How To Handle Holiday Parties Professionally

Company holiday parties are right around the corner. For those new to the work force, this may be your first time attending an office party. For those that are veterans of the company holiday party scene, this post will serve as great reminders for things you should and should not do at the holiday party.

Holiday Party

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Holiday Party “Do’s”

The first thing to do is to talk to your boss. You don’t need to talk about an account or what happened that day at work, but work on getting to know them better, on a personal level. This connection helps you to better understand their needs and concerns, which helps you at work to help them out.

The next thing to do is to network with those in other departments. These interactions can lead to opportunities that you may not have thought of. Even if it doesn’t lead to opportunities, you get to learn more about your company, which can help you in your current role and it will allow you to build and strengthen relationships.

Holiday Party “Don’t’s”

The biggest and most obvious don’t is to not get drunk. Every holiday party I’ve been to, someone ends up getting drunk. The sad thing is the aftermath of the drunken night. Some people I’ve known were fired within a few days of the party. Others, while not fired, were never promoted and most eventually left the company. Feel free to have a good time, just make sure you know when to stop so that you aren’t that person.

Another don’t is not going. Unless you have something else planned that cannot be changed, it’s important to go to the party. You don’t have to stay all night, but show up, work the room, and feel free to leave.

A third don’t is to not show up wearing clothing that you wear out to the club or out on a Saturday night. Even though this is a party, it is still a business function. This isn’t saying that you need to wear a coat and tie, but you should dress accordingly. All office parties are different, so if you are unsure as to how casual you can dress, you best bet is to ask your boss.

Final Thoughts

Overall, holiday office parties are intended to be a great time. After all, the idea behind them is to thank employees for all of their hard work throughout the year. Take advantage of this time by attending the party and networking not only with those in your department, but also with others that are in other departments that you don’t interact with on a regular basis.

Be sure to thank your boss and other key management personnel for the event. If you are in a large company, don’t think twice about sending a thank you note to top management thanking them for the party. It’s seems insignificant, but you never know if it might lead to something in the future.

13 Responses to How To Handle Holiday Parties Professionally

  1. Good points! I totally agree that it’s a great time to network with others within the company. I’ve noticed that it’s easy to stay in your cliques at these types of gatherings, so be mindful to talk to others…at least before you get a couple of drinks in you. :)

    • When I first starting going to these parties, I stayed with my group of friends because that is where I was most comfortable. But then I sought out my boss and was able to network with other departments through his introductions.

  2. Man, it was so hilarious to see a colleague DRUNK OFF HIS ASS at one party. Slurring, stumbling, hitting on female colleagues. Gotta say, it was entertaining! He got fired the next year though.

    S

  3. Definitely don’t get drunk. You career at your company will never recover…

  4. I’ve been to a few holiday parties now. My company I work for is pretty small but it’s great because everyone knows each other. Last year I went to my BF’s party which was this huge corporate thing. Man was it strange. There were I think 1500 people and absolutely no way anyone could network because there were just too many people. I sure did love the free food and drinks though!

    • Same here. My company is small so we all know and interact with each other. Then I go to my girlfriend’s party and it’s the complete opposite. Huge amounts of people. Many inside jokes. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, just a completely different experience.

  5. Squirrelers says:

    We are ALWAYS being evaluated at work, and realistically – we evaluate others as well. Whether we consciously think about it or not, this tends to be the case. Be mature, professional, and positive. And, goes without saying, completely sober! :)

  6. We got told that we get no holiday parties this year due to budget concerns. I normally enjoy sitting back and watching others make fools of themselves only to see them after the break and show them the photos :p

  7. I guess I was lucky that my office never had Christmas parties!

  8. This is a great post, Corey. As an introvert I tend to not enjoy these parties as much as I should, but that was mainly because I was newer to my company. Now that I’ve been there a couple years I know more people so it’s easier to be comfortable and in turn easier to meet new people as well. I’m sometimes jealous of the people who can go to things like this who are brand new to a company and are comfortable as can be.

  9. lol.. I definitely say do not get drunk at the holiday party or get to overzealous with dancing. I’ve seen some nasty stuff go on before.

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