The following is an excerpt from my book, “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force” which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. The book offers advice regarding how to manage our personal and professional lives. As a part of this, I found it necessary to discuss how to behave at company parties.

Company Parties

During your employment, you will undoubtedly have to attend some company sponsored parties, be it a year-end party or simply going out for a drink with the boss. Your attendance is important as the company is trying to relieve some stress and promote camaraderie among the workers. If you are married, bring your spouse (if they are invited) as companies tend to like to create a family-like environment. If the spouse refuses to attend, it will send a negative message. But assuming they are going to attend, be sure to brief your spouse prior to the function on any pertinent politics so he/she will not accidentally say something inappropriate thus causing an embarrassing situation to make you look bad.

Yes, it is time to relax and unwind, but it is also time to be on your toes. Alcohol tends to loosen the tongue so do not imbibe to the point of drunkenness. Now is not the time to tell off your boss or coworker. Do not say something you will live to regret, such as revealing a dark chapter of your past or how you screwed something up at work, which is how rumors are started. Keep cool and collected. If you are leery of alcohol, order something that looks like a regular drink, such as club soda and lime (which could pass as a gin or vodka tonic) or apple juice (which easily passes for whiskey). This leads people to believe you are a social drinker, yet allows you to maintain control over your faculties.

Aside from this, company parties tend to loosen up inhibitions and allows you to get to know your fellow workers and boss on a more personal level. Also observe protocol in regards to smoking. Some people enjoy a good smoke, others vehemently dislike it. Do what is suitable for the occasion.

If you are ever put in charge of coordinating a company party, make sure it is a success and accommodates everyone, especially if it is the year-end holiday party. Companies take such parties seriously and you are often measured by how successful the party is executed. For example, I have a friend who served at IBM in New York years ago, and was saddled with the company holiday party where families were invited to attend. He quickly found this to be a big responsibility. Nonetheless, he put on a great party where everyone enjoyed themselves. He even had a Santa Claus there to deliver a present for every child in attendance. And best of all, he delivered the party under budgeted costs. In fact, the party went off so well, that his career at IBM took off immediately thereafter.

“Do not underestimate the power of the company party.”
– Bryce’s Law

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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