke, and you, will get the obligatory “laugh and turn”. That is when the listener fake chuckles and turns to walk away from you.
By no means should you get yourself into a position of being the court jester at your office party. Avoid it at all costs.
You do not have to be up for the big promotion or a nice sized raise to show a little respect and still have fun at your office holiday party this year. These simple and, often, overlooked five things can make it fun and still keep you in good graces at work.
In this day and age, you are not fooling anyone if you like to spend your weekends guzzling booze and making bad decisions. Trust me, they know. However, you do not have to act like that person while your company is picking up the tab. You are better than that. Aren’t you?