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The Work Party!


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Enjoy the Event, Without Blotting Your Career

You could be celebrating a special occasion, observing a holiday tradition, or just letting off steam at the end of the week. Whatever the reason for your work party, avoid waking up to regrets and possibly a ruined career.

What people forget about work parties

The venue might be your office, a restaurant, pub, cruise boat or just about anywhere. Regardless of location, it’s called a work party because you are still at work. Everything you say and do is on display and your colleagues and managers judge you accordingly.

Five reasons why work parties are dangerous

  • Fatigue. It’s been a long week, or a long year. You put in the hours and wore yourself down. So now you are tired and more likely to blunder.
  • Booze. Everybody likes a drink, especially when someone else buys it. It’s always surprising how quickly “just one more” becomes one too many.
  • Jungle rhythm. The beat of the music gets you moving and there’s a great feeling in the room. You get caught up in the pulse and throw caution to the wind.
  • Personality change. The other you, your party persona, wants to take over. Before you know it, you lose control.
  • Guises and disguises. Dressed down or dressed up, people look different. You forget that a casual setting is no reason for a casual attitude, and tell the boss what you really think. Your colleague looks really hot in cocktail attire and you do something stupid. Enough said.

Work party survival tips

  • Never arrive with an empty stomach. Eat before you go to the party, or have a filling, alcohol-free lunch during the day. This lessens the impact of party drinks.
  • Have your taxi fare home. Always have a credit card or enough cash to get a taxi home afterwards. As a backstop, know the location of the nearest ATM.
  • Learn how to say “no”. This is one of the most useful words in the English language, especially at the work party. Use it when people offer to pour you drinks you don’t want. Or when someone who’s intoxicated suggests giving you a lift home.
  • Alternate drinks. Once the party swings into gear and you start having fun, it’s all too easy to drink more than you planned. Alternate every alcoholic drink with a soft drink to avoid an early exit or a potentially embarrassing situation caused by drinking more than you normally would.
  • Keep opinions to yourself. Letting rip with your ideas on what’s wrong with the organisation, or why certain people should lose their jobs, might seem like a good idea at the time. It never is.
  • No flirting, ogling or giving unwanted attention. Making a pass at a member of the opposite sex usually just looks tacky. On the other hand, if it progresses you could jeopardise your reputation and theirs, and hurt your respective families and loved ones.
  • Avoid becoming a target. Other people are responsible for their own actions, but be aware that some things you do may encourage them. Wearing provocative clothing if you are female is one example, especially if your colleagues are used to seeing you in conservative business clothing. Being the party clown is another, regardless of your gender.
  • Silence the inappropriate language. If you wouldn’t speak that word or tell that joke at work, keep it quiet at the party too.
  • Never drive home under the influence. If this needs explaining, just skip the party.

After the party

What happens at the party should stay there. Keep gossip to yourself, because something you say might damage another person’s reputation. Also, when people learn that you spread the story, your image might be tarnished too.

Visit our Careers Advice section for related articles.

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