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7 Tips to Help You Stay Out of Trouble at your Work Christmas Party!

IS THE SEASON…

It is getting close to the season to be jolly, and therefore the office Christmas party.  Here are some tips for not being the subject of an investigation by HR the next working day:

1. The golden rule of course is don’t sexually harass anyone. 

This goes without saying, or at least it should.  That topic is way too big to cover in one small blog post but alcohol, a party atmosphere, and a general feeling of relaxation of socially acceptable rules can lead to people doing extremely inappropriate things.  Don’t. Just don’t.  If you happen to witness someone being harassed, please don’t just stand by watching someone do this.  Step in, and take the person being set upon away.  Then follow up with them the next day to make the perpetrator apologise.

2. Digital photos and people with cameras are not your friends

Baby boomers are very glad they grew up in the age where digital photos didn’t exist and there was also no internet to instantly upload photos. Social media can be fun –  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are easy ways to share photos.  This also means it is easy for everyone else to see you having SUCH a great time (as you down your 14th bevvie, with another in your other hand).  If you upload photos late in the evening it usually means someone is going to be embarrassed, and DON’T, whatever you do, put your firm name to anything that might cause embarrassment.

Related – beware the photo booth and mistletoe.

3. This is not the time for confessions/complaints

The Christmas Party is not the time for teary confessions of attraction/love or indiscretions.  It is also not the time to tell HR Manager about the number of times you called in sick but actually weren’t – that instead you ‘just couldn’t be ‘f***ed coming to work.’  HR Managers remember all of these conversations because they have to stay sober and be ready to hold someone’s hair back while they are sick.  And they are annoyed already because of that.  Please don’t make it worse for them.

This is also not the time to air grievances about work colleagues or, in fact, the boss.  Especially to the boss! Even if he or she is a (insert your preferred offensive name here) there is no need to say so. That is a very career limiting move.

4. So you think you can dance?

Dirty dancing was a terrific movie – not so great when a very drunk, usually sweaty, person attempts it, especially with someone who doesn’t want to participate.  Oh, and if ‘Whip It’ by Devo comes on, or ‘Wild One’ by Flo Rida & Rihanna – it is never a good idea to jump on someone’s back and pretend to whip that person like a racehorse.  Refer to points 1 and 2 above.

5. Leave at a good time

Nothing good ever comes from staying until 2am.  Leave when you can still get a cab and you’re then not tempted to go back to the party.  Also, if someone from HR or your boss politely suggests, through gritted teeth, that it is time to go home and puts you in a cab, keep going until you get home.  Don’t tell the cab driver to drive around the block and go back in.  Seriously, no matter how witty and erudite you think you are, you’re not.  You are like the bad uncle at Christmas lunch no one wants to sit next to.

6. If the boss makes a speech – don’t heckle.

Chances are he or she is sober and will remember the clown who heckled during the rousing and inspirational  ‘thanks for a wonderful year, have a great night’ speech to the troops.

7. Keep your clothes on

Obvious.  Nothing more needs to be said.

HAPPY SILLY SEASON EVERYONE!

MAINTAIN MOMENTUM – CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE

Is anyone else exhausted already?  Christmas is so close but there is so much to do – work to finish, demanding clients, presents to buy, food to think about, relatives to worry about, and Christmas functions to attend.

Christmas should not be a time of stress, but it often is. The perfect pictures of non-arguing families sitting down to enjoy Christmas lunch or dinner, is not the reality for many.  In fact, I found this Aldi advertisement to be so honest it was almost depressing!  But it is also quite funny, albeit a little bit confronting.

Christmas, like 30 June, is a deadline for many work matters.  Everything has to be done by what is an artificial date in some clients’ minds, or an actual commercial deadline.  The looming deadline, along with personal pressures, can place pressure on your personal resources and impact your ability to cope.

So if you are working right up to Christmas with deadlines, demanding clients and colleagues as well as a diary that looks set to explode if you try and squeeze one more thing into it, how do you best survive the silly season?  [And on that note it is called the ‘silly season’ for a reason!].

Focus

What are the ‘must do’s’ between now and Christmas from a work perspective?  Focus on those and get them in your diary, staying focused on the important things.

Limit your social events

You may be invited to numerous celebratory events or get the ‘we must catch up before Christmas’ email.  The latter can easily be turned into ‘let’s catch up before February’. Why we can go a whole year without social interaction with some people and then feel the need to see them before Christmas is beyond me.  Choose carefully which events you will attend and which you don’t need to attend.  There are also some you can stay at for a long time, and some you can stay for a limited time.

