By Clark Turner
It’s the most exciting time of the year for those who work in the marketing industry. If you’ve got the right connections you could find yourself being invited to a party every night of the working week in December.
Christmas launches, office parties, catching up with work contacts over drinks… the list goes on.
To some outside the industry it might sound like a dream come true, with access to a free bar every night. But when the alarm rings the next morning, will you still have your self-respect… and your job.
A national survey of employees found over 90 per cent of normally professional colleagues admitted to indulging in embarrassing behaviour, including arguments which developed into fist fights.
Two thirds of office workers knew of affairs which started at company get-togethers and just under 30 per cent regretted something they had done at the party.
The most frequent included insulting their boss, fighting with other members of staff and causing damage to the venue.
Other scandalous tales include the PR who got on her knees and made the deputy editor of a well-known men’s magazine very happy, or what about the employee who was sick over their boss.
So how can you steer a clear course and avoid the pitfalls of the Christmas party season?
Don't drink too much. Perhaps easier said than done but it’s rule number one. Drink less, drink more slowly or alternate between from alcoholic and soft drinks. It’s also a good idea to eat too to soak up the alcohol, so if there’s food on the go, then take advantage.
If you’ve decided not to drink telling your party pals you’re on medication that doesn’t allow you to drink may be the line to take. It’s a lie, but you can gloat the next morning when the rest of the team are suffering.
Here’s another trick. If your usual tipple is gin and tonic then, at the party drop the gin and drink just tonic. Nobody will know but you.
Don't force drink on anyone who doesn't want it - they may have to drive or cannot drink for medical or religious reasons.
Do remember in a way you are still working so present yourself in an appropriate fashion.
Don't arrive dressed inappropriately as a pantomine dame despite it being the festive season.
Do try to talk to people you wouldn't normally come across - this networking may help you in the long term in terms of forging alliances, helping get things done or raising your profile which may help promotion.
Do hold your drink in your left hand. This means that if you are introduced to someone your right hand will not be cold and clammy as you shake their hand.
Do look as though you are enjoying yourself - even if you aren't (you never know who is watching).
Do make sure you know how you are getting home – leave in time to get public transport home or order your taxi in advance.
Don't make passes at other members of staff - especially if you or they are married.
Don't tell the boss how much better you could run the company than they do.
Don't photocopy or fax various of your body parts. It’s so 30 years ago and no one wants to clean up your nasty germs.
Don’t dance on the table with a lampshade on your head. The office party is not the time to let down your hair or throw caution to the wind. What you say and do on night will live on for a long time in the minds of your associates.
If your behaviour is inappropriate, your career may be shorter than everyone else's memory. If you conduct yourself with charm and savvy, your rise up the ladder of success could pick up speed.
Do offer to help clear up, if it is that kind of venue. You could earn yourself some brownie points.
Do say thank you after the event to the people involved in organising it - you can bet that not many people will and those who spent time in the planning will appreciate it.
Don't phone in sick or turn up late the following day.
If it all goes disasterously wrong at the party it’s not the end of the world. It might be the end of your time as an employee, but not the end of the world.
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