I remember my “first” office Christmas party. I was 19 years old; I was the receptionist in my first full-time job, and I had been on the job less than six months, and just two months previous, I became legally able to drink alcohol. My 19-year-old self had decided that I was finally an adult.
The company arranged a banquet hall where we gathered for a festive dinner, complete with our spouses or plus-ones. I had neither, so I went alone. I dressed up in my fancy clothes and drove myself to the venue.
While I knew everyone I worked with, I didn’t know them in a social setting, and I had rarely met any spouses at this point. I was nervous, and I wanted to look and act mature.
Ya, well, I destroyed that.
I drank too much. I ended up in the ladies’ room cradling the bowl, and I begrudgingly called my dad to come and pick me up. He brought me home and put me to bed. He even remembered to remind me to take out my contact lenses. I was far too drunk to be mortified.
That was the first and only time I made that mistake (at a work function). But it is not the only mistake you can make at office Christmas parties.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”S4Mk7″ via=”yes” ]Give your behavior a review as you check out our Dos and Don’ts of Office Holiday Parties.[/ctt]
Give your behaviour a review as you check out our dos and don’ts of Office Holiday parties:
– Be friendly. Don’t be overly friendly if you know what I mean.
– Be interested in your colleague’s spouse. While this is not their workplace, they probably are familiar with their spouses’ coworkers and know a little about you. You probably know a little about them, so be sure to be polite and interested in them as a person.
The first time I brought Warren, my husband, to a Christmas party I attended for an association I belonged to, he felt like an outcast. People would wonder who he was, realize that he wasn’t a professional speaker, and promptly ended the conversation. He was of no “use” to them, so they didn’t want to speak to him.
– Talk about something other than work. This applies to the spouse or plus-one as well as your colleagues. This is not the time to be complaining about anything work-related, nor is it the time to pitch for your next promotion.
– Network. You may not know everyone, and the temptation is to stick to your work friends. Expand your comfort zone and mingle. This might be the time to get to know the senior leadership team on a more personal level. However, if you have had a drink or two too many, do not network with the senior level. You may be more relaxed than you should be, say things you shouldn’t say, and leave a lasting impression that may not be in your best interest.
– Keep professional. At the end of the day, this is a work event. Be polite, respectful, and remember that while this event ends in a few hours, the memories you’ve created for others do not.
– Be sure that you go to work the next day. There will be no excuse to allow you to miss work the next day (even food poisoning wouldn’t be believed.)
I did go to work the next day with my head hung very low. I was not feeling well, I was mortified at my behaviour, and I was worried that the consequences would be catastrophic for me. My colleagues were fabulous and laughed at me and joked they had all done the same thing at least once in their life. My boss wasn’t as forgiving and gave me “the look” (the same one my father gave me.)
I am highly social and love parties. I love dressing up, dancing, fancy dinners, and Christmas! I also love my reputation, credibility, and integrity, so I made sure that I didn’t repeat that performance.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”dqHao” via=”yes” ]Just before you go to your Office Holiday Part, read this article. It just might save you a mistake you can’t afford to make.[/ctt]
Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Do I expect you to be perfect? Absolutely not. So, just before going to your Office Holiday Party, reread this article. It just might save you a mistake you can’t afford to make.