Office Christmas Party – Career Killer Or Boost?
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Office Christmas Party – Career Killer Or Boost?

Some years back, a friend of mine proudly boasted she was a contender for the Pony Race at her company Christmas party. You may be wondering what this means and what ponies have to do with Christmas. Don’t worry, so did I. Basically your co-workers bet on who is going to make an ass of themselves at the company party.

The first week of December now expired, the holiday parties are now in full swing. This is the first year in a long time that I will not be attending one but I am still reminiscent of some past festivities and the wise and not so wise behaviours that can either impede or improve your social capital the next business day. For those of you that will be attending a holiday social on the company’s dime, here’s a few friendly reminders.

Open bar is not a personal challenge. Not having to pay for alcohol is not an open invitation to get wrecked. Don’t go there. Re-watch Old School and study it closely to really understand. Boost.

Food is not just delicious; it also serves as an alcohol buffer. Do not eat too much and do not eat too little. You are not Guy Fieri. Nobody needs to see your uvula. Killer.

Nobody wants to hear you complain about your job after a few cocktails. If you feel the urge to vent any dissatisfaction in your professional life, resist the urge to spill. Promise yourself that you'll pay yourself fifty bucks if you keep your pie hole shut. Killer.

Do have a good time and be yourself and remember to exhibit deep interest in other peoples’ stories. Showing that you are an attentive and mature listener is great social capital. Be all ears. Throw in something like, "Do you have pictures of your shot glass collection/grandkids/Shih Tzus with you?", then smile like you just smelled fresh donuts. Boost.

Any romantic feelings you have towards any colleagues should wait until Halloween, maybe longer. This is not the place to confess unrequited love. Nobody likes a letch. Don’t let Uncle Vodka tell you any different. Killer.

Do dress appropriately. The party organizer will usually give ample information on the level of formality for the occasion. Make sure your level of attire is appropriate. If I had to choose between being over dressed or under dressed, I would lean towards over, but both are uncomfortable. For the ladies, it’s festive time – take advantage of the chance to dress up and look fancy! But remember, you are not auditioning for Jersey Shore. It’s a party, not a pap smear. For the gentlemen, make an effort, suits are not just for pimping any more. Reminder that your acrylic reindeer pullover is not going to get you that corner office. Boost.

Not to be a killjoy, but remember, you are essentially at work. It is just geography. If you are in doubt about whether to do something or not, just close your eyes. Now imagine you are standing beside your desk at nine o’clock in the morning. If it does not look right while your eyes are closed, it probably isn’t advisable to do it or wear it to the party.

Do remember to thank those responsible for throwing the party. These celebrations are not mandatory and are a way of thanking the employees for their hard work all year. It is just good manners to thank those who funded and those who did the leg work to make sure you had a nice event. You would be surprised at how many people do not extend appreciation for this gesture. Toddlers forget their manners sometimes. You are not a toddler. Boost.

Remember, office party is not Latin for vomit on your boss, grope a co-worker, or dress like you are auditioning for a Kanye West video. In short, let someone else win the pony race. And for the record, my friend happily did not win, place or show. Her career is going well.


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