Monday 8 December 2014

10 Tips For What Not to Do at the Company Party

Throwing up at the feet of the VP will be remembered!

We are heavy into the company Christmas party season. For some, whose office party was in early November, these tips may have come too late. But, for others, career-saving behavior tips may be found below.

I’m not sure why, but some people save their worst behavior for company celebrations. Their goal may be to be the life of the party, but they end up being the butt of everyone’s joke. You don’t want to be the punchline of the holiday season.

The Christmas party is often worse than the company barbecue. The mixture of mistletoe, eggnog, alcohol and good cheer often combine to take people across the line of appropriate behavior into the land of too far gone. And, I mean really far gone as in fired.

Launched into Infamy
Bad behavior will be photographed and uploaded within seconds to Facebook, Pintrest, or YouTube for the world to see. It will stay there forever! You just have to google poor party behavior pictures to see prime examples.

How you behave, and the impression you make, will affect your career prospects. Trust me, throwing up at the feet of the Vice President will be remembered.

You can be relaxed, but not too relaxed. Chummy, but not too chummy, as in obnoxious.
And, it’s not only you. The way your spouse or guest conducts themselves will also reflect on you.

If your guest is prone to loudly expressing “a piece of their mind,” grabbing the random buttocks of males or females, looking for fistfights, or having other inappropriate behavior, don't invite them.

Booze Hounds
It seems there are no limitations to inappropriate party behavior. Whenever an episode occurs, it was usually fuelled by too much alcohol.

Not only does booze change your behavior, it changes your judgment of what good behavior actually is. Alcohol disables the editor between the brain and the mouth. Give yourself a limit of one or two drinks and stick to it. Period!

How bad can it get? My daughter and son-in-law were at a party with more than 500 in attendance. A couple from another department got deep into their cups. They soon wandered over too some heavy drapes, disappeared behind them, and got busy. And I mean BUSY.

A colleague finally went and “firmly advised” them to stop. It was awkward.

Ultimate Bad Behavior
There are legendary stories about “buddy” putting a lampshade on his head and standing in a corner giggling foolishly. Of course, there is always someone ready to rip off their shirt and shoes in order to ape walk up and down the top of the bar.

And, for some reason, pulling the boss’s spouse fully clothed into the hotel pool is considered by some to be the highlight of the evening for some. In the same context, hitting on the bosses spouse, the boss or worse still the boss’s daughter or son will generally end badly.

Dress for Success
Dress appropriately. If you are new, ask other employees for guidance. Male or female, leave anything short, tight, low cut or skimpy at home. Dressing provocatively invites trouble and who needs it. You will find other partiers staring at you for all the wrong reasons.

Your dress can also send signals you don’t necessarily want to send. Avoid situations where you put yourself at risk of having to embarrass a colleague by telling them to “get lost, stop or worse. Unfortunately, sexual harassment suits have been the result of poor dress and behavior choices. Why put yourself in danger.   

A Lifeline
If you feel you may be at risk of stepping over the line, create a rescue strategy with a buddy, colleague or spouse. Devise a safe word that will signal it is “time to cool your jets!” It might just save your career.

Career saving tips.
1.    Limit yourself to one or two drinks. Maximum!

2.    Don’t cross the line into personally invasive or creepy conversations. However, people like it when others take an interest in what interests them.

3.    Don’t talk about politics, religion or make racial or sexual remarks. Avoid jokes that begin with, "A rabbi, a minister and a Priest walk into a bar ..." or “The farmer answered the door with his beautiful daughter behind him …”

4.    Don’t get overly chummy with the boss. Protocols that exist at work apply to all situations.

5.    Don’t be a pig. Be mindful of Miss Manners advice at all times. Don’t make antisocial body noises. Of any kind under any situation.

6.    Don't be a Debby downer moaning about workloads, lack of promotions or the latest office gossip. Conversations are easily overheard.

7.    Don’t whine about the bad food, the cash bar, retro music, or the boss being cheap. It’ll get around. If the party really sucks, leave early.

8.    Don’t make sexually explicit comments about male or female colleagues. Somehow, leering makes others uncomfortable.

9.    Don’t post negative party photos on Facebook, tweet about your makeout session down the hall or text your assistant about your hidden feelings for her or him.

10. Don’t drive drunk under any circumstances. If you get a DUI, you may be dismissed. If you cause a fatality, you will be sentenced to a lifetime of regret.

Finally, take time to thank the people who coordinated and organized the event. They put a lot of effort into making sure you had a good time. They will definitely appreciate the acknowledgement from you. And, remember. 

Robyn T. Braley is a writer, speaker and branding specialist. He is the President of UniMark Creative which focuses on website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. Follow him on twitter at @robyntbraley

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