What not to do at the Office Christmas Party…

9 12 2012


A timely warning and reminder.

We’ve all heard the disaster stories – some of us may have personally witnessed them, or worse, been them.

The receptionist who spent the evening picking up the (married) partners of the firm.

The ambitious young up-and-comer who got drunk and proceeded to vomit everywhere (including down himself – a memorable sight for all, including the boss).

The accountant who told her boss where to shove his job, graphically explaining her comments with finger gestures (this was a friend of mine – luckily she left to go to university and started a new career so the bridge-burning was not terminal).

The boss who decided this was the time to try out his “humorous” cross-dressing (and yes, this was a real-life example as well). Or the female coworker who decided to wear leather chaps with the buttocks cut out…..memorable to say the least!

The tales of groping, people having to be placed in taxis, nudity (worse – photocopied nudity). These are all tales of caution.

Yes, the Office Christmas Party – for some, a time to get together and relax, celebrate and commiserate over the year that was. For others, a career-limiting opportunity.

Herewith a few rules to get you through the silly season with dignity and career intact.

1. It may be a party, but it is still WORK. If you wouldn’t get drunk and make inappropriate moves on your coworkers in your work-time, don’t do it here. (If your workplace is the kind of place where you can do this anyway, then stop reading now – this is all superfluous for you.)

2. Don’t get drunk. If you must, do the work dinner then leave and go clubbing elsewhere. Meanwhile, be a demonstration of restrained appropriate alcohol consumption (or none if you don’t trust yourself).

3. Your coworkers are still your coworkers. Don’t get charged with sexual harassment. Again, if you feel the need, go somewhere else afterwards – and find someone consenting.

4. Dress appropriately. Yes, it is a relaxed social occasion….but it is still work. Flashing the flesh may not be appropriate – although the above-mentioned chaps were certainly a talking-point for a long time… (and this brings me to the next point)…

5. Look out for the cameras. Try not to have a glass in hand in every shot and ensure you look professional. Photos last longer than the joie de vivre and what might seem humorous at the time may not in January – or if it makes its way online.

6. Stay off social media. Tweeting about how bored you are, how the boss looks like an idiot in his/her santa outfit with tinsel accessories, what morons you work with, or tweeting photos of other coworkers in compromising positions – all likely to be remembered long after the day is fading in memory, and not in a good way.

But most importantly….

7. IT’s WORK! and this is your boss and work colleagues.

Don’t be a Christmas statistic.