You’re Invited! Navigate the Work Holiday Party!

It’s been announced that there’s a holiday gathering! Fantastic! Finally time to let loose, party it up and have some fun with coworkers – or is it? I suppose the answer can depend on the person, but as rule, remember that work-sponsored parties, even if they do offer free booze, is still a WORK party! Don’t let one party be the game-changer for how people see you professionally after that “one crazy night!”

Here are a few tips to survive the party without ruining your professional reputation:

1. Keep the cocktail count down! The company may be picking up the tab, but you probably don’t want your boss to see your drunken antics anymore than you’d want your mother to!  It’s perfectly acceptable to have one or two, but alternate with non-alcoholic drinks and make sure if you do have drinks, you have arranged for transportation to get home safely. Make sure you are not the person everyone is talking about on Monday.

2. Don’t talk shop! You spend a large portion of your life at work, save the work-talk for when you’re in the office. This celebration is your opportunity to discuss your other interests!  This is also a good time to remind everyone, politics and religion are NEVER good party topics – keep the conversation light. Use this time to learn about your coworkers holiday traditions or families.

3. Dress for the occasion! You can dress up, but don’t go too sexy or revealing! You want to maintain your professional image, so if it’s too tight or revealing for work, it may be better to reserve this outfit for the nightclub or a non-work related event. Also, make sure you check the attire on the invite, you don’t want to show up in a suit and tie when everyone else is in jeans!

4. Don’t remain in the safety of your typical work crowd. The goal of the party is for employees to mingle. Go talk to someone in another department or speak to those higher ups. It may be intimidating at first, but they could be the person interviewing you for your next promotion. Wouldn’t it be great if the interview wasn’t the first time they were hearing your name or meeting you?

5. Thank the host.  Depending on your company this could be a party committee or the HR Department or the executive assistant. Whoever it is, remember they put a lot of time and effort into ensuring you had a good time (and probably worked a good portion of the party as well). Saying thank you will go a long way – and more than likely, you would be one of the few that did!

Remember, employers want you to have a fabulous time at the party, but they don’t want you to be tomorrow’s gossip. Need some humorous, but very true illustrations of holiday disasters? Check out Fast Company’s video of what not to do at your company’s holiday party!