Compiled ByTraci Purdum The season for office parties is upon us. If the thought of mixing business with pleasure makes you squirm, get over it for your career's sake, says The Creative Group, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing service. "Missing one company activity probably won't impede an employee's career prospects, but being a perpetual no-show can cause a firm to question that person's enthusiasm and loyalty," notes Tracey Turner, executive director of The Creative Group. "Attending the office party can help staff members raise their visibility companywide and build camaraderie with co-workers." However, Turner advises against attending parties just for free booze and juicy gossip. Other tips include:
- Make a point to meet a least two people outside of your usual circle. These contacts may prove valuable in the future.
- Wear festive attire, but don't overdo it. If appropriate, dress up for the event, but keep it conservative.
- Eat beforehand. You don't want to be anchored to the hors d'oeuvre table.
- Limit your alcohol intake to one drink.
- Brush up on table manners. If you're not sure which bread plate is yours (the one on your left) or what to do with your napkin when you are done with your meal (place it neatly next to your plate), find a reference source to review.
- Know when to say farewell. Make your exit with the bulk of the crowd. Be sure to express your appreciation to those who planned the party and to your manager before you leave.