When I worked in Corporate America, this was the time of year when the Company Christmas party was always scheduled. I hated going to them because I didn’t like being around many of my colleagues outside of the work environment. As a television news journalist and baby boomer, I found that many of my younger peers constantly thrived on the “story of the day” and couldn’t shake it no matter where they were. Also, some of them couldn’t let go of their egos.
Holiday parties can be a lot of fun as long as everyone who attends understands the proper etiquette. Here are some tips for you:
Make Sure You Show Up (if you RSVP’d)
No matter what your personal feelings are regarding the mixing of work and play, or how dull the music is, your bosses upstairs really did plan it with the best of intentions. It’s OK to leave early but it’s in very poor taste not to show up at all.
If it’s a black tie affair, make sure you dress the part and if you’re not exactly sure what that means, ask somebody. Attention Baby Boomers: The Saturday Night Fever look is DEAD. No one is interested in seeing aging chest hairs. And ladies, if your dress size is 16, don’t try to squeeze into a size 10. Also, if it’s casual, you should still be mindful of your attire.
Don’t Bore People with Shop Talk
The purpose of a holiday party is to mix, mingle and have some fun. This may be the only opportunity to hob-nob with the head honchos of the company so don’t blow it by trying to impress them with how hard you’re working for them. Chances are, once they’ve had a few drinks they aren’t going to remember your conversation. Instead baby boomers, come out of the closet. You know they say the older we get the “stuffier” we become so surprise some folks and show them you’re beaming with personality. You’ve got to remember, your bosses talk business all day, every day and a little break from shop talk is always welcome.
Don’t Bring Uninvited Guests
If you RSVP’D and said you’re coming alone, don’t show up with an uninvited guest. It doesn’t matter if you just met the person and you’re planning to elope right after the party. It is in very poor taste to bring someone who was not on the guest list. And under no circumstances should you bring your children—especially if the invitation says “no children” and there’s alcohol at the party. If you hired a babysitter and they didn’t show up, then you must stay at home and extend your apologies when you return to work.
Introduce Your Spouse/Date
It’s important that you make your guest feel as much of the party as possible by introducing them to your co-workers. There is nothing ruder than to be carrying on a conversation with a colleague while your date just stands (or sits) there looking lost. Also make sure you prep your spouse or guest on the intricacies of your workplace. They should know who your supervisors and important people are and they should be in the loop on some company gossip so they don’t say something you may live to regret.
Don’t Forget Your Manners
Even if you don’t like some of your co-workers, a holiday party is not the time to vent your anger. You can be cordial and just say hello or if that’s too hard, just avoid them all together. Also, if you and your mate had a spat before you arrive, don’t carry it with you into the party. Besides, no one really cares if you’ve got issues at home and, furthermore, YOUR issues will become the subject of gossip in the office later on.
Loose Lips Sink Ships!
The last thing you want to do is to have one too many drinks and feel comfortable enough to tell your boss how you really feel about him/her or to start telling offensive jokes. You may blame it on too much to drink but there will be plenty of people who will remember how you behaved and, no matter how good of an employee you are, you’ll definitely be viewed in a different light and the subject of many conversations for days and, perhaps, weeks, to come. Worst yet, it could even get you fired.
Now that you have these tips, go ahead and enjoy the party!