Office parties offer rare chance to shine, as well as err
The festive weeks between now and the new year can be a career minefield for partygoers who mess up as guests. It's an old story: Somebody drinks too much. Somebody says things that shouldn't be said. Somebody does something that shouldn't be don...
The festive weeks between now and the new year can be a career minefield for partygoers who mess up as guests.
It's an old story: Somebody drinks too much. Somebody says things that shouldn't be said. Somebody does something that shouldn't be done.
Somebody suffers job consequences far into the future.
The office party is the stuff of workplace legends. Inappropriate uses of lampshades, photocopiers and closets are told and retold for years after the actual event.
But the answer -- for people who have poor impulses or poor drinking control -- isn't to stay home. Drinker or nondrinker, bon vivant or recluse, the office party is practically a job requirement.
Be clear on this: An office party is not purely social. It's a networking opportunity. And in the modern workplace, whether you're employed or job hunting, career success depends on relationship-building.
Hate parties? Tough it out anyway -- at least long enough to make the rounds, thank the hosts and exchange a few pleasantries with co-workers.
Love parties? Control the urge to let loose. An office party, no matter how well everyone gets along, is not the same as hanging out with friends.
Wittingly or not, co-workers -- and even their significant others -- are on display at work-related gatherings. Table manners, social graces and conversational ability are all evaluated and stored in memory banks.
Co-workers and managers, especially in service industries that require customer relationships, are constantly looking for people who have what it takes to make good impressions and connect with others.
Optimum party behavior is to be friendly, but not too friendly, and to be professional, but not business-fixated.
Parties aren't the time to talk shop. Save your great ideas for the boss until office hours.
And, given the current unstable job market, here's another career-friendly idea: Attend as many different office parties as you can. You never know when you'll wish you had connected with more people.