Avoid Office Mishaps With These 5 Holiday Party Don’ts

It’s this time of year again—parties and get-togethers and dinners with family, friends, and of course the unavoidable office holiday party.

No matter how casual, office holiday parties can still have an impact on your reputation at work. So before you put on your party outfit and head out to the venue, review these holiday party don'ts to avoid embarrassment… and maybe consequences on your career.

1. Obviously—don’t drink too much

This is the most important don’t of all. Many people use the holiday party to relax, have fun and bond with their colleagues. That’s great. But drinking too much—to the point where you are losing control of what you say or do—can hurt you more than on the morning after.

Know your limits, alternate alcohol with water and eat during the evening.

2. Wear appropriate clothing

The office holiday party is not a Friday night at the club. It is still a professional event, and you should remain professional even in your clothing. Gentlemen have fewer issues with this, so this is mostly for women. You can add some sparkle and shine, but don’t go over-the-top with sexy dresses or short skirts. If you wouldn’t wear it at work, don’t wear it at your work party.

3. Don’t flirt

Sometimes, especially when alcohol is present, we can be tempted to flirt with colleagues, even innocently. However, your colleagues may not see it that way. Think about how you are perceived at the office—would you like to be known as a flirt for weeks to come? Probably not.

4. Don’t use offensive language

Again, many of us tend to let our guard down in the presence of alcohol and in casual situations. But we strongly suggest you keep that offensive joke for your friends, as your colleagues may not take it so lightly. As always, if you wouldn’t say it during a normal day at work, don’t say it at the party.

5. Don’t forget your guest

If you are allowed to bring a guest (your spouse, usually), don't forget that you are responsible for his or her behaviour. What he or she does and says will reflect directly on you, so make sure that your guest acts by the same rules as you do.

Photo by Mr. T. in DC.