It’s Christmas party season and by now HR should have sent an all-staff email warning you that 'It is a work function and an appropriate standard of conduct is expected' - Oh really ?
Much of the focus is normally (& rightly) on sexual harassment and bullying - but there are plenty of other ways to have your night – and career – ruined.
I have catalogued the way you can torpedo your career (or at least have regrets the next day) at the office Christmas party, so here we go:
1) Consider the future when you consider your costume
Back in the day we had a themed 'Dress as a Favourite News Story Christmas party'.
Themed parties seemed like fun at the time.
There's the boss, carrying around an enormous rock on his back, he's dressed as a 'Trapped Chilean miner'.
Barry from HR was dressed as 'Pippa Middleton’s arse' – not Pippa Middleton the person – just her arse!!
Then there was Amanda from accounting, wrapped in a blood-splattered sheet - 'Bin Laden’s corpse'.
And there you where - I can’t say exactly what you wore but your work-wife was dressed as 'Boko Haram'.
There’s a video of her on Facebook running around the party trying to kidnap all the junior girls from the office.
It would appear that photo evidence will preclude a jump into politics for any of the above.
They can never be part of public life.
Nowadays we are wiser; You never, ever wear a costume to a Christmas party.
2) Look at me!
Hey I know I am junior right now cannot help you in any political, office-y way.
But I am a person! One day I might be important!
But even if I am not, I am STILL A PERSON.
So when you are talking to me at the Christmas party, don’t look over my shoulder, scanning the room for someone more important, so you can leave our conversation mid-sentence when I am telling you about driving my dad to chemo.
I know you’re scanning for someone more important.
It sucks. I used to admire you and worked up the courage to talk to you, but now I think you’re a dick.
Look at me!
3) Don’t be the last to leave
You’re having so much fun.
You don’t know these people well – Sharon is from payroll and Sean has something to do with IT – but they are your new best friends, you’re going to have lunch with them every week and have already told them about your taxi expenses scam and your work crush.
They are so understanding and actually listen to you, not like your own team who left hours ago.
Losers! You are going to kick on with your new best friends – Shereen and Dean – or whatever their names are; you are going to the only place open in Port Macquarie at 3am: McDonalds !
You are just going to have one last round (Quarter with fries, apple pie & shake) and you are going to tell them again how much you love them, because you REALLY DO.
4) Be careful of getting into Ubers with colleagues
Chris lives right near you! You’re leaving at the same time! Why don’t you just split a ride?
Sounds reasonable, but your colleagues don’t see that you’ve made a financial arrangement and saved $20.
They see you leaving the party and going home with another colleague.
They think instead of negotiating who to drop off first, you’re actually asking “Your place or mine?”
When people ask the next day if there was “any gossip from the party”, they will be getting high off the fumes of your unlikely affair (“I’ve never even seen them talk to each other, that’s how careful they are!!!”).
5) Employer exclusion zone
At the Christmas party, pretend your boss has an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) out against you and you cannot approach within 30 metres of him or her.
If you approach them, imagine getting tasered.
Remember the last time you thought you’d talk to your boss at the Christmas party?
It all came out. How you didn’t like him at first.
How when he said that thing in the meeting you thought he was stupid.
But how he’s really getting there, he’s really improved, and don’t you think in light of the fact he’s improved and you’re giving him all this really great feedback at the Christmas party, you deserve a pay rise?
In the words of the Fourth Wise Man, Ronan Keating: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”
6) The bad-angle Facebook tagger
Is there anything worse than waking from the office Christmas party, hungover, and finding you’ve been tagged in dozens of photos posted on social media.
There you are, in all your horrible glory: cross-eyed, triple-chinned and with one weirdly large hand.
Of course she looks good – it’s her photo!
She probably deleted all the pictures where she had a chin that looks like a claw hammer, but where is her duty of care to you?
7) Bring your own cigarettes
There is only one smoker in your office, Gene, who everyone shuns because he stinks up the elevator and takes so many smokos that it’s now like his work constitutes small breaks in his smoking regime.
Yeah, Gene is generally hated.
But not tonight! Everyone loves Gene because Gene has the smokes.
And the party is full of people who are drunk and have regressed to their 20-year-old selves, their smoking selves.
All over the party, there is only one conversation: “You got ciggies? Who’s got ciggies? Gene’s got ciggies? Where’s Gene?”
Gene is already spending $250 a week on ciggies. Bring your own.
Blessings on your journey !