Don’t Play Yourself: Office Holiday Party Etiquette

December 13, 2011  |  
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It’s that time of year again. Holiday cheer is in full effect and your company is throwing the annual holiday celebration complete with food, fellowship and an open bar. It’s rewarding to celebrate a long year of putting in work with your co-workers, but beware. When liquor is flowing freely in a festive atmosphere, it’s very easy to let professionalism slip away. A 2010 poll by human resource firm Adecco reveals that 40% of Americans have seen or suffered a major indiscretion at a work-sponsored holiday event. That’s a shocking percentage of messy behavior. Nearly a quarter of folks surveyed admit to drinking too much and a full 14% of holiday partiers have behaved so badly they lost their jobs. In this economy, that’s not a game. Here are some tips to avoid common holiday party faux-pas.

Limit the Liquor

Open bar does NOT mean it’s open season to get wasted. There’s nothing cute about being a stumbling, slurring drunk in front of your co-workers and your boss. Be responsible and try to keep it to just a drink or two.

Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries

Your boss is still your boss NOT your buddy. Just because she seems more laid-back and fun at the holiday soiree doesn’t mean that she’s not judging you in a social setting.  Now is not the time to tell dirty jokes, reveal intimate details about your life or ask if her cute brother is single. Keep professional boundaries fully intact.

Keep The Dancing G-Rated

Just because you CAN get-low, does not mean that you should, ESPECIALLY at the office party. You want your supervisors and co-workers to admire your work not your ability to put your leg behind your head. Unless you want to be the topic of conversation at the water cooler for the next year, save booty-poppin’ moves for the club.

Just Say No to Excessive PDA

You may love to get touchy feely with your hubby or boyfriend when you’re out; that’s your business. However, excessive PDA is not cool at your place of business. There’s nothing wrong with holding hands or a quick peck on the lips. However, French kissing and booty taps are inappropriate at the office fete even if you are under the mistletoe.

Do Not Be a Holiday Hoochie

Now is not the time to show off your curves in a Hot Santa suit or sport a barely-there mini.  Ladies, keep the cleavage under control. Fellas, do not come in there a tight muscle shirt with your pants sagging. You don’t have to dress like you’re going to a board meeting, but keep it classy.

Don’t Talk Shop

Don’t be a party pooper by talking about the cost report or profit margins when people are trying to have a good time. It’s a party, boo! Eat, drink (in moderation), and be merry! Use this opportunity to get to know your co-workers and/or meet folks from other departments.

Dodge Social Minefields

Make small talk with your co-workers, but stay away from sensitives subjects like politics and religion. A holiday party is not the time to defend your stance on abortion or reveal that you support Palestine. Keep the conversation light to avoid arguments and hurt feelings.

What messy holiday party behavior have you witnessed?


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