It’s the night of your office’s annual Christmas bash. While it arrives in the guise of a party, be aware that it’s a glorified job interview.
While the “higher ups” want you to enjoy yourself, be aware that just because it is called a party doesn’t mean you have a license to shimmy down and dirty on the tables. Here are some things to keep in mind as you head on over.
- Don’t think that because it’s open bar that it’s really open bar The worst thing you can do is drink too much. Not only will you come across as an overgrown intern and appear entirely immature, but also you run the risk of saying something completely inappropriate. Once you say something, it can’t be unsaid. Lay off the bar there, chief.
- Don’t dress like its New Year’s Eve in Rio Yes, it’s appropriate to look dressed up, but there is a difference here. The general rule of thumb here is to adhere to the company code of conduct in what is considered appropriate office wear. Wear a party dress, but one that looks elegant and classic. This is yet another one of those times thatLBD saves the day.
- Just because it’s all you can eat doesn’t mean eat all you can For real people? Enjoy the food, but don’t be a glutton. A good rule of thumb is to take one small plate and fill it only 2/3 of the way. Keep it with you as you circulate. It will give you something to do with your hands so you aren’t running to the bar.
- Don’t smoke Please don’t be part of the collective unit that retreats as one body to the back of the restaurant and smokes in the parking lot. Yes, you’re an adult and you can choose to smoke, but trust me, no one looks classy leaning against the wall of a building with a coat draped over their shoulders and a cloud of smoke stinking up their hair.
- Don’t talk business While I did in fact state that this is a glorified job interview, that doesn’t give you permission to corner your vice-president and start swapping company secrets. Instead, be pleasant and interesting. Smile and talk about the crazy weather, the lines in the malls, anything light and non-controversial is good. Asking why you didn’t get that promotion is bad.
- Don’t bring a date Unless this is a party that you bought tickets for, it’s understood that only employees should be part of the evening. This will make it even easier to avoid number 7.
- Don’t make out or hook up with someone Keep your hands, and any other part of your anatomy to yourself. For the love of the sweet baby James, it’s Christmas. Control yourself.
- Don’t sit at the “Mean Girls” table Get up and mingle. Keep your conversation light and bright like a Christmas tree. Don’t get associated with the girls spewing toxins about everyone who darkens the door of the restaurant.
- Don’t be an Elaine Benes Remember how everyone stared at her in that episode of Seinfeld when she decided she was going to “shake her groove thing”. If everyone is dancing, take a swirl around the room to see and be seen. Don’t be that video that goes viral. A good litmus here is to dance the way you would if your grandma was watching. If you notice hoards of people following you with their phones, you may have gone too far.
- Don’t blow it off. I’m sorry if you’ve read this far and realized that you had an entirely different night planned for yourself. You HAVE to go. 72 minutes is my rule of thumb for these things. If you’re really not sure you can tame the beast and behave yourself, head for the bar, order a club soda. Mingle with at least five people on your way to the buffet. Take a small plate and fill it halfway. Don’t take anything that requires silverware ‘cause honey, you’re not sitting. Continue to work the room and smile. When you hit the coffee station take a cup. Take a few sips and set it down. Use the restroom and work the room back out the door.