Arts & Culture

10 Things You Need To Know Before Your Office Party


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The holiday season brings plenty of parties, free booze and countless opportunities to make a fool out of yourself in front of your colleagues. Well, unless you have a new job lined up, here are 10 easy tips that may just get you through the night without losing your job, reputation and credibility.

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Remember, you’re not there for the food. You’re pretty much there to mingle with the people with whom you share the same printing machine with, so get to know them. When it comes to a sit-down meal, do not start eating until everyone has been served (unless, of course, the host gives the go ahead). Take your time and pace yourself to match your fellow diners, and under no circumstance should you talk with your mouth full, even when you have a conversational gem up your sleeve.

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No matter what happened at the party, everyone will be talking about you twice as much if you don’t show up for work the next day – worse if you were intoxicated. If you’ve embarrassed yourself, show up early for work the following day and apologise profusely. You’re already in trouble, don’t make it any worse. You can only pray someone else made a bigger fool of themselves than you did.

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If you can’t dance, stay clear of the dance floor. Nobody wants to see your beer-legged moves or your 80s ‘robotic’ dance. Spare your colleagues and save your finger pointing and hip-thrusting for your bedroom mirror. If you think you’re good enough for the dance floor, keep to the floor and not on the table. Don’t look too eager to be the first to bust a move just because you think you have some slick moves. Nobody likes a show-off.

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Not all office parties serve up a full meal. If your company is going through budget cuts, chances are that you might just be left with ‘fancy hors d’oeuvres’, so have something to eat before the party begins. Drinking on an empty stomach only gets you intoxicated much quicker. Having food in your stomach will help slow down the processing of alcohol. If you skip the pre-bar-hopping meal, the alcohol you drink is essentially boarding a high-speed train to your blood stream.  

Whether you like it or not, at some point during the party, you will have to make small talk. No matter how well you think you know your colleagues, strike a conversation and don’t start gossip. It’s tactless and unpleasant. And when you meet your big boss, avoid talking about work. Also, speak less and listen more – you may pick up information which could tip the balance in your favour when a promotion beckons.

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It’s okay to loosen up and enjoy a few drinks. After all, you deserve some free booze for the amount of work you do at the office. While it may even seem like a good idea to take advantage of the free open bar, you don’t want to be a casualty of embarrassing table-top dancing just because you went above your limit. Once you start to feel tipsy, say goodnight and leave. Stay clear of dance floor, it will only escalate to more drinking, and plan to wake up alone.

This is possibly one of those exceptions when you best show up late. The only people who show up on the dot include the quiet accounting dude whom you’ve never talked to. You’ll just end up trying to make awkward small talk with him. Even if your party is at the office, go home after work and come late. Remember, a gentleman always arrives fashionably late and makes an entrance.

It’s all fun and games until someone crosses the line. Just because you’re in a lascivious mood, it doesn’t mean you should start flirting. Christmas parties are neither the time nor place to tell your office crush what you’d like to do behind closed doors. And stay away from the photocopy machine unless you want rejections, humiliation, or worse, a career-destroying sexual harassment lawsuit. 

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been slaving away at the office and putting in the extra hours after work. Even if spending more hours with your co-workers isn’t exactly your idea of fun, blowing off an office soiree shows how much of a team player you are. The rule of thumb is to always assume that all company gatherings are ‘mandatory’. The least you could do is to show up and stick around for a least 45 minutes.  

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Make sure you’re not the last to leave. By all means, stick around if the party is great, but insisting on more drinks when the bar is long closed and staggering outside the bar at 3 a.m. will only make a name for you as the company’s party animal.