Tis the season! Starting with Halloween, straight to Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas, office party season is here. This is either your chance to shine, or an opportunity at a professional fail. While this is a chance to relax and have some fun with your colleagues, you cannot forget that they are in fact your colleagues. These aren’t your friends and this isn’t the corner bar.
Do Not Take a Fashion Risk
This isn’t the time to show off that rack that you have to keep hidden under a button up; nor is time for an offensive costume or gag outfit. Just be yourself and don’t try to make a statement with your clothes. If you feel strange or uncomfortable in these new duds, stop right there and change. Stand out with your personality and confidence, not with your body.
Do Get Out of Your Clique
This is your chance! This is the perfect opportunity to meet people outside of your department, or go up to that boss who has always intimidated you. They have a couple of drinks in them, and you probably do as well. If you attempt to strike up a conversation and it falls flat, politely remove yourself from the awkward situation and make a friend elsewhere. The wallflower rarely gets noticed, and you never know unless you try.
Do Not Have that Fifth Martini
You may be thinking, “Well, duh!”, but I think we can all agree that this is the most commonly ignored “don’t” at company parties. The words “free booze” somehow make it permissible for grown people to turn into idiots. Don’t be that person. If $50 worth of free booze is worth your professional standing in the company, you may need to reassess your situation.
Do Attend Other Company Parties
Friends and family will also be having their office parties. Make yourself available and show interest. Getting invited to other parties extends your professional network, and it’s just plain fun. You never know who you might meet to help you up the ladder. Bring business cards and further your reach.
Do Not Talk Business
Companies spend a good deal of time and money arranging these parties to show their appreciation and facilitate a positive and engaged company culture. This isn’t the time to talk business; this is the time to get to know one another and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. If someone engages you in talk about business, go with it, but don’t get stuck there. There is a whole lot of socializing you’re missing out on.
Do Realize That You Are Being Watched
You should conduct yourself like you are being watched, because you are. Your attire, attitude and actions are all under surveillance. Find the balance between social butterfly and sore thumb. You want your presence to be known, but you don’t want to pull an Elaine Benes.
Do Not Flirt
Speaking of Elaine, this is not the time to meet your soul mate. Letting loose is the idea, but letting too loose (if you know what I mean) is not! This is not the place to make your move or succumb to inappropriate attention. The atmosphere and the alcohol might make it feel natural, but it won’t feel natural come Monday when you have a sneaking suspicion that everyone is talking about you.