You know what they say, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m not sure who “they” is, but I would have to concur that for most people, it is a fun time of year. For others…ehh…not so much. But either way, if you’re working for a company, you’re more than likely looking at an upcoming party to celebrate the season. For some people, the party is something to look forward to, a time to wind down a bit, network, and just have some relaxed fun. For others, the party is akin to that feeling you get when summer is over, and it’s the first “school night” (ugh!) of a new year. For others…well, let’s just say they’re ready to throw down.
Let’s face it, nobody wants to deal with the fallout from a bad showing at a party, especially if you’re a new hire, or this is the first big shindig you’ve been a part of with your company. So…let’s everyone, take a deep breath, maintain some respectability, and party without losing our ever-loving mind.
Here are 4 party fouls to avoid in order to save face…and maybe even your job:
- DRINKING LIKE A FISH. Okay, this seems like a no-brainer, but the truth is, don’t use the office party to get drunk as a skunk. If drinking adult beverages is accepted and part of the scene, partake as you wish, but this is not the time to throw professionalism out the window in exchange for a night of letting loose. Of course there are organizations out there that are an exception to the rule, but you really have to pay attention here. If you’re a new hire, or this is the first big event you’ve had with your company, keeping your sobriety is important. This may sound preachy, but getting plastered at the Christmas party has implications that most people can’t ignore, and it sets up the possibility of your coworkers attributing your actions to potential issues in your personal life and even work life. While alcohol and drug abuse are one of the top 10 reasons people get fired, the impression from a night of utter debauchery can remain for a long time. Don’t put yourself in that position. Even if your boss seems to have partaken of too much eggnog, keep your cool, have some drinks, but keep your head about you.
Here are some dangerous actions that inebriation can bring:
- You say something about someone you wished you hadn’t
- You reveal too much personal information that your coworkers struggle to handle
- You gripe about the company or your work to your boss
- You acquire the immediate need to find a trash can
- You dance in a way that makes you the laughing stock of the company (I’m only half serious here, but there are some brutal examples out there)
- You end up doing something with a co-worker that you’ll regret
2. VIEWING THE PARTY AS YOUR CHANCE TO CLIMB THE LADDER. Relax, this is a party. Yes, there will be some networking and probably some thoughtful conversations. But no one wants to feel like they’re a target, or a captive audience. The office party is not the time to make your play for a raise, promotion, or approval for something you want. Yes, meet people. Yes, ask questions to learn about your co-workers. Yes, show interest in others. But NO, don’t try to leverage the time to work your angle of career advancement.
3. WALKING IN WITH YOUR ENTOURAGE MENTALITY. Just…stop. You walk in fashionably late, with a few of your office mates surrounding you, and you act like “I’m here, now the party can begin!”. In the long run, you’re just going to alienate your other co-workers. There’s power in being approachable, and you want people you work with to feel like they can talk to you and that you’ll listen. Maybe you are the life of the party and like to make a big entrance; that’s fine, if that’s your personality! But don’t surround yourself with people who will only serve as insulation so you don’t risk feeling alone throughout the night. Work the room, go and meet people you’ve never met. Now is not the time to hole up in the corner and wait for someone to come to you, having to work their way through your line of defense. If you’re nervous to venture out on your own, it’s totally appropriate to grab a co-worker and work the room as a pair. It can be a great strategy to make you and your partner feel more comfortable, as well as help with the flow of conversation. Don’t go it alone, but don’t insulate yourself. This may feel vulnerable, but that’s okay, you have the opportunity to meet some great people and develop new relationships.
4. BAH HUM BUG. So, you’re one of those people who doesn’t like the holiday season. Maybe for you, it has deep personal struggles because of the reminders the season brings. Maybe you don’t have similar beliefs toward the celebration. That’s okay! But showing up to a party “because I have to,” only to talk about how unhappy you are or what all is wrong with the world will drive people away from you. I’m not saying to be fake, but a shift in your mentality might serve a great purpose. In this season of giving, it is a great opportunity to express your gratitude. Maybe it’s thankfulness for having a job, being surrounded by great co-workers, being loved by family, or maybe even just gratitude for a night out. Whatever it is, finding gratitude in the simplest of things can turn a challenging evening into a pleasant, and perhaps even uplifting event.
Whatever your outlook is, here’s to a fun celebration of the season. Stay in the moment, relax, and just have fun. Avoid these party fouls, enjoy your time with your co-workers, and everything will be just fine. Save face, keep your job…they’re both good to have.