How to survive your office Christmas party

With the middle of December quickly approaching, Christmas party invitations are probably piling up in your inbox – especially ones that are work related. Finally, you can let your hair down, your gut out and leave your constricted monotone corporate uniform at home; and party uninhibitedly with your colleagues and perhaps, reveal to your office crush how much you love her…

Think again.

Next week when you realize that your ingenious ideas at the office are being dismissed or you’ve been pulled off of an important project because your colleagues doubt your professional abilities. In retrospect, dancing on the table and the impromptu striptease at the company Christmas party may just not have been the greatest of ideas.

Company holiday parties are a tricky middle-ground where you’re supposed to hang out with your colleagues, let loose, and have fun; but you can’t have too much fun or your entire office will be whispering about you behind your back. You, have to keep that balance.

Here are a few tips to insure you’ll survive your company Christmas party:

Drink responsibly
Don’t throw back chasers after shooters or drink a dozen of Kenya’s finest beers and end up as a roaring drunk on tables dancing, with your tie as a hair accessory. Being known as the office drunk is a reputation that you won’t be able to shake off anytime soon. Be prepared to be judged by your superiors and star in infamous office jokes. Know your alcohol tolerance and remember that even though this is a party, it’s still an office party. If you see a colleague slipping in to trouble, don’t stand there and watch the show – help them.

Don’t be a slob
Bad eating manners directly reflect one’s upbringing and competence as an individual in the society. So, don’t over eat. Don’t drip tomato sauce on your shirt or wipe your hands on your clothes. As office parties are meant for mingling, be prepared to be chit-chatting a lot – so, don’t try to engage in conversations with your boss when you’re holding kuku in your left hand, a glass of wine in your right and chewing on tough nyama, all at the same time. If you’re never invited to a lunch meeting with a client, now you know why.

Choose your +1 wisely
In most cases, I would avoid bringing a +1, guest, to office gatherings because of two reasons: one, if they don’t know anyone at the party you’ll have to chaperone them the whole night; and two, if they’re your significant other or just someone you’re seeing, the potential of colleagues passing judgement is high and as a result, you’ll have to deal with office gossip post-party.

In the event that you do bring a guest with you, make sure they’ll be just as well-behaved as you. I know you want to show off a rare beauty on your arm, but leave the chips funga at the hotel, and only bring people that won’t risk your reputation at the office.

Secret Santa and gift-giving
Please keep your choice of gifts office-appropriate – no lingerie etc. If there are rules, then follow them – especially when it comes to price. Lastly, be a good sport and participate in the gift-giving exercise because it shows you’re a team player.

Avoid verbal diareahea
Yes, company Christmas parties are suppose to be a relaxed event where employees can actually socialize and enjoy the holidays without the daily stresses like being chased by the Johns in Accounts. However, think before you speak and avoid verbal diareahea. What you say to a colleague at the party may be taken out of context and then featured in the latest issue of office gossip.

Cupid’s love
So you think your colleague is amazingly hot and intelligent or you’ve been crushing on leggy-Ann for the last year and you’ve finally decided to share your feelings. Do not. Romantic relationships are meant to be dealt with in privacy and not under the criticizing eyes of your colleagues. Can you imagine if your feelings are dismissed in front of everyone? Crawl under the nearest table.

Be grateful
Finally, make sure you acknowledge the hard work of your colleagues who have put into organizing the holiday bash. Be sure to thank the hosts of your party to ensure that you won’t start 2012 in someone’s bad books.

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