Six Tips for Surviving the Office Holiday Party

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Tis’ the season for office holiday parties. Here are a few tips for getting through the party with your career in tact.

1. Go! While many of us, especially the more introverted types, might consider skipping a social work event, we strongly advise that you do not skip your holiday party. It could have a negative impact on management’s perception of you. It’s important to go for at least an hour. But on the other side of that, don’t stay out all night with coworkers.

2. Embrace moderation. If alcohol is offered, drink in moderation (regardless of what your boss or others do). You don’t want to be the topic of office gossip Monday morning. And if you do drink, make sure you have a way home. The worst possible thing you can do is drive yourself home from an office party while under the influence.

3. Dress appropriately. Find out what the expected attire will be and stick to it. Don’t wear jeans to a fancy event. If it’s an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, dust yours off and put it on. And while a party is a time for festive wear, this isn’t the time to break out the club clothes. If something is tighter or shows more skin than what you would wear at the office, it’s not appropriate for the office party.

4. Be ready to talk. This is your chance to talk to people with whom you don’t normally get to interact. Introduce yourself. Be ready with things to talk about. But make sure it’s not just shop talk. Don’t be the boring person at the party that corners everyone to talk about work.

5. Know who’s invited. Find out if this is the kind of party where you can bring a significant other before you extend an invitation. If you’ve just started dating someone new, you might consider leaving them at home. Office parties are awkward, and not a great place to bring a new date.

6. Say thank you. It’s a lot of work and a lot of money to put together a holiday party. Be sure to thank the boss and the organizers for putting it together for you.