Surviving the office Christmas party

Surviving the office Christmas party

Will the most important night of the work calendar be your greatest career move, or your biggest career blunder?

It’s easy to forget the annual Christmas doo is just an extension of your normal working day, rather than just the opportunity to cop off with your colleagues or to drink the boss under the table. The Christmas party could actually make or break your career.

So here are our top Christmas party dos and don’ts to ensure you’re well on the way to the promotion and/or pay rise you deserve in the New Year.

Do: make sure you attend

Not attending key work functions can be a potential career killer. Remember, you need to be seen, to be seen. Try to put aside any dislike for colleagues, or your boss and ensure you make an appearance and get into the spirit of things. It’s never an option to miss out on the company doo. Everyone will notice, from your boss to your subordinates, if you are a no-show.

Do: get tipsy but never steaming drunk

Whilst we’d never suggest you shouldn’t try to have a good time, we wouldn’t recommend you get yourself roaring drunk. Take it easy – drinking with colleagues is not the same as being out with your mates. Make sure you eat something before you start drinking and stay hydrated. Sneak in some water when no-one’s looking – or better still, add a slice of lime and pretend it’s a large vodka.

Do: turn up on time

You wouldn’t turn up to work late, so why would you consider walking into the Christmas party half way through? Everyone, particularly your boss will notice. Make sure your arrival is timely (you don’t need to be the first one there) and ensure you are not the last one standing. You’ll be less likely to be drawn into any late night carnage.

Do: work the room effectively

The Christmas party is a fantastic opportunity to network with your colleagues and key decision makers on a more informal basis. Grasp this chance to get to know others on a more personal level, particularly at the start of the evening when your head will be clearer. Make sure you don’t monopolise them all night, as this could equally work against you.

Do: get involved

It’s worth getting yourself into the Christmas spirit, rather than just allowing the Christmas spirits to get into you. If games are being held or volunteers being asked for, this is your opportunity to step into the spotlight. A great way to get yourself in-front of key decision makers, particularly if you can demonstrate your team-playing abilities.

Don’t: moan

The Christmas party is not your forum to gripe about the company, your boss, your colleagues, poor pay or lack of promotion. Remain positive and leave airing your issues at 121s or appraisal.

Don’t: gossip

Be weary of gossiping about your colleagues, your direct reports or even the boss’s partner. You never know who may be listening at the bar, around the corner or behind the toilet cubicle door.

Don’t: throw a sickie

Choosing the day after the Christmas party to have a duvet day or come in late would not be the best decision you’ll ever make this year. It will be seen as incredibly unprofessional and you’re more likely to be regarded as having more staying power if you are queuing up for a bacon sandwich in the canteen alongside your Director.

Don’t: have wandering hands

The Christmas party is not the right time to make your move on the sexy girl from finance or be touchy feely with the hot guy from the post-room. Harmless flirting is fine but be warned, sexual harassment rules still apply at the office Christmas party. It is still seen as a work function in the eyes of the law, so be on your best behaviour.

Don’t: get personal

Finally, remember that even a slight amount of alcohol will loosen the tongue and you can soon find yourself talking about everything from the intimate details of your finances, current relationship or family woes. Divulging this information to close friends is fine, but work colleagues should be on a strict need-to-know basis. You never know how personal information could be used against you - until its too late.

Hopefully by following our simple tips, you can use the office Christmas party as a great opportunity to bond with influential colleagues and decision makers and get to know them on a more personal level. You’ll still have a great time, rather than providing material for the day-after-the-night-before debrief at the water fountain.

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