Top 10 Work Party No-No's

Stay Classy San Diego

By: Greg Modd

Tis the season for the company Christmas party. Most companies will aim not to offend, so they'll call it a holiday party. Some Christians may find that offensive. Others will say, in the name of inclusion, it's a holiday party. Attending a company holiday party can be an excellent opportunity to network and enjoy the festive season with colleagues. However, you'll want to maintain a professional demeanor. Here are the top 10 things to avoid:

1. Overindulging in Alcohol: Keep your alcohol consumption moderate. Overdrinking can lead to unprofessional behavior. The HR nightmare stories I have from over the years still make me giggle, cringe, and feel sad about their drunken behavior. Drink responsibly. 

2. Inappropriate Conversations: Avoid topics that are controversial, personal, or potentially offensive, such as politics, religion, or gossip about colleagues. Sexually, racially, tragic, or any other type of inappropriate jokes most likely aren't appropriate, so steer clear.

3. Dressing Inappropriately: Follow the dress code for the event. More casual or revealing attire may need to be more professional. This isn't Halloween; it's a holiday party. Even with the ugly sweater theme, when in doubt, there's no doubt, don't wear it. 

4. Ignoring the Company Culture: Every company has its own culture. Be mindful of the norms and values of your organization.

5. Not Mingling: Use this opportunity to network. Sticking only to your immediate team or not engaging with others can be a missed opportunity. Knowing the person processing your payroll may be a good idea if you have yet to speak with anyone in the payroll department. 

6. Poor Etiquette: Remember your manners. Rudeness or poor table manners can leave a negative impression. I'm guilty of this... I always say, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!" When the food becomes available. Generally, people are shy and wait. 

7. Being Glued to Your Phone: Engage with the people around you. Constantly checking your phone can seem rude and disinterested. Which doubles down on point five: do the netWORKing and be the networKING. 

8. Leaving Too Early or Staying Too Late: Arriving and leaving at appropriate times shows respect for the hosts and the event. Too early, the people setting up get flusted because they must put their host hat on too soon. Too late, someone queues the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic and gives you the look. 

9. Neglecting to Thank the Hosts: Acknowledge the effort put into the event. A simple thank you to the organizers is courteous and appreciated. It takes time, talent, and treasure to make parties a reality. 

10. Posting Inappropriately on Social Media: Be careful about what you post on social media. Photos or comments about the party should be appropriate and respectful of colleagues' privacy. You don't want someone like Joey Swoll calling you out for your post.

Remember, the company holiday party is a professional event; balancing having fun and staying professional is important.