Remember to Keep the “Office” in Office Party

December 06, 2011 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant

 

It’s that time of year, again: the season for cookie-baking, shopping, and office parties. The annual holiday office party can present a fantastic opportunity to create or strengthen relationships with co-workers. It can also present a fantastic opportunity to make a fool of yourself.

The most important thing to remember is that an office party, despite the misleading name, is not just another party. It is a professional event, a possibility to network and impress your boss, and it should be treated as such. A blunder at an office party may not only affect your employer’s opinion of you, it could cost you a raise, a promotion or even your job—and that’s certainly not on anyone’s wishlist.

To help keep the cheer in your office during and after the festivities, here are a few tips to remember:

  • First and foremost, go to the party. No matter how much of a Grinch your boss may be, proper office etiquette dictates you make an appearance.
  • Dress appropriately. Again, the word “party” may be a little deceiving. Showing up in your favorite club wear is not a good idea. Depending on the setting, you may be expected to dress more formally than usual, but regardless, you must remember that this is an extension of the office environment. Leave the mini-skirt in the closet.
  • Come with the right attitude. It may not be your average party, but it’s still a festive occasion. Enjoy yourself.
  • Avoid alcohol. This may be the number one most widely agreed upon networking tip. It’s understandable that you want to let loose and enjoy yourself, but indulging in too many cocktails could end in disaster. Many experts suggest establishing a one drink maximum for yourself, but others say that you’re better off sticking to non-alcoholic beverages altogether. Use your best judgment.
  • Mingle. Venture away from your regular group of office buddies, introduce yourself to co-workers in other departments and make sure to greet the higher-ups and the people who planned the party. Come prepared with ice breakers and topics of conversation, and work the room.
  • Lastly, don’t feel pressured to stay too long. It’s perfectly acceptable to come to the party for an hour and a half, and then head out. The holidays are a busy time, and no one will fault you for having other obligations as long as you put in some time.

The major takeaway here is this: the operative word in “office party” is “office” and not “party.” Keep that in mind, and you can turn this holiday season into an opportunity to advance your career.

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Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.

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