Look at your diary

On that note, look at your diary each day.  Becoming overwhelmed can happen when you least expect it, but if you look at the diary and groan at the beginning of the day with the number of things you have to do, it’s time to ditch something or practice taking lots of deep breaths.

Look after yourself

As hard as it might sound, limit your alcohol and food intake – aside from the fact that you need to wake up refreshed each morning, ready to start the day and keep going, no one wants to discover on 27 December that they have gained three kilos.  Try and get some exercise – it is not only good to help keep your weight down but is good for your mental health.

Keep going – the finish line is almost there and you can start 2016 in a good frame of mind.

What are your best tips for not only surviving but also thriving in the silly season?

Christmas Networking – What is worth saying yes to

‘We must catch up before Christmas’ someone says to you on the phone as you open yet another email with an invitation to a pre-Christmas drinks function, and your heart sinks.

Networking has never been more important, to raise your profile and that of your firm, and build your personal brand.  At this time of year, it seems that you could be networking full time and not doing any actual work.  Leave aside the fact that you need time to purchase Christmas gifts and plan for lunch with relatives.

So it is important to maintain your equilibrium and stamina at this time of year, and also maintain your focus.christmas nextworking

Work is still important and must remain your main focus – keep the Christmas break in mind as you work through the days until you can have a break.  Make a task list at the beginning of each day and review it at the end of the day and week.  Just like 30 June, 24 December is usually a deadline for a lot of clients wanting their work done so that they can enjoy the break too!

Choose your events carefully – there will be many invitations coming through the mail, email and social media, and these will not just be work related.  Ask yourself if you need to say ‘yes’ to all of them?  If work related, will clients be there?  If no one’s feelings are going to be hurt and it feels like it is just ‘one more thing’ you need to attend you should probably politely decline.  If it is a friend you haven’t seen for a while, suggest a catch up early in the New Year when it is a bit quieter, and set a date for that.

Look at your diary carefully – if you have already accepted three invitations in a week, a fourth will probably be too much.  Look at your diary as well for work related deadlines – going out for Christmas drinks to be followed by karaoke is also fraught with danger if you have a major deadline the following day.

Keep an eye on consumables – and by this we mean your weight.  Drinks and canapés are plentiful and you will gain weight if you are not careful.  Just having three drinks is the equivalent of an entire extra meal, so rethink the cheese platter at the end of the night.

On that note try and get exercise at the beginning of the day.  Not only will it help keep the weight down, it will clear your mind and give you energy for the day ahead.

Only 4 weeks to go – you can do it!

Stamina – Christmas is just around the corner

‘We must catch up before Christmas’ someone says to you on the phone as you open yet another email with an invitation to a pre-Christmas drinks function, and your heart sinks.Stamina

Networking has never been more important, to raise your profile and that of your firm, and build your personal brand.  At this time of year, it seems that you could be networking full time and not doing any actual work.  Leave aside the fact that you need time to purchase Christmas gifts and plan for lunch with relatives.

So it is important to maintain your equilibrium and stamina at this time of year, and also maintain your focus.

Work is still important and must remain your main focus – keep the Christmas break in mind as you work through the days until you can have a break.  Make a task list at the beginning of each day and review it at the end of the day and week.  Just like 30 June, 24 December is usually a deadline for a lot of clients wanting their work done so that they can enjoy the break too!

Choose your events carefully – there will be many invitations coming through the mail, email and social media, and these will not just be work related.  Ask yourself if you need to say ‘yes’ to all of them?  If work related, will clients be there?  If no one’s feelings are going to be hurt and it feels like it is just ‘one more thing’ you need to attend you should probably politely decline.  If it is a friend you haven’t seen for a while, suggest a catch up early in the New Year when it is a bit quieter, and set a date for that.

Look at your diary carefully – if you have already accepted three invitations in a week, a fourth will probably be too much.  Look at your diary as well for work related deadlines – going out for Christmas drinks to be followed by karaoke is also fraught with danger if you have a major deadline the following day.

Keep an eye on consumables – and by this we mean your weight.  Drinks and canapés are plentiful and you will gain weight if you are not careful.  Just having three drinks is the equivalent of an entire extra meal, so rethink the cheese platter at the end of the night.

On that note try and get exercise at the beginning of the day.  Not only will it help keep the weight down, it will clear your mind and give you energy for the day ahead.

Only 4 weeks to go – you can do it!