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6 Tips to Protect Your Reputation at the Holiday Office Party

6 Tips to Protect Your Reputation at the Holiday Office Party
Alison Storm

Office parties can range from blowout bashes to boring break room gatherings. But no matter what your workplace holiday plans include there could be an opportunity to ruin your chances for that impending promotion. If you plan on cutting loose with co-workers this holiday season here are tips to save your reputation while still having fun at the office party.

Don't Get Too Flirtatious

Office parties can be an easy place to take a fledgling romance beyond the cubicle. According to a recent Harris Interactive poll nearly one in three people have seen someone flirt with a co-worker or supervisor at a work-related outing. Nine percent of those surveyed say they've seen a co-worker or supervisor engaged in sexual activity while under the influence.

Limit Your AlcoholChristmas drink

This may seem like a no-brainer, but getting drunk at the office Christmas party—even if the alcohol is free—probably isn't the best way to make a great impression. Dr. Harris Stratyner, an addiction psychologist, says the holidays are stressful so people are looking for ways to unwind and cut loose.

"We are living in stressful times and many people turn to alcohol at parties to reduce anxiety and escape their daily pressures," says Stratyner, Regional Clinical Vice President at Caron Treatment Centers. "Unfortunately, many people struggle to manage the amount of alcohol they consume and put themselves into compromising situations that could permanently damage their reputation. In many cases, this behavior is a sign of a more serious problem, such as alcoholism, which requires immediate professional treatment."

The poll also found that 28% of workers have seen a colleague drive drunk. If you plan on enjoying adult beverages make sure you have a designated driver.

Think of Social Media

Just about everyone is armed with cameras, so a disparaging photo of you could end up on Facebook or Twitter in moments. People who aren't even at the party will know of your embarrassing antics before you can finish that verse of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. Be careful about posing for photos or putting on a show in front of a video camera because you could end up being the star of a viral video.

Don't Blackmail the Boss

Your boss should be on their best behavior—even at an office party. But real estate agent Karyn Glubis knows that's not always the case. "I recently attended a party where the president was drunk himself and stated financial information and acquisition information that made a few key employees quit right after," she says. "It hurt the company's bottom line and the acquisition did not happen." While that's an extreme case, you shouldn't use the boss's misbehavior as a chance to get that raise or promotion you've been wanting.

Be Careful Who You Bringoffice party

Whether you've been married for 30 years or you're bringing a hot date you met last week on, you'll want to be mindful of who you invite. Their actions will directly reflect on you and Glubis says she's seen spouses spill personal information too. "It is even more embarrassing when an employee's spouse gets belligerent and tries to defend the other against office issues with co-workers," she says.

Maintain Your Sensor

Just like you refrain from saying everything to your boss that you probably would like to during work hours, don't completely let your guard down at the office holiday party either. Approximately one in four people report that they've witnessed a colleague or supervisor sharing inappropriate details about themselves or another employee during an office party. Go ahead and have a fun time, just make sure you feel good about showing your face at the office when Monday morning comes around.

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