The holidays are upon us, and with them come one of the most formidable traditions of the season: the office holiday party.
Though you may feel the 40-plus hours per week you work is plenty of face time with your colleagues, it’s bad form (and bad career strategy) to bail on the company soirée. That said, you’ll probably want a drink or two.
To ensure that your party behavior is noticed for the right reasons (and you’re not the butt of office jokes for the rest of your natural life), follow these tried-and-true tips.
- Do drink in moderation. Nurse your drinks, and hydrate in-between with water or soft drinks.
- Don’t overdo it at the open bar. This isn’t a frat party—it’s still work. And you can’t call in sick the next day.
- Don’t plan to drive yourself home. Use public transportation or car service.
- Do help colleagues who may have celebrated too much by helping them into a cab, if the need arises. Also, try to do this before any higher-ups notice.
- Do find out the wine budget, look at the wine list and speak with the sommelier first if you will be choosing the wine for a seated dinner. (For a crash course on this, read Katherine Cole’s How To Fake Your Way Through A Wine List.)
- Don’t choose irresponsibly expensive wines if you’re asked to choose the wine for a seated dinner.
- Do arrange a night out or workday lunch separately for gift exchanges among colleagues, so others don’t feel left out at the official company gathering.
- Do get to know your colleagues socially in this setting. Ask about their holidays, New Year’s Eve or other vacation plans.
- Don’t complain about office problems or how much you hate socializing with co-workers in your spare time.
- Don’t spend the entire night talking to the same people you speak with at work all day. Mix it up.
- Do take the time to talk to a shy co-worker, or to introduce the office newcomer to others in your group.