As invitations to work-related parties start to roll in, remember these important survival tips. In the wise words of Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
So, whether you’re going to your own company’s party, your significant other’s, or something thrown by a client or colleague, remember these five things:
Behave with your future in mind. Reputations are not only forged at work. What you do in social settings can follow you for the rest of your career. You can use the holiday party to get ahead because the higher up you go, the more likely you’re position will involve socializing with clients and colleagues. It’s more than a staff party; you’re auditioning for your future role as a leader. Show them you can represent well on and off the field.
Dress appropriately. The parts of you that shouldn’t be visible at work shouldn’t be seen at work parties – even if it’s Saturday night. On Monday morning, you still need to have the respect of your boss, your colleagues and your clients.
Avoid provocative behavior. No dirty dancing, dirty joke telling, and definitely no crossing the line with co-workers or peers who are off limits. Alcohol fueled promises that what happens at the party stays at the party can’t be trusted. And HR and sexual harassment policies still apply, even outside of the official work zone.
Keep it professional. This especially important if it’s your first company party, or the first time you’re accompanying someone to the holiday gathering. Know your drinking limit and switch to club soda before you’re moved to say or do something you can’t take back.
Avoid drunken selfies. You are always an ambassador for your company whether you chose to be or not. Nothing goes viral faster than inappropriate, unflattering images shot in the heat of party passion. Keep in mind that you have no control over content on someone else’s phone.
No fun you say? As the tried and true saying goes, “There is a time and place for everything.” The company party is a reward for the year’s hard work – not your typical night out with your posse. It pays to understand that the rules are different.