‘Tis the season to be jolly… and so many of us will be making merry at the annual work bash.
It is an opportunity to let your hair down after all the hard work you put in during the year and get to know those you work with on a more personal level. Parties were invented for everyone to have a fun filled night and you have every right to let loose and enjoy yourself – in moderation.
Remember to approach the office Christmas Party with caution. If you are the life and soul of the night that’s all well and good, but remember you’re going to have to face the boss on Monday morning.
It is important to remember your reputation is on the line and one disastrous Christmas party mistake can be enough to ruin your career prospects.
We’ve all experienced those dreaded elements that can turn the Christmas party into a downward spiral;
– Someone unexpected gets way too comfortable on the dance floor;
– You go to your room to freshen up and end up passing out on the bed;
– You end up holding a colleague’s hair when they take a turn for the worse;
– You confidently take to the microphone for karaoke and clear the dance floor;
– The quiet one gets drunk and makes a scene;
– You check back your phone messages – and cringe when you read them, need I go on?
So, with your office Christmas party fast approaching we offer this simple etiquette guide to help you navigate this perilous social minefield.
Don’t talk about business or anything work related: Nobody wants to talk about their job at the Christmas party, all talk about sales figures and year-end projections should be left back at the office. Also there is such a thing as too much information. Your willingness to open up is admirable but choosing this particular moment to share intimate or previously unmentioned information about yourself with co-workers is best avoided. Keep the conversation light and stick to relatively safe topics like holidays, hobbies and family.
Don’t be a slave to social media: Be social and relax. Sitting in a corner, feverishly updating your Facebook and Twitter feeds is not only extremely antisocial, but seriously unwise if you’ve had a drink or six! It’s time to break the habit, don’t be the “Dog with a phone”.
Line your stomach and know your limitations: It is always best to eat a decent meal in advance of a notable social. Consider dining on pasta, pizza or even a good old burger, however, do keep in mind you may be seeing it again later. While it maybe time to drink and be merry, you do not need to go overboard and be for ever remembered as the embarrassing drunk of the night. Don’t take the words ‘free bar‘ as a personal challenge. If after three drinks you are confident, five you’re a scream and seven drinks sees you change into a raving lunatic, then set your bar securely between the three and six mark.
Keep it on the low: Strive never to be more than a foot higher than anyone else unless you are climbing or descending a set of stairs. If you can be seen from across the room then you are probably doing something you shouldn’t.
Dress Appropriately: The only items of clothing you should be removing are your hat and coat. Exposure of any kind should be avoided. You also don’t want to be the only person showing up in your Christmas jumper and elf ears. Make sure you find out the dress code before attending. Grandmother’s Christmas jumper may have been made/gifted with tons of affection; nevertheless, it should be kept aside for the informal ugly Christmas Jumper Party with your closest friends or the “completely renegade,12 pubs of xmas”. Keep it simple no matter how good you think you look!
DON’T kiss the wrong person under the mistletoe: There are few plants that have exerted such mystical power over the affairs of humans as mistletoe. Add this power to “alcohol power” and you have a recipe for disaster. If you fancy someone in your office for the love of God make sure they don’t have a wife/husband/partner before you pucker up. It is also not to be used as an opportunity to trap unsuspecting victims in the door way. My advice, avoid it at all costs.
Most importantly, do attend the party and do have fun. Christmas parties are a great opportunity to have fun with your work colleagues in a much more relaxed environment and celebrate with a drink (or two).
These events only come around once a year so it is important that you show your face. Even if you’re not looking forward to it, remember you are part of the team so do make the effort to attend and don’t be tempted to pull a “sickie”.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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