What NOT To Do At the Office Holiday Party

Employee or Plus 1:
Avoid these party faux pas at all costs!

Although you may think it is high-time you let loose and celebrate a much deserved year end party, you will want to keep in mind it is still a business function. As an employee, don’t risk your professional reputation by leaving a bad impression with one night of inadvertent blunders.  Every year these parties happen and every year there is that person (or three) that is talked about relentlessly after the event.  We feel these rules should be common sense, but sometimes sense isn’t so. . . common.

Whether you are the EMPLOYEE or the PLUS 1, keep in mind company parties are strictly business.  Even though they are intended to be social gatherings to reward employees and raise morale, your behavior is being observed every minute. Here are your top nine holiday tips on how not to become that Monday Morning Water Cooler Topic.

EMPLOYEE:  Well, hell.  Start with reading the email or paper invite to the event to determine a dress code.  Nothing there?  Well, ask a coworker.  Still no clue?  Go the safe route and wear a suit/conservative cocktail dress.  Make sure to iron that shit.  Make sure it fits well.  When you realize that you aren’t the person people are looking at like they’re crazy, then you’ll breathe a sigh of relief for taking the safe route.  Trust me.  You’d much rather be the one that slightly overdressed than the one whose navel could be seen from the cleavage dip.  But let me reiterate, check the invite.   Wearing a suit is the easiest way for coworkers to make fun of you for the next 12 months if the party is at a paintball facility.
PLUS 1:  Take cues from your spouse/bf/gf/fiancé/whoever.  Inquire about the attire.  Leave the bedazzler kit, thigh-high glitter boots, low-plunging cocktail dress and the remainder of your nightclub attire in your closet.  Less is always more when talking about accessories but never in regards to hemlines or necklines.   If the first time that boyfriend/girlfriend sees you for the night and it’s too late to change from the too tight see-through red lace spandex you’re wearing then there is a fireball’s chance in hell your relationship may fail.

Able to rock it or not, save this fashion for the bedroom, please.

EMPLOYEE:  Some people really struggle with those out of work bounds engagements.  If you’ve never participated in any Happy Hours or mid-year events, then the Holiday Party is the only time you’ve seen these people outside the confines of the office space.  You may choke up, stutter, whatever.  But you need to act normal.  Mingle with people from other departments.  Maintain the professional gloss, but drop the solemnity and work the charm.  These are the same people you deal with less awkwardly on a daily basis, so just be yourself and not some party caricature of who you think you should be at a social event.
PLUS 1:   You don’t know these people from Adam (unless you met him at last year’s party), so put on a smile and encourage your partner to relax.  Once again, go the safe route.  Laugh at jokes, chill, and have fun.  The more you act normally the more your date will start to relax around the people he/she may have to fire (or may get fired by) tomorrow.

Woooo Hooo! Partaaaaaay!

EMPLOYEE:  Do not do your elevator speech at any point during the evening.  Not over the shrimp cocktails, not on the dance floor, and certainly not in the toilets.  Your leaders have their guards down and want to enjoy this event, too.  How would you feel if you had to be on point around them the whole evening?  Just don’t do it.  It’s the bad timing to pitch your genius corporate strategies, and you’ll be noted as someone who doesn’t respect those boundaries.
PLUS 1: It is your job to support your loved one during this event.  Don’t humiliate them.  They know the company culture, so follow their lead.  Small company and boss is offering shots?  Then have a little fun.  Huge corporate event and your friend/spouse/whatever has never even laid eyes on the CEO in the flesh?  Shut your trap, be a prude, and flash that charming smile.

Trust me. They’ll resent it.

EMPLOYEE:  No, I’m not telling you that you need to lose weight; I’m simply telling you not to circle the buffet like a ravenous wild animal that’s never been fed.  If food is rolling off of your plate from the buffet, it will appear to others you have grave fears that the food won’t last long enough for you to make a second trip.  Chew with your mouth shut and pretend you have a little class, please.
PLUS 1:  Employee rules also apply to you, but also don’t shove food in your coat pockets or purse like you’re a squirrel storing up for a long winter.  Even if there are hundreds of apples and you know they’ll be thrown out after the evening just grab an apple from the grocery store later.  You don’t want to be that date that treated this holiday party as a free ride.  It is all you can eat event, not all you can fit in your purse/pockets.

Sooooo good.

