The Company Holiday Party: Top Three Tips
“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.”
The holidays are upon us and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited. I love this time of year with the bright leaves, cool breezes and streets lined with decorations. In the spirit of the season, I feel like it would be remiss of me if I didn’t write about something that almost every one of us has to manage—the office holiday party. I enjoy office holiday parties. It’s a nice time to see people in a relaxed state, meet their partners and get burning questions answered like, “who in the world married you”?
Years ago, I received some advice that applies to any company gathering—company party = working. No matter where you are, if you are with coworkers, you are working. It can be easy to forget but a couple of bad decisions can lead to some embarrassing moments at a minimum, a meeting with HR or an unexpected journey to the unemployment line in the worst of scenarios.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you celebrate with colleagues this season:
Flirting With Co-Workers: No. Noppity. Nope. Nope. Don’t do this unless you want your career to potentially crash and burn in a pile of bad decisions. You don’t want to turn into a MeToo mascot because you misread or misinterpreted cues. Starry skies, music, alcohol and fancy lighting can be intoxicating and put you in a mood to do things that are less than smart. Keep your hands and passionate pleas to yourself, even if you are playing around. And this goes for all genders. 2018 is littered with the carcasses of once promising careers that died because boundaries and basic rules of decorum went unacknowledged.
Alcohol: Although I like my red wines, I tend to avoid them in professional settings because I know what it does to me—I get sleepy and quickly lose interest in being anywhere except on my couch watching Netflix. Other people drink and they become happy or touchy feely or belligerent and intrusive. If you are old enough to be at a company party, you are old enough to know yourself and your tendencies. If alcohol turns you into something other than a professional, wait until you get home or at least away from your co-workers and their cellphones…
Attire: I think the bar for what’s acceptable here depends on the company culture. What you wear at a party for Vogue magazine will likely differ than what you wear if you work at a power plant. I personally don’t think a holiday party is the time to show off every curve and asset, no matter how impressive, but I would say just think long and hard about what you want to be known for and dress accordingly. This definitely doesn’t mean you should dress like a prude (unless that’s your thing) but just be thoughtful because again, cell phones…