Dress Accordingly

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-12-07 Email Print this article Print

Furthermore, dont be afraid to order a drink if they are provided. According to a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va., 70 percent of human resources professionals say drinking is acceptable at their organizations holiday parties.

If nothing else, it might even make you look like youre having a good time.
5. Wear Your Torn-Up Circa-1987 Guns N Roses Live T-Shirt
No matter how many times you company tells you that the office holiday party is a great time to "relax" and "just have fun," odds are pretty much overwhelming they dont mean for you to wear the clothes you probably have the most fun in, be it skimpy club gear, the jeans you last painted your house in or the "1-0-1-0" t-shirt. Not only do you make yourself appear unprofessional, its unnerving for people to see extra skin on their boss or work buddy, and its an image not quickly forgotten when you are at your next budget meeting, begging for more spare change to properly fund the next upgrade. Unless the invitation specifically says "dress down" or "jeans okay," dont wear anything you wouldnt wear to work on a casual Friday.
6. Bring Uninvited Guests No matter how precious, adorable and brilliant you find your shrieking child who is currently tearing the bar napkins into a pile of shreds for the landing of the rocket he or she has build from plastic forks, odds are good that a lot of your co-workers dont share your pride. Why its time to lose the snide IT attitude. Click here to read more. In addition, they may resent you for bringing along your wee one when they had the wherewithal to hire a babysitter. Its a no-win situation, and could have been avoided with a quick call to the partys organizers to check if family members or friends were allowed as guest. Click here to find out whats on tap for IT pros in 2007. "Its becoming less and less common to have family members at parties due to cost reduction. So make sure you pay attention to the invite. If you do bring guests, make sure they are appropriate for the environment and if youre in doubt, ask your supervisor," said Halverson. In addition, yes, you do need to clean up that pile of forks when your child tires of them and moves onto yanking the pant legs of all of the holiday revelers, looking for you. 7. Spend the Whole Night Only Talking to Your Office Buddies As tempting as it may be to stay inside your comfort zone, that being all the people you speak to every day, your company party may be the only time you have all year for a real, casual face-to-face chat with the CEO. Take advantage of this and get to know some new people. "Make sure the people who should, know that you are there. Say hello to your boss and bosses first and stretch yourself a bit, introduce yourself to people you dont know," Halverson said. "Even if its just talking to a few people, as long as youre not just talking to the same people you always do, youre doing great." 8. Bore People with Shop Talk So you sidle up to the vice president you have always wanted to talk to and you introduce yourself and then, well, what do you say? Heres a hint: he or she probably is not hoping for an update on the project your team is in the thick of. Its not that the VP doesnt care about the progress, its just that they talk business all day, every day and a little break from shop talk is always welcome. What type of conversation rarely falls flat? "People almost always like to talk about themselves, whether you may ask them how they got interested in IT or what they did prior to coming to the company," Halverson said. "You can keep it work-related, but not specific to the current work you are doing. Peoples comfort zone is almost always talking about themselves and odds are, youll find you have at least one thing in common." 9. Assume People Wont Remember Your Foot-in-Mouth So, you stepped in it. You asked about one or perhaps all of the taboo subjects when you were speaking to the guy who is next in line for CEO—be it a raise, a favor, a criticism or you slipped and said something derogatory about your manager. Now you must fix it. "Apologize for the misstep. Tell your boss what happened before they hear it through the grapevine. Get out in front of the problem. Dont think it will go away; if anything it will circle and cycle and only get worse," said Halverson. The mistake might not matter as much as how you handle what comes after it, experts say. So deal with it and move on. 10. Forget Your Manners Last but not least, dont forget your ps and qs. If the invitation requires a RSVP, respond either way; if the office party is being hosted at your bosss house, bring a gift; and even if the party is in a grand ballroom, thank your hosts or boss before you leave. Better even, dont stay until last call. If that party ends at 9 p.m., you dont want to be remembered as the last guy to get another round before your crew was not-so-gently asked to leave. No matter how good the company, its just not that kind of party. Like your mother always told you: a little manners go a long way. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIOInsight.com.


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