Posted by Brian McCullough
It’s coming. This week or next. The office holiday party.
The office party has gone into legend not because of myths, but because, all too often, the myths are real. Can you avoid making ill-advised pass at the married guy in accounting you’ve had a crush on? Can you keep from telling your boss what you really think of her? Will you end the night with your underwear not worn outside your clothes?
Can you survive the office party with your reputation (and maybe your job) intact? Here are ten timely tips:
- No alcohol. Or other drugs, really. I know, it sounds party pooper-ish, but this one “party hack,” as it were, can solve all your problems. And it can be fun. Just think. For once you could be documenting the atrocities, not causing them.
- Remember, this is still work. Yes, the neck ties are loosened, but truly egregious behavior will, in the end, be policed as having occurred in a workplace environment. Keep this as your manta: this is still work, this is still work, this is still work…
- Dress appropriately. Dressing fun is one thing; dressing to kill is another. In the end, don’t show up in anything you wouldn’t show up to work in the next Monday morning. See point number two, above.
- Make a mental note of potential land mines. Avoid them where possible. Think about it… you can’t tell that SOB off if you don’t allow yourself near him all night. The same goes for embarassing confessions, romantic flings, etc. Stay in a dialog with your sober self: if you told yourself to stay away from something or someone when the party started, don’t ignore your own advice later on… no matter how much fun it seems at the time!
- Engage the services of a wingman. Set up a drink or behavior limit ahead of time and ask them to police you. Do the same for them. It might be a good idea to inform them of your mental mental land mine list. Your wingman can keep you honest.
- Eat before arrival. This will not only keep you a bit more sober- if you’re calorie conscious, eating before the party will help you keep from destroying your diet at the party.
- Don’t be afraid to leave early. The worst atrocities often happen toward the end… or long after the party should have started winding down.
- Don’t dance. Simple enough. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, should keep to ridiculing those who do from the sidelines.
- Avoid the cameras. You want to be seen, not remembered. You might be able to avoid taking a hit for events that people have a hazy, drunken recollection of. But if there’s hard, cell-phone camera evidence, there’s nothing you can do.
- If you screw up, play it off. The best strategy for damage control is to take a, what-can-you-do attitude. Hey, it was a party. You did some crazy things yourself, guy. Don’t judge me.