So, it’s the work Christmas party: the one day a year you can let your hair down and wear flashing bauble earrings in the presence of your boss. Play it right and you’ll have a ton of gossip and new pals…play it wrong and you’ll be riddled with embarrassment until someone takes the baton of Most Inappropriate Person next year.
Here’s our Seven Deadly Sins to avoid…
1 Snogging a colleague
There are two likely scenarios here:
1. You’ve shared an office with them for a year and yet it’s only now, under the influence of the company’s heavily expensed Merlot, that you fancy them. Sure.
2. You’ve never seen them in your life before, and yeah, they’re kind of cute and look totally adorable in a novelty reindeer tie over their suit. But you know the law of averages? Yep, you’ll be sharing a lift with them tomorrow and avoiding their eye as you’re strategically wiping off last night’s mascara with the sleeve of your shirt. Keep away from the mistletoe.
2 Arguing with a colleague
Perhaps worse than the snog. Ok, so you’ve just found out who they voted for/what football team they support/they broke your One Direction mug and denied it. Just let it go. Instead, channel your aggression back in the office by (very) loudly saying ‘oh, are these Justin Bieber concert tickets yours?’ whenever you’re by the printer and see them approach it.
3 Going too crazy at the buffet
We get it, you haven’t so much as had a free Hobnob in the office all year, and now you’re presented with a plethora of pigs in blankets. But shovelling in sausage rolls for the entire evening doesn’t look entirely professional, so leave some pastries for everyone else and limit each helping to what can actually fit on a napkin.
4 Only socialising with the people that you share a desk with
Your desk buddy who doesn’t mind you humming Destiny’s Child and loudly opening crisps at 3pm may be your work wife, but chances are, you have the opportunity to natter with her every single lunchtime. And you’ll be gossiping with her tomorrow on your fourth trip to Starbucks to soak up the shots from the after party, so use this opportunity to go and network with someone new. It’s the one time a year you can ask them what they got in their Secret Santa and wow them with your dazzling conversation beyond the realms of invoicing and IT support, so use it. However, this takes me on to…
5 “Networking” while drunk
You know when’s a good time to make a good impression on senior staff? Basically, any time you’re doing your job well. You know when’s not? When your cheeks are flushed, you’ve forgotten your own job title, and you’re holding two drinks (“I’m looking after my friend’s drink while she’s in the loo!” isn’t fooling anyone). I once had a friend who cringed as he told me he remembered his VP of International Marketing politely declining his suggestion to go to Wembley Kebab for a “catch up”.
6 Getting absolutely blind drunk in the first place
Work dos are meant to be boozy – that’s an unspoken rule – but there is a limit. A good principle is: if you start thinking it’s a good idea to suggest Single Ladies or Billie Jean to the DJ simply for the opportunity to show off your dance moves, it’s time to order an Uber.
7 Not making it in the next day
You know what’s not being raised? Your salary. You know what IS being raised? Everyone’s eyebrows. It’s the day after the night before, everyone is feeling rough, and your boss will probably accept bleary eyed employees unsuccessfully covering up the faint smell of tequila for this one occasion. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve already dripped egg yolk from your Sausage McMuffin over yourself and your productivity is borderline zero. You’ll probably be allowed an extra long team lunch to nurse the headaches and recap the finer details of the after party, so there’s no excuse – just show up.