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It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we make ourselves look really good, or really bad, at the holiday office party.

Given the big impact of your image on career success, I wanted to share a few tips with you.

Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts

  1. Don’t stay home – So often, office holiday parties can cause stress and anxiety. This is normal and you’re probably not the only one feeling this way. But, what’s the worst thing that could really happen if you go? Not going typically has a far greater consequence as you’ll miss out on teambuilding time with coworkers, and facetime with your boss.
  2. Select your guest with care – If you’re going to bring a plus one, be sure it’s someone you trust. You don’t want your guest making a scene that you have to clean up later. And, even if the person is just a friend, realize that you will probably get questions afterward about whether or not you’re dating. It’s typically acceptable to go without a guest, so if you can’t find someone reliable, consider going solo.
  3. Dress appropriately – Just because it’s a holiday party doesn’t mean anyone should dress like they’re going to a nightclub. These are still the colleagues that you’ll be working with again the very next day. Stay away from clothes that are too tight, low cut, or short.
  4. Keep drinking in moderation – Many people find that when they drink, they cross boundaries they wouldn’t normally cross. Whether those boundaries are things they’d say or things they’d do, they aren’t good to cross – especially with colleagues. Keep drinking to 1 drink per hour, max.
  5. Don’t drink and drive – If you can’t drive home, don’t. There are just too many services like Uber and Lyft available to take you home when you can’t otherwise drive. Even a $100 cab ride is much, much cheaper than a DUI and a lost job.
  6. Do not get cozy with coworkers – The company holiday party is not the time to get physical with your colleagues. It’s probably never a good idea, but definitely not at the holiday party.
  7. Be conscious of what you order – Very often, holiday parties happen at a restaurant where you’re able to select your own meal and drinks. Although you want to order something you like, follow the lead of your host when deciding on what price point is appropriate. In all likelihood, it will not be appropriate to order the most expensive steak and the most expensive bottle of wine.
  8. Don’t gossip – Although it can be tempting, try to keep the office gossip to a minimum. Focus on what’s really important.
  9. Keep your manners in check – Office parties are the perfect time to be on your best behavior when it comes to table manners and party etiquette. It is rarely the time to let loose and forget all boundaries.
  10. Don’t take up swearing – Hands down, this is one of my personal pet peeves. The work holiday party is not the time to get liquored up and take up swearing for the first time. I recently witnessed this at a restaurant. A woman had too much to drink and was trying to hang with her male coworkers on many levels, including loud swearing. As a bystander witnessing the exchange, I wanted nothing more than to pull her aside and explain to her that her coworkers do not respect her anymore because of her behavior. They most likely respected her less. Be the same you that you are at work each day.
  11. Thank your hosts – Sometimes, holiday parties can be a drag. You have to find childcare and it feels like an obligation. But, keep in mind that your host went out of their way in planning this special event. Take the time to say thank you.
  12. Have fun – Perhaps the most important DO for a holiday office party is to have fun. Take the time to get to know your coworkers a little more. Get some facetime with your boss. Take advantage of this opportunity that comes just once a year.

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