Those of you who have been following my articles may remember this one from December 2011. I believe the topic is so important it is worth a rerun.
This is the season of many social gatherings in workplaces around the country. The annual company holiday party is long awaited by employees everywhere. Some happen on a small scale within departments during work; some happen in the evenings at the homes of managers and co-workers; some are in restaurants; and yet others are grand black-tie affairs. Tis the season of much merriment. TIS THE SEASON OF TARNISHED REPUTATIONS AND DAMAGED CAREERS.
The same professional style and demeanor cultivated and protected during work hours, must be cultivated and protected in business social settings. Consistency is the key. COMPANY SOCIAL FUNCTIONS ARE NOT THE PLACES TO LET YOUR HAIR DOWN AND SHOW HOW HARD YOU CAN PARTY. You must work while you play. Well doggone Marsha, that’s not even a party. You are correct! It is a social event at which you are working! Forget what they call it. You must remember you are W-O-R-K-I-N-G!
A short story about someone you may recognize. I’ll call her Suzie. Suzie was a junior professional on the fast track with her career. It was her first company holiday party and she wanted to make a big impression.
Suzie decided to wear her favorite skin tight, Christmas Red, plunging neckline dress. She had the figure for it and wanted to show her co-workers a “different side” from her conservative work self. Rather than go alone, she took as her guest a guy she had just met. At the party, all eyes were on Suzie. She was wearing that dress! Suzie had several drinks past her 2-drink limit. It was an “open bar”, the drinks were “free”. She danced hard and talked loudly. Her date also had a roaring good time and talked non-stop with everyone in the room.
The next day, Suzie was the talk of the office and the talk was not positive. She lost serious ground with her reputation and her career; all because she thought it was just a party and forgot it was work.
WORK WHILE YOU PARTY AT COMPANY “SOCIAL” FUNCTIONS – no matter the day, the time, or the season, keep working.
DRINK HALF YOUR ALCOHOL LIMIT OR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES – “free” alcohol can be very costly. You must be in control of what you are saying and doing.
DRESS LIKE YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED ON MONDAY MORNING. Women must be especially cautious. It is difficult to have co-workers think of you as a serious professional once they have seen you in a Cat Suit.
MAKE SURE YOUR GUEST/ESCORT/SPOUSE KNOWS YOU ARE WORKING. They are there to support YOUR business and career goals, not their own.
These are tough lessons but ones critical to on-going success in the workplace. Most of the “after party talk” about your party behavior – good or bad – will happen behind your back. My purpose here is to remind you there will be talk.