DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTIES
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2004
It’s that time of year when there’s lots of agonizing and hand-wringing about whether to attend holiday office parties. This usually occurs because of misguided expectations – namely, that the office party is supposed to be as much fun as a night out with your friends. Wrong. The office party is a work-related activity even though its focus is social. This doesn’t mean it has to be a total bore, but chances are greater than not that you won’t have the time of your life at one.
You Need to Attend
Boring or not, you need to attend your holiday office party and that of your significant other if you are invited. These events allow bosses to show their appreciation and applaud your contributions to the company, even if all that is offered are a few munchies and drinks. This helps the organization salute you for a job well done throughout the year and fosters the type of bonding that occurs in families that routinely get together on holidays, for example. You’re a member of the team and, as such, will be expected to make an appearance, so go. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy yourself too while you’re there.
Remember that the Party is a Business Event
It can’t be emphasized enough that the office party is a business event. Don’t let your guard down and dress or behave as if you’re off-duty in the privacy of your home or in a discrete social setting. If you get loud when you drink, leave the booze alone. If you tend to hug a buffet table until you’re stuffed, eat a snack before you head out to the party so you won’t behave as if you’re at your last supper. Don’t try to fix an empty social life by flirting with co-workers or scouting for dates. Avoid hunkering down with the office gossips to get caught up on the latest news. This is a time to mix and mingle. It is not the time to be identified with any one faction within the company – certainly not any that is viewed in a negative light. Maintain professional decorum. Think twice about what you do or say.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
The holiday party is a perfect time to take advantage of rare networking opportunities. Corporate big whigs usually make some effort to attend these events – which gives you a great chance to meet them personally and to (briefly) work in a line or two about your contributions to the company’s success. Of course, feel free to expound if more time is extended to you. It’s a wonderful opportunity to increase your visibility with local executives too – particularly if you’ve been giving some thought to seeking promotion into their department. But, skip the hard sell. This isn’t the time or place for that. It’s simply a good time to be seen and to meet people you otherwise never would get to talk to in person or who never would put your face with your name and role in the company other than at an occasion such as the holiday party.
Though not usually required, it’s a fine gesture to send thanks to those responsible for organizing the company’s festivities. Even upper level executives enjoy being appreciated for the things they do. Likewise, the committee of employee volunteers who may have handled all the leg work for your company party will enjoy hearing a “job well done” too. Saying “thanks” takes little effort and marks you as a class act.
Holiday office parties don’t have to be a drag. Think about what you’d like to accomplish, whom you’d like to meet — before you get there — so that you can make the most of the event even if it isn’t that much fun. Take the opportunity to get to know the people you work with better and to leave positive impressions. Doing so might make it a holiday party to remember after all.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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