From December 16, 2012
DLIH Original Post
The most important thing you must remember about your holiday party is that, while this might be, in theory, your party, that’s still your boss standing in the corner. I was talking to a buddy the other day, and he was recounting a story from a holiday party from a couple years ago. He was working for a large corporation that had a lot of recent grads in its ranks. One guy decided that, it being the holiday party and all, he would not worry about how much he was drinking. At the end of the night…well, his night at least, he was seen body-surfing down the escalator face first…not on purpose. I’ve never met you before, but I’ll make a bet you don’t want to be that guy.
So yes, this party is your party. The holiday party, at least in its original intent, is supposed to be a celebration to reward employees for their hard work. Have fun, this may be the only gift your company gives you. Chat with your coworkers, get to know their partners, in general, socialize. This is a great opportunity to get to know the people you work with, outside of work hours. Your days are so filled with your normal routine, you might not get time to ask about who they really are. This is your chance. Depending on your boss, you might also be celebrating with some of your company’s closer clients. A holiday party is a great chance for your boss to make deeper connections with clients. You can schmooze too, but this is a party. If you’re going about talking business all night, everyone’s going to think you’re super boring and they won’t want to invite you out next time. Clients, who are using this as a nice chance to relax will resent you for wasting their night. Or, if you use this time to rail on your bosses, word will get back and you’ll lose your job. Don’t be afraid to chat, but remember that you have been drinking, most likely, so don’t get too personal. Alcohol does amazing things to your decision making ability and getting to know your coworkers and clients more intimately is a great opportunity to say something off color or insulting. Depending on who you say it to, this could also be a great opportunity to lose your job. To thine own self be true, Polonius says. I say you also have to know yourself. Know what your drink limit is, and stay well away from that. Since drinking can make you do things out of character, and this is an event where all your bosses are absorbing every move you make, just don’t over-do it and make yourself look like someone they’d probably rather not have at the next company function. This also goes into another side effect of alcohol: flirtiness. No matter what level you are in the company, you don’t want to be seen as the creepy guy from HR, or the slut from accounting. For guys, sexual indiscretions can be a quick trip to unemployment, or even a court room. For girls, they often end in sullied reputations and a diminishing trust of decision making abilities. Either way, just remember that this is a work event (no, I can’t say it enough times), not a night club. The decisions you make are being seen by everyone.
Take advantage of your holiday party, it should be a fun time you share with your coworkers to celebrate all the hard work you’ve put in over the last 12 months. It’s a time to strengthen your bond with them and their families. This is an opportunity for your bosses to see you in a new light, and you might even make a good impression on some of your higher-ups and clients. Just remember that this is still a work event so conduct yourself as such. Have fun, just not too much fun, and have a happy holiday.