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What not to do at your holiday office party

By Cydne Washington, Staff writer
Published On: Dec 16 2011 11:05:36 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 21 2012 08:34:19 AM CST
Christmas holiday office party drunk man

iStock/RapidEye

Even if you work hard, one place you might not want to play hard is your annual holiday office party.

It is OK to go to an event like this and enjoy yourself, but make sure you are not remembered as the employee who made an epic embarrassment there.

We've all seen people doing awkward things at the office within normal business hours. Just add a little alcohol to the normal daytime office awkwardness and combine that with the oft-emotionally loaded holiday season, and the discomfort can become exponentially compounded.

For some reason, people can be like moths to the flame when it comes to their holiday office party behavior choices. Take heed to this cautionary advice and steel yourself ahead of time not to fall prey to one of the following regrettable soiree missteps ...

office holiday party workers in Christmas hats

No. 5: Spread petty gossip

Do not gossip about a disliked co-worker at the annual holiday party. As much fun as it can be to talk smack about a loathed colleague, it doesn't make good party conversation.

Sure, sometimes it can be tempting to shoot off your mouth about people who make your life hell on a daily basis, but if you become the office gossip, in the end it only makes you seem petty. That's not only good advice for the party, but for the office as well.

A party should be just that, not your personal time to data-dump all over your co-workers about how much you can't stand the ongoing antics of the office Antichrist. Leave this behavior for the weak or unambitious.

Your time will be better spent building relationships with people you like, rather than focusing on office weirdies who are not worth your breath.

coworkers with mistletoe in office

No. 4: Confess your unrequited love for the boss

Do not confess your secret crush for your married boss just because it's the holiday party and you are both there, dressed up, cocktail in hand.

OK, so you have been carrying this flame for your boss or other superior for years now, but do you really want to tell him or her this after knocking back a few vodka tonics at the annual get-together? Trust us, this can only end in disaster.

Choosing to confess something like this at all is a colossally bad choice, but to do so at the office party will only leave you vulnerable and exposed. A move like this might catapult you into the office embarrassment if it backfires, not to mention its potential for hurting your career.

If you're going to confess something like this, do it after you no longer work there and your boss is no longer married -- otherwise, keep it to yourself.

sexy Christmas woman with champagne

No. 3: Disobey the hidden office party dress code

Do not show up to the office party wearing something risque or out of character -- this goes for guys and gals.

Guys, just because your favorite tight leather pants are Santa-suit red does not mean they should be worn to the holiday party. Gals, do not use the party to show off your goodies for all your colleagues to see; it's always a good idea to leave a little mystery.

Showing your sexy side will just throw people off and give them license to see you as someone with questionable judgment, which is a dicey move to make amongst your co-workers.

Choose apparel that is festive, not seductive, and also not something that is way outside the parameters of your business persona. You are there as a professional, not as a super freak, so don't dress like one. You want people to respect you after the holiday party, not talk about what you inappropriately wore.

man in Santa hat dancing Christmas

No. 2: Show off your sweet club moves

In the case of your holiday office party, limiting the level of your expression through dance is probably a good thing.

Your newly acquired pole-dancing move or other risque dance floor mating call ritual should probably be saved for your significant other or perhaps for just about anyone but your colleagues.

People are at the party to be in a social and non-threatening environment, not watch you work the floor like you're trying to pay the rent. You might think it is funny or cool, but co-workers and superiors from afar may have not received that particular memo. They might just write you off as unprofessional or inappropriate.

This goes for anything wild and freaky -- mosh-pit-type stuff and anything that might be seen as too fringe. Stick to low-key moves that will look very generic from a distance. It is OK to enjoy your time on the dance floor, just keep it in check.

Christmas holiday party worker drunk

No. 1: Get sloppy drunk
Employers occasionally keep their employees happy by throwing them a holiday party and figure it would look stingy if they did not provide some adult beverages as well.

After all, having alcohol at the holiday office party is probably as old a tradition as the office party itself. After all, isn't that what the holidays are all about: keeping up with tradition?

However, even though your employer might provide you with this once-per-year opportunity to drink like a champ, resist the urge to take them up on it. Do not allow yourself to get sloppy drunk -- complete with slurred speech, loss of balance, etc.

While to many, this may sound like a basic rule of thumb, a surprising amount of current stories still exist regarding employees abusing the free bar at the office party and living in infamy within their respective companies. Fun stories indeed; just don't let those stories be about you.

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