CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This time of year brings a plethora of parties, including the office party. Never has there been an event where so many have committed so much career-limiting behavior in such a short time.
Remember, the word "office" is still in "office party." It is a business function cloaked in social context. This is not the time to relive those former fraternity party days. While your boss may not be watching you directly, someone else may be, and their opinion could impact your employment.
Demonstrate your ability to handle business situations of a social nature by keeping the following in mind:
Make every effort to attend the party. Not doing so may be interpreted as disrespect for your company and co-workers.
Dress appropriately. This is not the time to dress in that tight skirt, revealing blouse, T-shirts or tennis shoes. Remember, the way you dress can alter one's perception of you.
Hold off going straight to the bar when you enter the party. Circulate first. Show some constraint and confidence that you can communicate without the crutch of a drink.
Limit your alcohol consumption. This is not the time to "power drink."
If you are asked by an inebriated boss (or anyone else who has indulged too much) to dance, then politely refrain. Nobody wins in this situation.
Eat (and drink) things that you can easily and neatly maneuver with one hand. Try to keep your right hand free so that you will be able to shake hands without offering a wet, greasy or cold palm.
Avoid loading your plate with food. A plate that looks like a mini Mount Everest can make you appear greedy. It's better to get a small amount of food and go back for seconds. It may be a good idea to eat beforehand so that you are merely tasting the food at the party, and do not have to carry on a conversation between chewing and swallowing.
When being introduced to someone, it is important that you look them in the eye and shake their hand.
Refrain from political and religious conversation topics and inappropriate humor.
Do not attempt to make a pass toward any employee or employer.