Dr Bev Smallwood

Top Ten Ways to Spoil Your Career at the Holiday Office Party

You've worked together all year. Now it's time to let loose and really party at the office holiday event, right? Wrong. Plenty of budding and even established careers have been derailed when people don't use good business etiquette or when they let poor judgment and self control shine through during the company party.

In case you are professionally suicidal, you can use these "top ten dozen career spoilers" as tools to accomplish your demise. Alternately, avoiding them can save you from embarrassing and sabotaging yourself.

1. Blow it off

If you have more important things to do, or if you don't particualrly like to socialize, just skip the party. You'll probably never be missed.

2. Forget that an office party is more than an office party

Assume that because this is a social event, there are no professional consequences to your behavior.

3. Pretend you're invisible

Assume that no one whose opinion can impact your job will notice your actions. Forget that Big Brother is, indeed, watching. Be the life of the party. You may not remember it later, so probably no one else will, either.

4. Use poor timing

Arrive very late and stay only ten or fifteen minutes, just to put in an appearance. Ignore the fact that if you show up soon after the event begins, you catch people when they are fresh, not worn out from dozens of small-talk exchanges. Another career-limiting choice is to close it down, lingering until the wee hours.

5. Talk only to your buddies

Don't move an inch out of your familiar comfort zone. Don't introduce yourself to anyone you don't know. Here's a great additional tip. Pass up the opportunity to network and schmooze with executives and other influential people you may not see often. They probably wouldn't be interested in talking with you, anyway.

6. Wow them with your outfit

No matter what they said about dress for the occasion, use this opportunity to put on your flashiest, slinkiest outfit. Plunging necklines are great, as are shining belly buttons. Just for good measure, pour on the heavy cologne.

7. Bore and offend

The office party's a wonderful time to air out your gripes or talk to the boss about the raise you've been wanting. Discuss ad nauseum your favorite subject..."me, me, me." Also, feel free to talk about controversial subjects like sex, religion, or politics. Liven up the party and show your talents by telling your best off-color jokes.

8. Pig out on the buffet

Pile it high, and refill repeatedly. Never mind the opinions others will form about your manners and your self-control.

9. Flirt and touch

Take advantage of this time when people are feeling a little more relaxed and when their inhibitions may be down due to a drink or two. Make suggestive comments and do a lot of touching. This will add to the holiday cheer, and who knows where it might lead? You just might get lucky.

10. Drink as much as you want

People will understand if you get a little or a lot tipsy. After all, it's a celebration, and it's the holidays. Everybody needs to blow off a little steam, right? You can be like the person who said, "I knew I was drunk. I felt sophisticated and couldn't pronounce it." Ignore the fact that your attempt to be the life of the party could cost you your job...or even your life, it you choose to get behind a wheel.


When it comes to your behavior at your holiday office party, remember this proverb: "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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