How to impress (without regrets) at your office holiday party
The annual office holiday party is undoubtedly one of the most awaited events in the corporate calendar, and for good reason. And for good reason – after all, who doesn't love a good celebration?
But just like any other party involving loud music and alcohol, there's plenty that can go wrong. If you value your career and are aiming to impress the higher-ups by maintaining your composure, you should be on your best behavior.
Here's how you survive the end of year holiday party:
- Stick to the dress code
Or better yet, come in smart-casual if a dress code isn’t specified. Refer to fashion blogs if you're not sure about how to style yourself and, if your party has a theme, interpret it conservatively and reserve the titillating costumes for next Halloween.
- Execute only family-friendly dance moves
If you’ve been learning how to twerk by watching Youtube tutorials in your spare time, that’s all fine and dandy. But refrain from displaying your newly acquired skills at the office party – the last thing you want to do is “impress” (embarrass) your seniors by dropping it low.
- Keep your “drunk” persona in check
At the end of the day, a corporate party is still office-sanctioned fun. You aren’t at the club where you can let loose and lower your inhibitions. If you have a penchant for getting out of control when under the influence, it’s best to go easy on the alcohol. If you can’t trust yourself to do it, engage the help of a dependable office buddy to check your in check. You do not want to be demoted or, worse, lose your job because you had one too many glasses of Champagne and couldn’t stop sharing offensive jokes.
- Love is (not) in the air
If you admire a colleague for reasons not entirely professional and haven’t approached them about it yet, keep it that way. The office holiday party is not the place for you to confess your love. You’ll either be avoided by everyone in the office the next day, or be called to HR. On the other hand, if someone attempts to drunkenly serenade you, that’s your cue to head straight for the exit.
- Don’t retire into your cocoon
Even if you’re shy or introvert, an office party is a good time to do some inter-office networking. Stay for a few hours and allow yourself to have fun – you might just end up finding a kindred soul who shares the same interests as you do. Try not be glued to your smartphone the entire night, as it could come off as rude and dismissive to those who don’t know you.
- Festivity, not politics
The office holiday party is no time to become embroiled in a heated political debate with your colleague (or worse, supervisor). Politics is a deeply personal matter, and not everyone feels comfortable airing their thoughts in public. Most corporate offices are diverse, and engaging in a bitter clash with someone whose beliefs do not align with your own might be detrimental to your career in the long run. Thus, it would be wise to keep your poignant views to yourself.
- Don’t be gossip girl
Since corporate gatherings typically involve the entire office as well as clients and friends, it’s best to not huddle in a circle and recant tales about that one colleague who wronged you. Even if you have bad blood with someone, a party is not the appropriate time to air your dirty laundry about people you don’t see eye to eye with. You could easily find yourself becoming a subject of office gossip. Instead, you could try breaking the ice and connect with them. Who knows – you might just end up bonding!