Monday, November 11, 2019

Have Fun, But Don’t Get Fired: Tips On Surviving The Office Holiday Party by Jacqueline Miller

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In case you didn’t get the memo, it’s not that kind of party.
The term “party” is almost a bit misleading. Different rules and expectations apply when it’s the office party vs. a social event with friends or family members.
With an increasing number of public allegations of sexual assaults being reported beginning with Harvey Weinstein accusers, and more recently Cuba Gooding Jr., it behooves everyone to revisit, refresh and reacquaint themselves with what is considered appropriate social behavior.
The following five tips may prove helpful in minimizing any regrettable incidents, especially during the holiday party season:

1. Know in advance whether attendance at the event is optional or required. Even if it’s the former, I always recommend showing up, if only for a few minutes. Your boss or your colleagues may feel as if you are not a team player, that you don’t view them, your department, etc. as important if you are noticeably absent. 
2. Attire for the office party is usually not the same as that for the nightclub. You want to be appropriately dressed for the occasion and not the topic of discussion in the office the next morning. Sis, be mindful of too much cleavage. Yes, it’s 2019 and yes, cleavage is beautiful, but it’s not considered professional for most business functions. If you’re not accustomed to walking in them, now is probably not the time to wear your never-been-worn six-inch red bottoms. One slip and fall and your night will be a wrap. 
3. If there is dancing, remember that yours should take place on the dance floor, not on top of the bar, on the window ledge or any other “special” places. Please keep your dance moves respectful, by office party standards. Humping, grinding and twerking should probably not be a part of your repertoire. Get a room.
4. If a sit-down dinner is to be served, it helps to brush up on your knowledge of a proper table setting. Nothing is more embarrassing than being too afraid to begin the meal because you don’t know which water glass is yours, or which fork to use first. 
5. To say that you should drink responsibly is an understatement. Know your limits. You want to be sober in order to get yourself home safely, no matter the mode of transportation. However, you also want to be able to remember the night’s event the next morning.

Just in case you need more reminders, I’ve compiled a few key do’s and don’t’s:
DON’TS
  • Don’t use the event as your office version of speed dating or Match.com. Flirting (within reason) and socializing are fine. However, it should not be evident to all who are present that you are desperately looking to find your future husband, wife or hookup.
  • While networking in the business arena is commonplace, don’t be excessive with conversations about work. i.e., why you deserve a raise, why it’s not fair that Bob or Monique got a promotion, etc. People are there to enjoy the party, not to be a part of your venting session and most attendees really want a break from day-to-day work conversation.
  • Don’t violate company policy. If the company’s policy states, “Employees Only Invited”- abide by it. Don’t think you’re going to go unnoticed bringing a plus one. Someone always notices.

DO’s
  • Avoid office gossip. Period. 
  • Do mingle and become familiar with people whom you either don’t know very well or don’t get to socialize with often. I once witnessed an employee sitting outside of the ballroom reading a book. Not recommended behavior. 
  • Do refrain from taking photos of colleagues for the sole purpose of embarrassing them on social media. Many companies now have policies forbidding the use of cameras at company functions for this very reason.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy said it best, “You moon the wrong person at an office party and suddenly you’re not ‘professional’ any more.”
The venue for your office party is not Vegas, and what happens there is likely not going to stay there.
Across America, some folks are likely going to lose their jobs because of their behavior at this year’s holiday party. To all the high-achievers of the world, take heed and do all things necessary to ensure that you aren’t one of them.
Happy holiday!


Jacqueline Miller is a certified life coach, speaker, author, grief support facilitator, writer and career and leadership consultant for working moms. A former senior human resources executive, she is also skilled in helping leading-edge organizations to boost their success factor, by delivering essential business and soft skills training workshops, designed to cultivate a workforce of high-performing talent.

Follow her on Twitter @mogulmomdujour