A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
If your idea of a festive holiday party is one in which you drink
heavily, cozy up to your boss and carry on intimate conversation, you
might need to change your ideas. If youíre looking forward to a little
dirty dancing or the chance of winning the title of best karaoke singer at
the company party this year, you probably wonít. Go ahead and have a good
time, but you might want to tone down your behavior a bit.
Whether youíre at the company picnic, the holiday party, a convention, or
celebrating someoneís retirement or promotion during happy hour, you have
the opportunity to either strengthen or weaken your relationship with
others. Act as if your behavior is being observed every minute, because it
If you wonder if your attendance matters, it does. You might not be
required to attend, but your absence will be noted. When you are a ďno
show,Ē you show you are ďnot interested.Ē This does not help you look like
a committed team player or caring coworker.
If you canít decide what to wear, decide to play it safe. If it isnít a
company picnic, donít even consider wearing jeans, tank tops, or shorts.
If it isnít a costume party, donít wear anything so shocking or unusual
that your clothing is the topic of conversation. If it isnít a black tie
formal affair, donít wear full-length, slinky, or sequined dresses or a
tuxedo. And if it isnít a swimming party (which most business events are
not), donít bare your midriff, your buttocks, or breasts.
If youíre planning on arriving ďfashionablyĒ late, make another plan.
is late. There is nothing fashionable about it.
If alcohol is served, think before you drink. If you get ďwasted,Ē youíve
wasted a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your self-control. You donít
have to apologize for not drinking, but you will have to apologize if you
get drunk and do something foolish.
If you want to stand out and be noticed, get up and move around. You are
at a social event; socialize. Donít huddle in a bunch with your work
buddies; get up and move around. People canít see you, let alone notice
you, when youíre sitting in the corner.
If you see people you do not know, get to know them. This is an ideal time
for you to introduce yourself to those you donít ordinarily see or get to
talk to, including company executives.
If youíve got a lot to gripe about, keep it to yourself. Celebrations are
meant to be celebrated. Try to keep your conversations light and upbeat.
If youíre not sure if you should bring a guest, donít. Just because youíre
invited to bring a guest doesnít mean you have to. You might feel more at
ease if you donít have someone else to look after or worry about.
If you think you are ready for love, think again. No matter how hot that
guy or gal from accounting is, this isnít the time or place for you to do
something about it.
If you think you can slip away and no one will know you are gone, you are
wrong. Itís just as easy to keep track of those who stay as it is to
remember who left early or didnít say good bye.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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