Office Christmas Party Etiquette
Do's & Don'ts of Partying with Co-Workers. How to Keep Your Dignity -- and Your Job!
Dear April Masini,
I am in my first job after college and we have our big holiday office party coming up. People have been talking about it for a couple of weeks, saying it's a great time and there's a lot of drinking. Now, I'm young and I like to have a good time but the idea of drinking with my co-workers kind of makes me nervous."
Do I just go along with the debauchery in whatever form it takes, or should I stick to my guns and remain professional, even though this is a party? I'm torn; I don't want anyone to think I'm boring or a snob, but I don't want to give my bosses the wrong impression.
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Work Partier,
Don't listen to your co-workers -- go with your gut! Here are a few things to keep in mind at the party to keep you job and dignity intact as well as reducing any next-day workplace apologies:
- DON’T get drunk. If you want to let loose and drink a little too much, do it at a party with friends. Be clear on your boundaries. Work is work. Family is family. Friends are friends. If you can’t remember this, write it on a three by five card.
- DON’T dress like a slut. Bare midriffs, cleavage and a flash of thigh are not appropriate for office Christmas parties any more than bringing a wolf into a chicken coop would be. There are lots of beautiful clothes to wear that say elegant, festive and holiday without saying, do me.
- DON’T stay too long. Plan to stay for one hour. Two at the most. Have a drink and eat some food. Say hello to office buddies, and then leave. If you don’t have anything else to do that night, schedule something. Plan to meet a friend two hours after the office party starts — elsewhere. This will help you leave.
- DO consider the office party an extension of work, and work your colleagues. This is a good time to show your boss or anyone you’re interested in impressing at work, how graceful you are in social situations that involve work.
- DO bring a date if he or she is a SIGNIFICANT other. This means a husband or wife. A life in partner. A long term (over one year) girlfriend or boyfriend. Don’t consider the office Christmas party to be an open bar or a first date venue.
- DO have fun and be yourself. They’re going to figure out who you are eventually anyway — just know your limits and your boundaries.
If you didn’t pay attention to my do’s and don’ts, and you’ve got some ’splaining to do, here’s your way out:
- Don’t waste time. Apologize to anyone you may have offended.
- Don’t send a mass blast e-mail to your entire department asking for absolution from anyone you may have offended, but because you were so drunk, you can’t remember. This isn’t the Oscars, and you can’t thank all the little people. Go in person to each individual and say you’re sorry.
- Don’t milk it. Once you apologize, move on to your work. Do what you need to do and get on with things.