By Tom Musbach
Mistletoe and egg nog can help make the holiday work party festive, but they can also lead to crazy behavior that coworkers will talk about for years after the party is over.
In fact, a survey of creative professionals turned up some outrageous examples that they heard about or witnessed at company events. Here are some of the incidents:
- "One guy ate the carnations from our dinner table."
- "An employee fell into a cake at the company dinner."
- "One person did an unflattering imitation of the company president."
- "One colleague set another's wig on fire while it was on her head."
The quotes above were gathered in a survey by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for marketing, advertising, creative and Web professionals.
The behaviors described in those quotes are not stunts you should try at your holiday work party.
You Are Being Watched
"Company events are meant to be fun, but employees must remember their actions are still on display for coworkers and supervisors to see," said Dave Willmer, executive director of The Creative Group. "Inappropriate behavior can make a lasting negative impression that's hard to overcome."
"Party fouls" can lead to outcomes worse than momentary humiliation, such as firing. But a review of simple precautions and etiquette can help you have fun and keep your job, not to mention your dignity.
Be Merry and Wise
The staffing specialists offer the following tips for making a good impression:
- Dress the Part: A professional function usually demands professional attire. Avoid clothes that are too revealing or too tight. If you would not be comfortable wearing it to work, reconsider wearing it to the party.
- Mix It Up: Events outside the workplace are good for socializing with people you don't mingle with daily. Have a few topics of general interest at the ready -- such as recent movies or holiday plans -- to help prevent feeling awkward.
- Eat a Bite Beforehand: Try to avoid coming to the party on an empty stomach. You'll be better able to focus on the people around you if you're not monopolizing the buffet table.
- Limit Libations: Alcohol will erode your good judgment. Stay safe by keeping your consumption to one or two cocktails, or don't drink alcohol at all.
- End on a High Note: Do not be the first or last person to leave the party, and be sure to thank the hosts or those who organized the event.