Office holiday party

Yes, the countdown has started and the end of year parties are overflowing our diaries.  Between the office holiday party and Aunt Annette’s there remain only a few time slots available to answer to the requests of our CFO who wants to finalize the budget for the end of the year! How do we stay calm faced with all these invitations or how do we appear raring to go the day after the office party in front of the auditing committee?

  1. Never forget that the office party is a professional event.  Your President, the management committee, your boss and colleagues will be there.  You must think about your image and make the most of the occasion by developing your likeable capital or your internal network.  There is no point in talking more than everyone else and monopolizing your boss the whole evening!
  2. Just because it is Christmas doesn’t mean you can let yourself go…Yes it is the festive season and you shouldn’t be a scrooge BUT it is not the time or the place for requesting a raise or a promotion…Remember to keep your grievances for another time! “Politically correct” you say? More like reserved and wise.
  3. Don’t gorge on the appetizers or the meal and ABOVE ALL limit your alcohol.  I know you’re heard it all before but it can never be said enough.  Of course you can drink a little, because if you stay on still water (except for rare liver problems) you will seem a party pooper who doesn’t know how to enjoy themselves, but nor are you obliged to dance on the tables or recall your youthful days with cousin Isabelle by playing drinking games…
  4. Avoid taboo subjects such as: the last wave of redundancies (a bit of respect for those who were on the receiving end…), the current sensitive file, your boss’s mistakes in 2002 (unless he can laugh about it too), sex in the office (the fact that your colleague on the 3rd floor is sleeping with the new accountant from the 5th floor is none of your business) and especially the price your boss paid for his chalet in the Laurentians…
  5. Each office party has its own style and attendees.  A gathering among colleagues will probably be more relaxed with joking and gossiping…The ideal place to ask questions and actually get a true answer, well, almost…

Often there will be little parties within a given budget which is nice but don’t forget that the same rule applies for behavior and alcohol consumption.  Partners are not welcome as they will be bored and will not understand the “in” jokes.  Dress code can be more relaxed or fashionable but even so avoid anything too see through or too low cut…

The more official office party is organized by the employer in absence of the previous one (organized by the colleagues themselves) you are invited by the company to thank you for your good and loyal services as well as for your exceptional performance.  Therefore we leave our grievances, our tempers and any other frustrations at home for the time being.  We behave correctly and our clothes should fit the occasion.  All rules stated above apply (idem for the low-cut).

There does exist another version of the famous party: the one organized by certain suppliers.  It is good to know your company’s politics on this subject before accepting, as some companies refuse all invitations for ethical reasons.  Don’t embarrass your self! Often the event will put you in contact with lucky ones from other companies.  It is an excellent way to network but be careful.  Here are some taboo subjects which you should not address (even if you are tempted or asked): questions relating to your business affairs are forbidden, so you don’t speak about your budget, or your dissatisfaction with the service (in which case logically you should have refused the invitation), or internal affairs (internal politics should remain so).  Don’t forget that you represent your employer and therefore you have an image to protect.  In the same way, you don’t go looking for another job at these events, it is in bad taste and very bad for your credibility.

On that note, I wish you happy holidays, get ready for you parties with friends and family because you will end the year with them after all.  Be raring to go for Aunt Annette, you will need all your energy…and remember that Father Christmas doesn’t drink all the sherry!

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