Expert warns against ‘going wild’ at office holiday parties
With the holiday season upon us, you may be gearing up for your company's annual holiday party, but some experts warn this is not the type of function where you should "let your hair down" and go wild.
"It's important not to lose control. You can drink, but make sure you stay sober, because it's really easy for people to do outrageous things when they've had too much to drink," said Barbara Pachter, president of Pachter and Associates and author of "The Essentials of Business Etiquette."
Pachter said it's not wise to drink too much while among coworkers because "there's lots of bad things that can happen when you drink too much."
"You can say things, you can do things, you could post photos on Facebook that you shouldn't be posting, you could tweet comments about people that you shouldn't be tweeting; and people can start flirting when they're drunk, and do you really want to flirt with the bosses spouse? No," Pachter said.
She told the story of one young man who became so intoxicated at a holiday party that he cursed out his boss and was fired on the spot, "and then couldn't understand why his badge didn't work the next day - he had gotten fired and had no recollection of it."
According to Pachter, even if you don't feel like attending the company holiday party you need to remember this is really a business activity, even though it is taking place usually outside of the office. She also said this type of gathering is not the proper place to try and begin a relationship with a fellow employee.
"You don't want to make a move on people, but you can get to know them," she said. "So if there is somebody in another department that you think you're interested in, what a great opportunity to talk to that person, to get to know that person; but you don't start flirting there, because everybody is going to see, take it outside."
The bottom line, Pachter said, is if you behave appropriately at a holiday party, the boss will have confidence that you can also behave appropriately when you take clients and customers out for businesses lunches or similar events.
She also said at the end of the evening "make sure you say goodbye, don't sneak out, thank the host, and depending on the situation write a thank you note."