Evoluer in the Media > Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Office Party Can Kill Career

At most holiday office parties, you’ll find the usual suspects.

You know the type, the guy commanding the dance floor, the lights on his holiday suspenders glowing as he crosses the floor for another round of the electric slide, or the woman who had a few too many cocktails — and spandex — for the evening.


Then there are the quiet ones lurking by the punch bowl or planted at a table with a frown and crossed arms.


Do any of these people describe you or someone you know? Holiday parties are where open bars and lapses in etiquette and style can lead to “I-can’t-believe-she-did-or-said-that or worse, I-can’t-believe-I-did-or-said that.”


Though there aren’t any official statistics on how many people face termination as a direct result of conduct at the office holiday party, an independent survey by executive search firm Battalia Winston reveals that 85 percent of respondents felt their behavior at the office holiday party did not impact career growth at their company.


“Individuals who decide to cross the line however, still risk the negative association with their manager or supervisor even if they were not at the party,” says Kenneth Arroyo Roldan, a partner at Battalia Winston.


Instead of approaching the office holiday party as a chore or a chance to party like it’s 1999, you should view it as another opportunity to make a good impression and network with colleagues you may not interact with on a daily basis.


“Company parties can bring out the best and worst of your co-workers’ closets,” says Cheryl Ann Wadlington, style director of consulting agency Evoluer Image Consultants in Philadelphia.


She offers the following tips for making the best impression at your company’s holiday festivities:


Keep the location in mind.

If the holiday party is going to be in the company boardroom, you don’t want to be in the sparkly cocktail dress while everyone else is wearing corduroys and turtlenecks.


Know the dress code.

You don’t want any awkward moments. If you’re bringing a spouse or date with you, make sure they know the dress code as well. You want to make as good an impression at the holiday party as you would in the office.


Keep things simple.

No matter the field — corporate or creative — don’t try to be the office hottie. “You may receive a lot of attention but it won’t be the right kind,” says Wadlington. “The next time you are speaking in front of a group or in a meeting, will your co-workers hear you or only think of you in the tight, sexy dress?”


Men can never go wrong with a dark suit and women can always wear a little black dress.


Know thyself.

Knowing how to present yourself and knowing how to behave, go hand-in-hand when thinking of the impression you want to make at the office holiday party. Wadlington offers some more tips on how to navigate the party, once you are there.


At the end of the night, “you want to be remembered for your sparkling personality,” she says, “not your manners or Christmas light suspenders.”



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