What I hate about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day – Phyllis Diller.
We've all heard stories about the office Christmas party where Trevor from accounts made a drunken proposal to a pot plant before photocopying his nether regions in front of the boss. He might have kept his job. But, please, don't be a Trevor.
Most of us see the end of year party as a way to celebrate a big year, or forget a dreadful one. But there will always be a handful of colleagues who over-indulge in alcoholic beverages and live to regret it.
Leadership and people management expert Karen Gately told The Huffington Post Australia it's all about understanding that your behaviour will influence how your boss judges you.
"If you have aspirations to be a manager one day and you make silly mistakes at the office Christmas party in terms of general misbehaving, then you could be completely destroying your chances of a promotion," Gately said.
"If your colleagues see you misbehaving, then they'll think you don't have the maturity to manage any kind of advancement. Think twice before you have that second or third glass of champagne. Only you know how much alcohol you can handle before you get out of control and embarrass yourself."
But Gately said, to stay in your bosses 'good books' you must also be willing to participate.
"One thing that disappoints leaders is when people don't make an effort to enjoy themselves. So you need to demonstrate a willingness to have a good time with your colleagues but remember the purpose of it is work related.
"Keep drinking under control, be guided by the culture of the organisation and the tone of the event. Some companies will provide alcohol, while others won't. But never get to the point of intoxications where it impacts on your judgement. Even if others are drinking to excess, don't go there yourself."
For organisations that indulge in 'Secret Santa', don't be tempted to use the occasion to insult the person you've been chosen to buy a present for.
"With Secret Santa, the intention is to have a laugh. But the line between bantering and bullying is respect. You might think it's funny to give someone a sex toy, but you're not being respectful," Gately said.
"We're all human and we need to be sensitive to the signals were sending. If you're not sure what to buy a certain colleague, especially if it's a person you don't get on with very well, you're better off keeping it simple and buying a box of chocolates. With Secret Santa you should always play it very safe."
Karen Gately's Tips:
- Drink responsibly. Feel free to have a few drinks with your colleagues, just make sure you remain in control of your behaviour. No matter how well you think you handle alcohol, the simple truth is when intoxicated you are entirely more likely to behave in ways you will later regret.
- Be polite and grateful. If you are unhappy with the choice of event, venue or catering, keep your thoughts to yourself. It's OK to respectively offer constructive feedback, but during the party is not the appropriate time for that.
- Dress well. Avoid being provocative. The work Christmas party isn't the ideal time to make a statement with your clothes. The outfit you choose reflects not only your fashion sense but also your judgment skills.
- Be on time. Don't panic if you're running a little late, but appreciate also that turning up well into the event is rude and likely to be frowned upon. Arriving during the speeches to a meal that has gone cold waiting for you will probably be noticed.
- Stay a while. It's unlikely to go down well if you leave too early. Spend enough time to demonstrate appreciation for the effort that has been made.
- Remember your manners. No matter how enticing the buffet, don't over indulge. Gluttony is unattractive to most people.
- Be nice. Don't start arguments. If you have a problem with a colleague, hold your tongue and deal with it at a more appropriate time. It's beyond poor form to take up issues while people are trying to relax and celebrate.
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