Holiday work parties can be a total social minefield, whether you work for a giant corporation or a small creative company. Then again, peppermint schnapps can pretty much turn any situation into a potential shitshow. Some coworkers can mix business with booze easily, but for others, it creates a weird power shift between your boss and your fellow coworkers. They’re a great excuse to drink on someone else’s dime for a change, but just remember that instead of swapping war stories over brunch, you’ll be recounting the evening over stale coffee and spreadsheets. That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind before you lose yourself in Spanx and rum punch.
Beware of Cameras
Last year my office had an open photobooth where you could snap away and instantly print out all the photos your heart desired. They failed to mention that all the photos taken that night were going to be published on a website for the entire company (think 700+ people) would be able to click through and buy off the site. If you think Facebook tags are bad, you can imagine the kind of damage control that needed to be done. Even if it’s not some random person snapping away on their personal camera, keep in mind that photos are these sorts of events tend to make the rounds faster than you can say “I was wearing underwear goddamit”.
Choose Your Date Wisely
I learned my lesson after taking a date to one of the holiday parties of Christmas past, which was later referred to by one of my coworkers as a “Greek tragedy”. It’s fine to bring your boyfriend/girlfriend, but they’re usually going to be bored if you’re the only person they know and will probably not be as amused by your coworker’s rendition of the worm. Same can be said for a friend who’s tagging along, if it’s a huge gathering, you might end up doing a little babysitting during the night. If there’s one occasion where it’s almost better to go stag, then a work office party is definitely one of them. Plus no one wants to see you sucking face near the water cooler anyways.
While you’re busy working on your third Tom Collins, Peggy Olsen wannabe in the corner is making nice with the HR people. I work in a building where a lot of different companies share a space, so networking is key at these kind of adult “mixers”. Last year a girl went from being a temp to scoring a full-time, salaried position all because she chatted up different people at the holiday party. So while it’s fine to indulge on your time off, it’s important to keep your shit together, at least enough to throw around the words “optimize”, “synergy” and “social media expert”. Sometimes it works to mix business with pleasure.
Just because some ladymag says Jewel Tones are in this year, doesn’t mean you should grab the shiniest thing on the rack and call it a night. Maybe I’m not in a position to give advice about this considering I wore red and black seamed stockings at the last work affair, but then again, it all depends on how dark the room is. You may be a slob at home with a meth problem, but keeping up appearances is what being a “professional” is all about. So leave the school girl knee-highs in the drawer and invest in some seamless underwear. You’ll thank me later. Guys can pretty much get away with anything, unfortunately that meant two not just one, tuxedo shirts at last year’s party.