Ah, the end of the year holidays- days off, lighter traffic, Secret Santas, potlucks, and the infamous, Office Holiday party. Office Holiday parties are a weird hybrid of social and work functions.  The rules for how to behave differ. While friends may forgive certain behaviors, colleagues may not. Don’t let a momentary lapse in judgment ruin your reputation, future promotions, even your job. Here are a few tips on how to survive the Holiday Office party and avoid that uncomfortable visit to HR.

Act as if You are Being Watched and Judged Because You are.

Most people act differently at work than they do with family and friends, and that’s how it should be. Sure, your colleagues may know you’re a little grumpy before your first cup of coffee or that you are annoyingly cheerful on Mondays, but how much do you want them to know outside those little quirks?

The Office Holiday party is not the time to regale your colleagues with inappropriate but hilarious stories about your misspent youth. It is also not the time to tell that person in Payroll/Marketing/Etc. what a hottie you think he or she is and what an awesome couple the two of you would make. Also, do not vent about the person(s) on your team who you feel is worthless, stupid, etc. While you think you are talking to a “safe” group, you may find out that is untrue the hard way.

 Avoid Alcohol or Limit Your Intake

Alcohol has been referred to as a “social lubricant.” It lowers inhibitions. Conduct you wouldn’t dream of engaging in sober seems more acceptable after too many drinks. Don’t put yourself in the position where you have to make an apology tour or worse, explain to a judge why you were drinking and driving. Bottom line – people make poor choices when intoxicated. Those choices can result in potentially disastrous personal and professional consequences.holiday-bar1

Dress Appropriately
Most offices have a dress code. The Holiday party is no different. If the party is at your office, work attire is best. Maybe your party is more formal. Gentlemen, this may mean you will need to wear a suit – one that fits well and is wrinkle-free. No jeans. No tee-shirts. Ladies, while you have more options, the potential for a wardrobe mishap is greater. While you may look great in that low cut dress, wearing it may bring unwanted attention and talk.

What Happens at the Office Holiday Party, Does NOT Stay at the Office Holiday Party.

Even if the Holiday party is off site during non-work hours, anything you say or do will be remembered and repeated Monday morning and beyond.

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