How to tackle the office holiday party without derailing your career

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Now the holidays are in full swing we are officially in the season of overeating, overspending and office holiday parties. For some, the annual holiday party is a “can’t miss” event. However, for most of us it’s something we approach with varying degrees of trepidation. Even if your holiday party resembles a scene from The Office here’s how to navigate the festivities to make sure you don’t derail your career.

Show up
It can be easy to think I’ll give it a miss this year, but trust me, your absence will be noted by your superiors who’ve forked out to provide a party for everyone. Show up and look happy to be there. The holidays only come around once a year…

Dress appropriately
Despite the emphasis on festivities during the holidays keep your dress code in check. If you think the outfit you have in mind might be a bit too much go with the safer option. You don’t want to focus of attention for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t complain
Many years ago I had a coworker who was about to put in her two weeks’ notice. During our office party she was complaining to another coworker about the company, and was overheard by one of the CEOs. As it turned out, she didn’t have to bother putting in her two weeks’ notice after all. Don’t complain about your role, workload, the company or your coworkers during the company party. In fact, where possible try to avoid the topic of work completely. It will make it easier to avoid saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Don’t overindulge
Keep your consumption during the party in check, especially if alcohol is involved. There’s too much potential for things to go sideways after two shots too many. The goal is to get through the party and to enhance your work reputation, not destroy it through a total lapse in judgment when it came to the annual open bar.

Get to know new people
One of the great things about office holiday parties is that they bring groups of people together. Use the opportunity to talk to someone you may not connect with on a regular basis. If you find small-talk exhausting it’s totally fine to keep it brief. Even something as simple as a quick hello and introduction is a great way to extend your network.

If company events are really not your thing remember this – you don’t have to be there from the beginning to the end. Try and get there on time and it’s totally fine to leave before the party wraps, just don’t forget to smile, say goodbye and be gracious to the hosts before you head on out. Even though it can feel a little awkward, it’s good to make the most of the opportunity to socialize with the people you spend the bulk of your time with.

 

Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema

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