It’s been on your calendar for weeks, maybe months, and now it’s right around the corner — your office holiday party. This is such a busy time of year, so the party might feel like a bit of a burden — just one more thing you need to do. However, if you are especially friendly with a group of people at work, you might be looking forward to it. Chances are, your feelings are somewhere in between. So, how can you get the most out of this semi-mandatory event with kinda-fun potential?
(Photo Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr)
Here are a few ideas.
1. Don’t skip it.
It’s understandable that you’re tempted to find an excuse to get out of this one. You’re tired after a long year, you have a million things to do for your life outside of work, and sometimes these parties feel kind of awkward. Still, people are expecting you to be there, looking forward to seeing you even, and they will notice if you don’t attend. Sure, this event isn’t critical to your actual job, but having good relationships with your co-workers is, and there is some real potential to build those bonds at this gathering. So, go. It might end up being more fun than you think.
2. Have a drink if you want, but don’t overdo it.
This really goes without saying, and is a general rule to be applied to all work-related events, even if it’s just a casual, elective, evening with some of your friends from work. Still, the holiday party warrants a reminder as it’s often a time when folks go too far. You don’t want to wake up the morning after the party worried about something you said or did, nor do you want to be the focus of the next day’s office gossip – you’d like to enjoy the little vacation time you have, not be mulling over the repercussions of the holiday party that you didn’t even really want to go to in the first place. Not worth it.
3. However, do enjoy watching others who have gone too far.
Hey, somebody has to make this a party, right? And, surely someone, probably a group of someones, will. Smile politely when they over share, laugh (with them not at them), when they dance like no one is watching. Hang out with the people who seem to be having the most fun, and your night will surely be more interesting, entertaining, and enjoyable.
4. Remember, this party is to thank you for your hard work.
The free food, maybe an open bar, the cheesy decorations, it’s all for you. You could probably think of other ways you’d rather be rewarded, a cash bonus perhaps, but, this is what you get. So enjoy it. You work hard, and feeling appreciated goes a long way sometimes. It might not be much, but a free nacho bar never hurt anyone either.
Have a good attitude, mingle, meet co-workers’ family members, talk to higher-ups that you don’t usually see in a casual setting, and you just might make some connections that could help you professionally. Avoid talking about specific work projects, this is a party after all, but do speak about your long-term goals and vision for the future of the company. You might just forge some relationships that will help you down the road.
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