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The holidays are around the corner and a festive atmosphere settles in. Some companies celebrate with a holiday party, but for a few it causes more stress than joy. Even though the setting is different, it's still work-related and letting loose isn't an option. You don't want to stand out for the wrong reasons and deal with the repercussions after the holiday high dies down. To ensure you don't get carried away, keep your guard up and stay in the right mindset. Here are seven tips to follow for the work holiday party.
Don't skip unless there is a scheduling conflict and an important occasion that you cannot miss. View the work party as an extension of your job and show your commitment to being a part of the company and team. If the party is for employees only and you feel awkward attending alone, you can reach out to close coworkers. Find out who else is going and plan who you will interact with.
If permissible, cast off your uniform or suit and dress up for the festivities. Depending on your workplace, you can go for something casual or comfortable but remember to keep it work appropriate. A good rule to go by is to dress down or up just a notch to keep within the striking zone. As usual, stay away from tight-fitting or revealing outfits, holes, or unbuttoned shirts. You can check directly with the host if you're unsure about the dress code or ask coworkers you trust what they plan to wear.
Don't hide away in the corner and take advantage of the opportunity to socialize. Unplug from your work or outside interventions and focus on the present, which means putting away your phone unless you're whipping it out for photos. If you do post about the party on social media, remember to be careful about inappropriate comments or behaviors that can get you in trouble. Also, if you find interacting with your boss awkward, make it a goal to meet your boss early when you're both sober to get it out of the way and behind you.
If you struggle with small talk, prepare simple questions ahead of time. Refrain from gossip. With so many of your coworkers and employers around, it is important to keep discussions positive. Additionally, everyone has a different sense of humor and unless you know someone well, be wary of telling jokes that can be offensive. Topics that are off-limits during work hours should still apply in this situation, including talk about politics and religion. Also, avoid talking about work. It can wait.
Overeating and drinking doesn't end well for anyone. Eat before the party to ensure you're not hungry and stalking the food table, or drinking on an empty stomach. It is especially important if you have dietary restrictions or won't know if you'll enjoy the food. You should know your alcohol tolerance and drink moderately. To limit your intake, you can order a drink you don't like and sip it slowly throughout the event.
This is not the time to indulge in your emotions, whether that is striking up a romance or releasing built-up anger. You don't want to make things awkward by being too forward in your flirting, especially when there will be many eyes around. This also isn't the place or time to confront that annoying coworker. Additionally, don't make this time about kissing up to your boss so you can get that elusive promotion.
Don't be too late or too early. Likewise, popping in and out to check it off your list doesn't make a good impression either. Aim to stay for one hour. Then don't overstay your welcome. Especially do not stay passed the time on the invitation, unless you're going to help clean up.
Finally, even if this is for work, it is also a party. Don't forget to just have a good time.