I.M.H.O: Beware the Office Holiday Party

December 14, 2010 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

I.M.H.O (In My Humble Opinion) is an ongoing series of posts written by guest authors who have been there, done that…and have great stories to show for it.

The Doctor is in! Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified coach trained in the field of organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy! He has appeared on CNN International, Fox News, Fox Business, Daytime, CBS, and the Bravo Network.

The holiday season is in full swing, which means your office holiday party is likely just around the corner. These always seem like a great way to get on the management radar screen, particularly if you are an intern. The casual setting and festive atmosphere make for a great opportunity to strike up conversations with decision makers and influencers you typically wouldn’t get the chance to chat with. However, the holiday party can also be an opportunity to fall prey to some fatal missteps. So, when hitting that first office holiday party here are two common situations you should avoid:

“Free alcohol” doesn’t mean free-for-all: The open bar or unlocked liquor cabinet can be dangerous. Trust me… the first office party I ever went to is still a blur. The last thing you want is to wake-up to fuzzy memories of monkeying around with the photocopy machine or doing shots with the boss. Or his daughter. Bottom line, set your drink limit before you go to the party.

Avoid the office gossip column: This is a big one and often goes hand in hand with the first. I have seen many a colleague get baited into a conversation with the office gossip only to regret it later. Keep in mind these often engaging people are looking for allies to support their cause…and juicy tidbits to spread around the office the next day. Count on anything negative you say—about a colleague, a new project, your experience at the company–being shared out of context and in the worst possible light. Talk sports, holiday plans, food, whatever…but keep it positive.

Reputations have been shattered and opportunities have been lost all because of a little (or a lot of) holiday overindulgence. Again—work events can be a great chance to increase your visibility with management, but hopefully not in a way that would land you on the Fail Blog. Holiday words of wisdom: don’t get too comfortable, steer clear of the gossips, and go easy on the eggnog!

Dr. Woody’s new book, The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy! is now available in bookstores.

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