Oh, boy. An office party

first_imgYou’ve heard the horror stories: John from the factory who made a drunken pass at his married boss, or Jane from payroll who tossed down some wine and loudly told the chief executive to give everybody a raise. In fact, the office party is one of those rare occasions when work and fun overlap a disturbing combination that leaves employees bewildered. Suddenly workers aren’t sure what to wear, what to discuss or when to leave. Add alcohol to the mix, and it’s a career-threatening humiliation just waiting to happen. Here are nine do’s and don’ts from career and etiquette experts: 1. Do Attend. Your office holiday party is not an optional event. “Even if you hate these things, it’s a good idea to put in an appearance,” says Marjorie Brody, an executive coach based in Jenkintown, Pa. “It shows you’re part of the team.” 2. Do Treat It as Work, Not Play. Remember, it’s a business occasion. Would you go to a business event and get drunk or spend the whole night talking to your buddies? If not, don’t do it here. 3. Don’t Wear Spaghetti Straps. Dress professionally. Leave the sequined tube top at home. “Don’t wear anything you wouldn’t wear the following day if you had to make a presentation in front of senior management,” says Andrea Nierenberg, a New York businessrelationship consultant. She says women should keep bare skin to a minimum. Men should make sure everything is buttoned and zippered. If it’s your first holiday party at work, ask colleagues about the dress code ahead of time. 4. Don’t Overindulge. Excessive drinking is the No. 1 source of office- party problems. Sure, it’s an open bar, it’s the year end, you’re fighting boredom, and did we mention it’s an open bar? But tempting as it may be, resist. “If you’re a one-drink drinker, stick with one drink,” Ms. Brody says. “If you’re a two-drink drinker, stick with one drink. If you’re a three-drink drinker, stick with one drink. The minute you start feeling the alcohol,” you may not be handling things as well as you typically do. There’s really no such thing as a free open bar, says Susan RoAne, a Greenbrae, Calif.-based communications expert and author of “How to Work a Room.” If you drink too freely, “you may pay well beyond the cost of the drinks.” 5. Don’t Pig Out. This isn’t your last meal. Stuffing your face is ugly and makes it hard to talk. Think of it as hors d’oeuvres, Ms. Nierenberg says. When getting a quick bite, stand close to the table so you can put down your plate and shake hands. 6. Don’t Bump and Grind. Just because there’s funky music doesn’t mean you need to try out your provocative dancing techniques on a co-worker. “I was at this party where a manager danced with an underling,” Ms. Brody says. “And he was married. People talked about it all night.” 7. Do Be Ready to Schmooze. This is a fine time to socialize with co-workers you don’t normally see and, of course, the boss. But don’t just talk business. Don’t be the office bore. Get to know people. Be festive. Have fun. Observe people. “If someone’s wearing Santa Clauses on his tie, it’s pretty much permission to talk to him,” Ms. RoAne says. “If a woman is wearing a beautiful pin or broach, that’s a great ice breaker.” Avoid sensitive topics like politics and religion. Holiday plans are an easy topic. But don’t rush to wish everyone a “Merry Christmas” some may be celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. 8. Do Prepare Your Spouse. If invited, your spouse should know the names of your close co-workers and senior managers. If there’s company gossip you’ve let slip at home and shouldn’t have, make sure your spouse stays mum. 9. Do Leave Graciously. Even if the party is a total bore, stay for at least an hour or hour and a half. Before you leave, thank the person who organized the party and the one who approved the expenditure. When bosses are trying to decide if they can trust you with clients and promote you, manners count. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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