‘Tis the season for holiday parties. Which means you might just be getting an email from HR inviting you to your office’s annual Christmas party. We don’t mean to be let downs, but office parties can be extremely dangerous, as seen by that Christmas movie starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston. Mixing alcohol with a bunch of colleagues that have their own work drama can be a recipe for disaster. Then, add a little bit of stress from the Holiday season as a whole, and we’re honestly kind of surprised holiday parties haven’t been completely outlawed or been the end of the world as we know it.
Here are some tips on how to keep yourself merry and bright and the dream coworker we know you are. Go in with a good attitude and these helpful tips in mind and you might just leave the party with a raise.
Keep It Classy
Eat Before the Event Begins: Pro Tip: eat before the event begins. Of course you’ve been dreaming about the free hors d'oeuvres all week. We get it, we also look at the menus the night before to ensure that we try the best of what they have to offer. But, eating before is crucial because one) alcohol and two) you never know how busy you’re going to be or how carried away you will get talking to someone. You might just not have the opportunity to eat as much as you want, so do yourself a favor and come prepared.
On that note, have you ever been at a party talking to someone who’s entire mission is to eat all of the free food as possible? It’s incredibly annoying and doesn’t make for a great impression or great conversationalist.
We rest our case: come ready to enjoy more but satisfied enough that you’re held over for a few hours.
Know Your Limits: You really hate to see it: the one person who drinks too much and ends up spending the entire night head in the toilet. It’s upsetting on so many levels, and not just because it's unsanitary to have your head in the toilet all night. But, the truth is, we’ve all been there and it can happen very easily if you’re in the moment and not paying attention to how much you’re consuming.
Set your drinking limits before the night begins and stick to them. If you’re hoping to have a few drinks to take the edge off and make your introverted self more extroverted, remember: it’s better to be shy than to embarrass yourself. If you’re worried about being too shy, ask the planners for a party-related job to do.
Show Up To Work the Next Day: Don’t you hate when your office schedules their holiday party mid week? To be fair, they likely do that to cut down on costs. Everyone wants to party on Friday and the weekend, it’s common sense. But, if you have to get up and go to work the next day, keep that in mind when you’re deciding how much to drink and what time to leave. Make sure you’re at the office the next day, ready to work as if the night never happened. If you’re not hearing the gossip, it’s because you are the gossip.
Plus Ones?: Make sure you know whether the party is for just employees or for employees and their significant others. You don’t want to assume and bring your significant other if it’s just employees. Not only will it make you feel uncomfortable but it’ll make your significant other extremely uncomfortable.
Don’t Talk About Work
Avoid Touchy Subjects: 2020 has been a year where all controversial conversations have happened. Between politics, religion, race relations and more, we suggest not talking about anything that might be upsetting, especially if you are not familiar with the person you are discussing. The night is supposed to be light and fun, and being the drag to bring up the negative won’t win you any office brownie points!
Don’t Have a Work Agenda: The holiday party is not the time to ask about a new position opening up or if you’re eligible for a raise. It is especially not an appropriate time to ask about holiday rases, what everyone else got and if there are bonuses. Those conversations should be kept confidential and between only the select people involved.
Do Your Homework: If you’re an introvert who finds small talk stressful, come prepared with topics you know interest your colleagues. Maybe there's a new Netflix show out you think they'd like, or maybe you like the same kind of wine. Everyone likes talking about themselves, so if you’re able to get them started talking about themselves, there is very little work left for you to do!
Ask About The Dress Code
Be Professional: Remember the iconic scene in “Legally Blonde” when Elle Woods shows up to a party dressed like a Playboy Bunny. Although she looked amazing and was incorrectly told the wrong dresscode, the point is still the same: make sure you know your holiday party’s dress code. Whether you go in underdressed or overdressed, you’ll feel uncomfortable. So maybe don't show up in your Santa suit unless it's specified.
Mingle Outside Your Team
Network: Now is the time to meet all of the people outside of your team that you haven’t had the opportunity to. Create a goal to push you out of the comfort zone and meet with people that you haven’t yet, because you never know when someone could help you with a potential client. Stay brief and cheery!
Meet the Plus Ones: If your holiday party allows you to bring plus ones or children, meet them! Nobody has someone’s ear quite like their significant other so make sure you are polite and respectful!
Spend Time With Your Boss: First, make sure your boss sees you at the party. Second, although your branch manager is technically not outside of your team, how often do you have the opportunity to get to know him or her better? Probably not that often. You don’t have to be a kiss-up, but do take the opportunity to connect outside of work. Some of them are even pretty nice— some of us don't have horrible bosses.
Try To Avoid Gossip
You’re Better than Regina George: Although incredibly fun, gossiping about colleagues never goes in your favor. You really never know who’s help you’re going to need in the future and if they remember the not so nice things you said about them, they’re not inclined to help you out. That and a mix of a lot of different reasons, it should go without saying to keep it light and fun, especially at a work event.
Stay For a Decent Amount of Time
RSVP: Whether you plan on attending or not, RSVPing is always the polite thing to do. If you have ever planned an event, you know how frustrating it is when people don’t indicate whether they plan on attending or not. Don’t do this to your work colleagues and as soon as you know your plan, share it!
Show Up: Not showing up to holiday parties without reason is a big no-no. You don’t want to make yourself known as the person who never partakes in any fun out of work, especially if the party is on a weekend or at night. Sure, you might not want to attend, but it doesn’t show how much you care about your job or work place if you never attend. After a while, you stop including the party pooper in everything. Show up and stay long enough to prove that you’re committed to the company.
Don’t Be the Last To Leave: Staying a decent amount of time is important, but you don’t want to give yourself the reputation as a party animal.
Don’t Leave Baby in the Corner: Try to enjoy yourself. Sometimes events like an office party are a little bit uncomfortable, but don’t be the person wallowing in the corner. Try and put yourself out there. One tip: pretend like you’re the most social person you know. How would they act?
Pretend It’s Your Friend’s Party: Alright, this has a caveat. Pretend it's your friend’s party but that her parents and her parents' friends are there. You’re, of course, there to have a good time, but you’re probably not going to be out of control like you might if it were just you and your friend. An office party is supposed to be fun and not torture. Do the little tricks our parents taught us when we were young, like drinking a glass of water between drinks.
Say Thank You : Those who organize office parties and events will tell you that putting office events together is a thankless job that comes with a whole lot of demands, a plethora of complaints and likely, very little gratitude. Set yourself apart and be one of the few gracious people who seek out the organizers to thank them. If you run into them at the beginning of the event, thank them then and ask what you can do to help for some serious bonus points!
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