Celebrate the Smart Way!

Loyal Readers –

The Fourth of July is tomorrow, and for many of us it is a day off from work! Woo hoo! Holidays are opportunities for people to let their hair down, relax, and celebrate with friends, family, and sometimes professional colleagues. Before this Independence Day holiday, I wanted to touch on the subject of out-of-office party behavior.

Even though we are not in the office during normal business hours, our behavior at such functions can have a large impact on how we are perceived by our colleagues. In the case that you are invited to function that has co-workers or superiors present, it is best to follow a few simple rules that can ensure you reputation is not tarnished.

  • First and foremost, remember that your behavior at these types of functions will have a direct effect on how you are perceived by your peers. Even if it is not an office-sponsored event, a person’s memory will not distinguish between the two. This can be used to your advantage or to your detriment. Approach these events with professionalism, politeness, and poise. You never know who is watching, listening, or will hearing stories after the event.
  • Stick to the hours given on the invitation. No one likes it when people show up late to the party and/or drag it into the wee hours of the night.
  • Watch what you drink. I cannot stress this enough! Even though you are celebrating, you must keep in mind that the party punch may be stronger than you anticipated. I suggest you have a vodka tonic, but hold the vodka. No one will know the difference, and it will help the “Let me grab you ANOTHER drink”-ers at bay. If you must have an alcoholic beverage, stick with beer or wine beverages. It will help you gauge the amount of alcohol you are consuming.
  • Try your best to leave sensitive topics at the door, just as you do in the office. I suggest that topics such as politics and religion be kept off the menu. Any conflicts that may arise will surely find their way back into the workplace. You may feel free, of course, to discuss all the wonderful advice you’ve gotten from dear old Anita!
  • Be sure to have a bite to eat before arriving at the party. This will have several great benefits for you during the event. It will help absorb any alcohol you consume. You will be less likely to be found parked next to the buffet table the whole night, when you should be mingling and socializing. It will give you the extra energy to make multiple connections and be at your best.
  • If you choose to bring a guest, be sure to remind them that your colleagues will be there and that their behavior will be a direct reflection on you. If they do not respect your wishes of a subdued celebration, it would be wise to ask them not to join you.
  • Remember that personal space should not be forgotten. Being overfriendly and touchy-feely with co-workers can make them or others uncomfortable and may send off the wrong message. Wrong messages can turn into sexual harassment conflicts down the road.
  • Dress appropriately. Even though you are out of the office, it is not an excuse to wear your skimpiest bathing suit or your outfit from Spring Break 2004. Use your best judgment, and if you are unsure what to wear, do not be afraid to ask.

Another nice thing to do is to bring a dish or drink to share with your colleagues. I found a clever and patriotic drink recipe that will be a hit without the liquor-packed problems:

Patriotic Punch (makes one serving)

3 ounces fruit punch
3 ounces blue Gatorade (not sugar-free)
3 ounces diet 7-Up or Sprite (must be sugar-free; so diet only)
ice

Fill glass 1/3 full with ice cubes. Pour fruit punch almost (but not quite) to top of ice cubes. Fill another 1/3 with ice cubes and slowly pour blue Gatorade almost to top of cubes.
Fill with final 1/3 ice cubes and slowly pour sugar-free Sprite. Add straw and voila!

Readers – do you have any other tips to share? What techniques have you found successful when navigating parties with your colleagues?

Wishing you a safe and happy 4th of July!
– Anita

For more tips and a few laughs, see this YouTube Video:

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra Dashiell
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 08:33:17

    I have found through out my working career, that it is better to keep the office and out of office life separate. The office politics do not stay in the office and any situation can be used against you, especially when alcohol is involved.It is not worth the extra stress.

    Reply

  2. pravinchn
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 08:12:04

    Reblogged this on pravinchn.

    Reply

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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