Surviving the End-of-Year Silliness

Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is coming – and with it, the annual round of office parties and invitations. For some, this is simply a time to enjoy being together outside work. But for many, end- of-year functions are fraught with traps and contradictions. How do you socialize in a human way with people who may be senior to you and who may make decisions about your career? How do you deal with people you may have had some conflict with? And what if you just hate workplace parties and enforced fun, but feel that you have to put in an appearance anyway?

Remember that the intention of a boss who holds a Christmas function is almost always genuine. Even if your boss is clueless, and even if this is the only time of year when the management seems to offer you any validation at all, the bosses who organize the functions want them to be successful, and therefore want people to have a good time. All it takes for you is three simple rules.

  1. Remember that you are AT WORK. Even if you are in a bar or a function center, and even if you are on personal time, if it’s a work function, you are still socially AT WORK. Don’t share confidences or make comments you would not make at work, and don’t engage in behaviors that are not acceptable at work.
  2. This is not the time to settle scores, lobby senior people or try to advance your cause. That kind of pressure at a work function is the last thing people want. Just being yourself and being positive causes people to associate positive emotions with you, and is the best advertising you could hope for.
  3. Do be yourself. All anybody wants at end-of-year functions is to laugh and have a good time, and if there are speeches, even then people are just trying to show you their good intentions. After you’ve respected rules 1 and 2, relax, act naturally, and let it be what it is.

You never know, you might enjoy yourself more than you think.

If you are wondering how to handle end-of-year issues, give me a call on 202 257 5593. We aren’t consultants, so all advice is free.

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