Surviving the Office Party.
“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day”
– Phyllis Diller
By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.
With the holiday season coming up I thought it is a good time to touch on this topic. We have all had to attend an office party at some point and it can really be a minefield of opportunities to jeopardize your career. It can also be the place to make some serious connections in the workplace and even lead to some great friendships.
When we look at a movie like ”Office Christmas Party” we wish our office party would end up like that. Completely out of control and then a happy ending. Reality is that it will most likely not. I have attended some parties that I was wishing I was somewhere else, and I know I am not the only one. I have also attended some office parties that I wish would never end.
Reality of the matter is that it is completely dependent on the people who attend and the general office environment.
There is nothing wrong with having some fun but I advise you to be aware of your behavior.
There will be Gossip.
Only thing I can really say here is to avoid getting into conversations where anyone else is discussed. Just walk away. If someone overhears any part of the conversation it can be devastating to your reputation. Even if you were not part of the conversation you will still be associated with the conversation just due to your presence.
Dress professionally. Even though it is a party, it is still a work event. If there is a theme, stick to the theme.
Keep the conversation light.
Avoid getting stuck in a deep or heated conversation. Avoid conversations about religion and especially today, politics. Keep moving around and mingle with as many people as you can. This is a great time to meet other employees that work in different departments. This can lead to some great connections at the workplace in the future.
Pay attention to how much you are drinking. We all know our limits. You may think you are in control, but it may be different in someone else’s perspective. At the end of the day it is their perception of you that will affect your reputation.
You might not like the idea of attending a party with all the other employees you already spend a lot of time with. It is however a great place to network and meet the decision makers. In the long run this can be great for your career.
Last note is that it is not the worst idea to go. It might actually be fun. With a clear understanding of what pitfalls to avoid, you should build a good reputation and meet some influential people who may be able to help you in the long run.
What is your worst experience at an office party?