How to Handle the Office Party

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The office party.  It’s meant to help boost morale and help people get to know each other better.  But it can also present challenges – a tricky maze to navigate.

What workers should always keep in mind about the office party is that it is another aspect of the workplace, and they should act with that in mind. It’s definitely not a party with family and friends. It is certainly a time for enjoyment, but it is also an opportunity to network with people in other areas of the company, and even the people in charge.

There are, however, some things you should avoid when it comes to office parties, if you don’t want to offend anyone.  The first is not showing up at all.  If you don’t put in an appearance, you may give the impression of having a little too much ego.  Plus, you miss the opportunity to network.  Another thing to avoid is mingling only with people you know and not meeting new people.  The office party is a place to make yourself known.

Also, you want to thank the person or people who organized the party.

Make sure that it’s acceptable to bring guests before you decide to bring a friend.  And then you need to make sure that your friend will fit in with your co-workers. You will need to fill your date in on the organization as well.  He or she also should dress appropriately, know who the company leaders are, and stay away from gossip.

Another thing to watch is how you dress. The rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the one that you have.  Leave the nightclub attire for the nightclub.

You also want to watch any criticism you make of the company.  The wrong word said at the wrong time could end up affecting your career.  You want to have good things to say about the company, without looking too much like a yes-man or -woman.

You also need to be careful of the language you use – nothing off-color, or discriminatory.  And it may be an obvious point, but good manners apply at the office party as anywhere else.  Make the proper introductions, and watch how you eat.
The office party can be a great opportunity, if you handle it in the right manner.

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