Office Christmas Party -- Good, Bad and Real Ugly!
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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2007
by Terri Hunziker
Games and Letters, Inc.
The office Christmas party - the annual event that causes normally mature and sane professionals
No Excuse - You Gotta Go
Even though the Christmas party memo states attendance as "non-mandatory" that's corporatese for "we're putting a lot of effort in this thing and we expect you to go." Don't attend and risk being accused of not being a team player or that you're too good for the team. One evening a year and an appropriate nod or smile at the right VP or manager has changed the course of careers!
If it isn't stated on the Christmas party memo the venue will dictate the proper attire. If you're unsure, ask a more experienced co-worker whose opinion you trust. The last thing you want to do is to draw unwanted attention with an outfit that screams "I-do-not-know-how-to-dress-appropriately." And please keep it decent, your co-workers do not need to see your "naughty-bits"
Timing is Everything
Time your arrival to your advantage. You don't want to be the first to arrive, or the last. An early arrival could put you in a position to make awkward small talk. You definitely don't want to arrive halfway through the main course either. Try to arrive with a crowd of folks.
Get Out of the Corner - Mingle
Though tempting, don't head right to the bar or buffet table upon arrival. Mingle a bit first. Make sure to have conversations with everyone you know in the room even if it's just to wish them happy holidays. Be sure to converse with close co-worker's spouses besides being polite, they may provide a window as to why some of them are so weird. Above all else -- don't vent about company matters. You never know who may be listening, the guy behind you in the shrimp line could be the CEO's relative.
Avoid the temptation to over indulge at the bar! This is a biggie lest you end up with a nasty hang-over and a vague memory of table-top dancing with the bosses wife. Do indulge moderately but pace yourself and alternate alcohol drinks with non-alcoholic ones. Consider your transportation home before the party. Public transport or a taxi may be in order.
Keep your Hands to Yourself
It's a fact that one third of all couples meet at work, not surprising since we spent so much time there. However, the Christmas party is NOT the place to act on any romantic impulses. We've all heard the stories of the "so-and-so" that were doing "such-and-such" (or worse) at the office Christmas party - don't let this be you! Remember that you'll face "so-and-so" and your amused co-workers at the office Monday. I can't even begin to imagine how awkward this situation must be. And while we're on the subject -- don't leave the party with a co-worker of the opposite sex -- this is how those nasty rumors get started.
Be Merry and Bright
Sure you'd rather be home watching It's a Wonderful Life with a cup of spiked eggnog but it's just one night. Make the best of it and enjoy yourself. Create little games for yourself like secretly counting how many times Bob from sales visits the dessert table or guess who will hit the dance floor first. Before you know it the night will be nearing a close and you will have survived the all thing. And Bob will have survived his 5 plates of dessert.
Exit - Stage Right
Leave the party quietly. Avoid any "you-guys-are-the-best" speeches. Say goodbye to those around you and make your way to the exit door. Just like your arrival, you don't want to be the first or last to leave. After eating, conversing and making the appropriate rounds you're free to make your escape.
Though the Office Christmas party can be a potential minefield it's also a chance to enjoy an evening with your favorite co-workers in a festive atmosphere. Who knows you may actually have fun. In any event, you'll be doing your corporate career duty and may be a first hand witness to "so-and-so" doing "such-and-such" which falls in the you-had-to-be-there category.
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