Good Advice: Drinking with Coworkers
Janice from Accounts Receivable has waited all year for the office holiday party. Janice buys a new dress. Janice comes to the party early. Janice takes advantage of the open bar. Janice orders a gin and tonic at 6p. The party started at 5:30p. Janice orders another one at 6:45p. By 7:15p, the partners arrive. Janice is feeling loose and sees Pete from Corporate. Janice hits on Pete. Pete is married. Janice orders another gin and tonic. By 8:05p, Janice is two sheets to the wind and has grabbed the microphone to perform one horrible rendition of "Single Ladies." Pete calls Brenda from HR over and asks Brenda to order a cab for Janice.
The next day Janice carries boxes to her car....
We've all been there - witnessing the socially awkward co-worker who goes a little too hard at the office party. Some of us may have been Brenda - called in to neutralize the situation. Regardless of who we are, what does it take to not be a Janice?
My mentor gave me some great advice when I started my first job: "always go to the office party; arrive 10 minutes early, order one drink, sip it, stay 90 minutes and make sure the person in charge sees your face." That advice has worked well for me. I encourage my young mentees to be smart about interactions. What happens in one night becomes tomorrow morning's news, so it's best not to be a headline.
Here's a tip - you never want to lose your head at an office party. Having a game plan helps you keep things in perspective. Maybe you think this is too much pressure to put on what should be a purely "social" activity, but let's be honest - there is nothing "purely social" about the office gathering. It's work - you have to be alert and smart and strategic.
So what's the advice? Office politics vary from company to company, but at the core - there is a common rule of thumb for each company: DON'T BE JANICE. Pace yourself, eat something light, and most importantly, remember that losing your cool is so not worth losing your job.
What soft-skill career advice have you received that has helped you?
Photo Credit: Quentin Dr