Office Party Etiquette: Holidays

Is your company one of the few holding a Holiday Party this year? Seems like many have cut back drastically, but based on a few questions from readers, I’ll throw this into the mix for those of you celebrating with co-workers this holiday season.

There are two main flavors of the Office Party – during work hours, and after work hours.

During Work Hours:
These Office Parties are meant to be tame. Appropriate attire seems to include cute santa hats on the cute secretaries, ugly sweaters on the not cute secretaries. The accountants will show up with the reindeer parade – don’t make eye contact.

A Director may try to spice things up with sexy red sweaterdress . . . she is single . . . even if she’s married. She probably hasn’t enjoyed her emasculated husband in a decade. Speculation about the intern from last summer…. How is it she manages to find super hot male interns trying to break into the biz each summer? Exactly. Go Cougars.

For you as a climber, stick to the basics. Sure you can do cute tights or put a holiday hat on for the day, but fashioning mistletoe to that hat is verboten.

No – No – No.

Besides, it’s that funky dude in payroll who’d try to kiss you. Do you really want that?

Drinking at daytime holiday party?
Oh . . . tempting, but no. Face it ladies, you are being watched like a hawk. It ain’t fair, but thems the breaks. You want to be taken seriously, work seriously. You won’t win popularity points for this and you won’t be invited to the after hours lush fest . . . but then again, you won’t end up shacked-up with your co-worker. That’s good.

If you want to write your own ticket, stay out of the booze during the day.

After Hours:
Office Party etiquette still applies. No joke. Your party may call for cocktail attire and it may call for “casual.” You get to figure out what that one means.

If it is at your office, be careful. Follow proper booze + copier etiquette. No pushing, no shoving, wait your turn.

Office Party Etiquette . . . What you CAN do with a copy machine.

If it is at an off-site location, even better. When you arrive you can scout exits so you can disappear quickly if necessary. Just a recommendation.

When you arrive be aware of the total space, are there nooks in which you could get trapped with that freaky payroll dude? Avoid.

Do grab a drink, but do stop at 2. Go meet your friends to get your drink on later if you must, but at the holiday party, no-go. Now you’re being watched like a hawk by twice as many eyes.

Think of it this way. When you have a single parent, she can only do so much disciplining. She gets tired, has her own distractions and is generally juggling things. When you have Mom + Step Dad, now they have reserve firepower. And they talk to each other about you and they make decisions for each other about you.


No joke. If your boss thinks you’re mostly okay, but his wife decides that you’re rude, you’re getting stunted the next promotion go-around. She’ll keep reminding him how rude you are and he’ll start to see what he hadn’t seen before . . . even if it does not exist. The context has changed and now you’re labeled rude.

It is your duty to be unfailingly diplomatic at the office party . . . even with that vendor, despite wanting to stuff him in a trash can for the way he wrecked the project time line….

Another gem from the past:

Office Party Advice

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