EMPLOYEE:  There is nothing funnier to me than staying sober and watching a bunch of people that don’t know how to dance dance.  There is some viral video material at every single holiday affair.  Dear God.  If you really believe you can dance then pick a favorite song, crank it up, and dance your heart out while video taping it.  Now watch it.  Are you crying because it’s good or because it’s bad?  If good, then get out there and show those people how to do it.  If bad, then please stay off the dance floor.  Lastly, leave the dirty dancing for another party.  You’ll thank me for this gem, too.
PLUS 1:  Ditto Employee Rules.  Leave your “So You Think You Can Dance” audition material at home and go ahead and scratch your award winning “running man”, too.  If you can’t dance, then don’t.   If you can dance and it’s too flashy then you still look like a show-off and a moron.  The end.

Seriously. We all know how this show ended.

EMPLOYEE:  It is never easy to include your date in work conversation since they most likely know nothing about the topic or the people being discussed.  So the simple solution is just don’t do it.  Don’t make your date feel isolated while you chat with people.  More importantly, don’t ditch them to dance/talk/drink/eat with other people.  It’s a self-centered and crappy thing to do.  If you think I’m wrong then do it anyway and see what kind of mood your date is in after an hour of your being AWOL.  Finally, don’t you DARE ditch your date for another romantic interest.  Some serious loss of karma points will occur.  Mark my words.
PLUS 1:  Don’t clam up and refuse to engage people.  Even if this is outside of your comfort zone, try to be pleasant and interested in the people you meet.  If you freeze up like a tranquilized animal it will make it difficult for your date to include you.  There is an awkward silence that occurs after your third (or so) one-word response, and things will surely wane from there.  If you find yourself struggling, then ask people generic questions.  What part of the country are you from?  What brought you to ACME, Inc.?  Etc.  People love talking about themselves, and this will steer any focus off of you while filling conversation gaps.  P.S.  See helpful tip # 3 above.

On the other end of the spectrum from ditching your date, you can always cross that terrible line of PDA.  This is a show of self control.  Prove to your employer that you can be patient and that you’re smart enough to know what is appropriate behavior and when.   Let’s just go ahead and state it is a safe bet to keep tongues in mouths.   Please keep your animal urges under control until your personal after-party.  Seriously, how long do parties last?  Depending on how big of an attendance there is, you may not have to stay until the very end!
PLUS 1:  Do your date a favor and adhere to the same rules.  There is nothing more awkward than making eye contact with the big boss while batting away a horny date trying to place a tongue in your ear or not-so-sneakily grabbing at your groin.

Um… I can see why it’s so hard to control yourself.

Holy crap, this is a bad idea.  I don’t care how hot he/she is.  Thou shalt not shag/kiss/grope/flirt with the Bossarino.  It’ll spin a tangled web of misery over time or end after one night and leave you feeling regretful and stupid.  There is nothing worse than having to worry if your boss will be able to separate work and life or having to feel like you’re trapped in a relationship because it may impact your job.
PLUS 1:  If you exist in this scenario, then your date has broken AIBC’s party etiquette rule #6.  You will not be judged if you walk out on your date (with or without throwing your drink in his/her face).  P.S.  Do NOT hook up with your date’s boss.

And seriously, do you really want your boss to see your panties?

EMPLOYEE:  Yes, this is your time to let loose.  Yes, you are supposed to be able to feel safe and have fun, but the office place is a dirty, dirty world and people are looked down upon for not placing a personal cap on booze.  Plus, irresponsible drinking gets you ZERO respect.  You get behind the wheel of your car on the way home and that terrible accident or arrest record very likely won’t be the only damage you do.  Got a designated driver?  GREAT!  I love that you’re being an incredibly responsible adult.  But please know responsible drinking doesn’t get you bonus points among those who affect your aspiring career path; you’ll still be judged (like it or not this is the truth) for not having self control.  You never want to be the person who double fists, sloshes on the CEO, or has the Monday morning “I said what?” regrets.  This judgment is multiplied if you get fall down drunk, vomit, or are chatting incoherently and can exponentially increase your chances of breaking rules 6 & 7.
PLUS 1:  Although you are not restricted as strongly as an employee with career aspirations, it is your job to be a normal, likeable person for the employee’s sake.  If you can hold your booze and aren’t the DD then have a few and have fun, but please know when to stop drinking and shut up.  Ensure you and date can get home safely.

Trust me. No one will see rainbows.

And lastly, be sure to show gratitude- Thank the host and event planner/organizer upon departure. Not only is this an opportunity to exemplify good manners, it will make you stand out from the many employees and guests who do not.  So go and have fun!  ‘Tis the Season.

Much love,

Shelly (with some help from Krissi)
#dontgetschnockered #amibeingcatty #helpingthosewhoarecommonsensechallenged


One response to “What NOT To Do At the Office Holiday Party

  1. Pingback: What NOT To Do At the Office Holiday Party | My public display of all things objectionable!

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