’Tis the season for holiday parties, which also means it’s the season when career dreams can be dashed faster than you can say, “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer. . .”
To avoid the aforementioned from happening to you, here are some creative rules to live by during this holiday season:
1) If you’re wondering whether you should have another drink at the office party, you shouldn’t, because your save-yourself-from-embarrassment regulator is kicking in.
2) If you’re thinking of telling a co-worker he or she is “hot,” leave the party immediately. Nothing good will ever come of this unless a marriage occurs.
3) If you’re thinking of telling your boss that he or she is “hot,” you should have left the party several hours ago. Maybe it’s time to polish up that résumé.
4) If you find yourself starting a sentence with the words, “I really shouldn’t say this,” don’t. The same goes for, “I really shouldn’t tell you this, but . . .” In fact, anytime you find yourself saying, “I really shouldn’t”—well, you shouldn’t! Take your own advice.
5) Similarly, if you start telling a joke by saying, “I’ll probably get in trouble with HR for saying this,” stop immediately! If you do tell it, chances are you will get in trouble with HR. In general, any preface to a joke is a warning sign that either the joke is really lame or you shouldn’t be telling it in the first place.
6) If you find yourself talking to the CEO, it’s not the time to give him/her your billion-dollar idea that your immediate supervisor is too dumb to recognize as anything less than brilliant. Furthermore, if you put your arm around the CEO while telling him/her your billion-dollar idea, start looking for a new job immediately.
7) If you’re over 35, generally speaking, and you think you’re a great dancer after you’ve had a few cocktails to loosen up—trust me, you’re not. The only exception here is if you work for a stodgy old law firm where ballroom dancing acumen is regarded as a career-enhancing skill.
8) If you think the boss’ husband or wife looks bored standing by him or herself, resist any impulse you have to ask for a dance. Nothing good can come of this (unless, again, you’re a great ballroom dancer working in a stodgy old law firm).
9) If your archrival is at the party and you begin to think that perhaps you’ve misjudged them, you’ve either had too much to drink, or said archrival has slipped something into your drink. Leave immediately. If your archrival has had too much to drink, now’s the time to use the video feature of your smartphone for anonymous posting on YouTube.
10) If you ignore all the above and make a fool of yourself, don’t make lame excuses like, “I’ve been on an antibiotic, and it must have reacted with the champagne toast at the beginning of the party; I really don’t know what happened after that.” Rather, discreetly talk to any of the people you think you may have offended, apologize, and never speak of it again. Regardless of how difficult it may be to apologize in person, don’t send an email. Emails can show up in your personnel file.
And remember, at office parties, nothing good ever happens after midnight. That goes for you too, boss.