The most wonderful time of year is upon us-- the office holiday party season. On any given night this month, scores of you will have the opportunity to spend several additional hours with people you despise and possibly rub up against them on the company dime. Today brings a list of rules under the guise of "surviving" said occasion. You should pay attention to them if a) you've have little to no human interaction since joining the work force or b) you have no interest in making a splash.
If you count yourself among the former, advice like "you're going to have to talk to people," "think before you speak," and "if your spouse is invited, don't ditch him/her upon arrival" is helpful. As for latter, it's difficult to even know where to start. Herewith, the tips and our corresponding notes:
* Avoid purchasing a gift for your boss, unless you go in on it as part of a large group; otherwise, you look like you're currying favor.Many bosses love a personal touch and if you execute properly, won't mind the attempt to curry favor. Present him with a sweater you knitted yourself to match yours, the only variation being that his says "World's Greatest Boss" and yours says "I Heart Bonuses" and suggest you wear them for the remainder of the night
* Keep your choice office-appropriate (hand lotion, yes; perfume, no) This isn't terrible advice but what exactly is 'office appropriate'? You have to evaluate on a case by case basis. In some offices, perfume would be an a-okay gift for colleagues as would massage oils, adult DVDs and a book of coupons to "[insert your name here]'s Pleasure Palace"
* Provide a frame of reference when you introduce yourself, "Hi, I'm Sarah; I just joined accounting this summer." Why not lead with 'Hi my name is Rick and I blow PM's during the last hour of trading in the hopes of getting promoted' [Pause for effect] 'I'm just fucking with you, Ted.' Ice: broken. And hey, look who has a sense of humor?
* People who drink too much at office parties are taking the risk of seriously harming their professional careers. People who drink too little at office parties are taking the risk of seriously harming their professional careers.
* Was photocopying your backside ever a good idea? The interrogative statement makes me think you don't know how half of this year's Goldman Sachs partner class got their big promotions.
* The chemistry you thought you had with Jennifer at the holiday office party may seem less than romantic in the clear, sober office environment. Life is short; who cares if you have to park your car at the most inconvenient end of the lot for the remainder of your time at the firm in order to avoid interaction and/or have your penis size revealed to half the staff.?
* Management may think twice about trusting you with their biggest client after your drunken Karaoke rendition of Lady Gaga's latest hit song. The safest way to avoid any embarrassing situations is to stay in control and limit your drinking. Or management could say, 'did you see the moves on that guy? He's got CEO written all over him. And when he did the worm across the floor and knocked out his two front teeth? I almost nearly gave him the keys to the executive washroom then and there.' No risk, no reward.
* Have a list of potential topics in mind that will help you get a conversation going: current news, pop culture, and sports are all good places to start. Try to avoid yes or no questions. "What are your plans for the holidays?" will generate a more detailed response than "Are you traveling for the holidays?" Questions: good. Generic, tedious questions: bad. These are the times where you can really get to know your coworkers...asking someone something like...
--> How many sexual partners have you had in your life? OR --> Can you get sick from drinking piss? OR --> What's the statute of limitations on manslaughter?
...can get them to open up and take your work relationship to the next level. And that's what this business is all about. Relationships.
I hope this has been helpful.