Workplace Rights

Weekly (12/1/14)

Topic of the Week  Party Time: Surviving the Office Party

 Party Time: Surviving the Office Party:

  • Don't buzz.
  • Don't skip.
  • Don't wing it.
  • Do get on their radar.

Ever notice how some words just don't go togetheré Like jumbo shrimp. Or airline food. Here's another, office party. Do they just create these things just to make us crazyé Or are you one of those people who actually looks forward to the office party. Either way, it's making a comeback. 

It's no accident that I used the phrase "office party." Because even with lots of decorations and alcohol flowing, surviving the office party is all about putting the office part first. And like everything else at work, you need to prepare in advance. Here are three Don'ts and one Do to thrive.
Don't skip. Many feel like the office party is similar to that regular tooth cleaning at the dentist, not painful, but something to skip. Remember, your company is laying out money for the party, you don't want to slap the powers-that-be across the face by not showing up. And when you do show up, have the biggest smile possible glued onto your face.

Don't buzz. Just in case your boss's spouse is suddenly hanging on your every word, the last thing you need is to be drunk. Heck, to be impaired in any way. I realize that if there was ever a time that you needed a buzz, it would be the office party, but just don't go there.

Don't wing it. It's a good idea to have a few "raps" ready for the party. Both non-work topics, like volunteer gigs, kids and pets. Keep it safe and upbeat. I'd also bring an exciting work idea, or two. just in case your boss's boss is in an especially good mood. Or even better, if they appear to have a slight buzz going on as they stand across from you.

Do get on their radar. This is your chance to merchandize yourself to people you often don't get to have access to the rest of the year. Not just the mucky mucks, but also managers from other parts of the company. Go in with a game plan about who you wan to talk to. Again, don't just focus on work, be prepared to talk about non-work interests with them. How do you find out this stuffé Easy, visit their Linkedin or Facebook page. Heck, you can even try to check out their office to look for clues about their personality.There are a lot of ways to be known within your company. But, in my experience, having the phrase "He's the guy at the office party who [let your imagination fill in the blanks] is never a good way to be known. Having personally responded to over 50,000 emails I've heard them all. People getting sick in the potted plants and others who said inappropriate things to a HR staffer. But if you go in with a game-plan the company party can actually help your career.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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–Dr. Seuss

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