It's that time of the year again. You hear champagne popping and laughter flowing, both of which seems to conceal any inkling of an economic recession.
Except the location is not a trendy club with music loud enough to split your ears. You are at your office party or maybe a makeshift office space even, where you sip your sparkling wine in a paper cup, and ponder about your quickest but most dignified manner of exit.
The office holiday party is a great time to catch up with colleagues, especially those with whom you don't communicate every day. So unless you work in a family business, you probably wouldn't know their favourite music, the colour of their living room walls or whether they own a pet.
The office party is a social gathering of sort with your workmates. Follow these pointers to get through the din, keep your job AND enjoy yourself!
Dress appropriately. Unless the party is a fancy dress party (then by all means, go in your most outrageous getup!), there are limits to what you should or shouldn't wear. You want to be remembered for your work and not how you showed up in a rockin' mini skirt with cleavage overkill.
Do not drink too much, too soon, especially if you tend to flush easily and ramble incoherently when you're tipsy or drunk. Even if champagne, the most harmless of all alcoholic drinks, is served, overindulging can still lead to disastrous results (ie letting word of gossip that your boss shouldn't know - without your even knowing it)
Do mingle around. The festive season calls for goodwill all around so go on and make an effort to chat with everyone. Besides, time passes more quickly when you make your rounds instead of sticking to your usual lunch clique.
And when I say mingle around, this applies to the senior management too. Take this opportunity to exchange a few words with them, maybe trade a business card or two too. Who knows, they may be the ones to give your career a boost in future. Most importantly, they have seen your face and know you have shown up. That may land you with an 'Excellent' remark under the 'Others' category in your appraisal.
If you get stuck with a person you personally dislike (presumably because you mingled too much), use this trick. When someone you know walks by (anyone!), grab his or her elbow, introduce him or her and exclaim 'Jenny from Marketing was just telling me how her popiah is more delicious than the one we are eating' and when Jenny starts to pour her story, you can slowly start to shift away.
Do not hog the food table. This ties in nicely with the point about mingling; because if you keep moving, there's really no chance of you doing that. However, there are still inconsiderate people who'd be the first to descend on the buffet table. And they are often still seen eating even after everyone is done with dessert.
Put on a happy face. No one likes a grumpy I-wish-I-were-somewhere-else look although they probably feel the same way. But be careful not to come across as fake. Plastering a smile on your face 24/7 is hard work for your jaws.
Before you go, remember to thank the organisers for their efforts in putting the party together. This way, you can also ask whether there are any taxi or parking claims.
These pointers may seem like common sense but when the giddiness of the festive season starts to get in your head, you are better off being warned than left clueless.
Just think of your office party as another part of your job (because it is) and try to enjoy yourself. After all, the office holiday party is the prelude to the much-awaited holidays! Cheers!