How to Keep Your Job After the Christmas Party

Every year, hundreds of well-meaning people jump off the career ladder and don’t know it. They attend the office holiday party and in one, colossal moment of stupidity, kill their career advancement at the company. Holiday parties are not for having fun. They are for proving you can behave well in public and know how to dress in something else other than flip-flops. Here, for those who may have trouble navigating the party, some hints:

ornaments1. Even if there is an open bar, do not have more than two drinks. One drink, if you don’t drink often. This party is not about you, it is about your conduct in public. Slurred speech, bleary eyes and loudly insisting you are “fine to drive” doesn’t fool anyone.

2. Crying, vomiting, or taking off any portion of your clothing is not part of social drinking. Stick to club soda or juice when you start to feel frisky and funny.

3. Unless you are a professional, do not give in to the urge to sing or dance on stage, with a microphone or in a spotlight. Cell phone cameras will have you on YouTube tomorrow, just when that company you submitted your resume to is checking your profile and finding the link.

4. Stay away from the copy machine. You don’t need to be there at an office partymartini glass

5. No matter how hot your boss’s spouse looks, not matter how flirty the CEOs date, do not, under any circumstances, reply in kind. The bigger the age difference, the less you should engage them in any conversation. If you think I’m not serious, rent and watch an old movie called The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman.

6. Do not discuss your promotion or engage in self-promotion at the party.

7. This is not the time to pull off your glasses, fluff up your hair and be the inner animal you’ve always wanted to be. This is also not the time to wear anything that flashes, jingles, or glows in the dark. That’s for your own party, at another time. Wear your conservative work clothes.

8. Avoid the person holding the camera or video equipment. If they ask you to do the solo from “Evita,” the full-body spelling of Y.M.C.A., or the hysterical imitation of the guy in accounting, feign ignorance, even if you have left people in the kitchen in stitches with the routine. (See warning in #3, above.)

9. Don’t be the last one to leave.

10. Learn to enjoy yourself with all the restrictions. Sometimes that’s as good at is gets.

Images: martini glass: ornaments:

–Quinn McDonald has been to many holiday parties, some of which she would prefer not to remember. She is a writer and certified creativity coach. See her work at (c) 2007 All rights reserved.