What to do (and not) at holiday parties
For some reason, a company that markets a product to clear up bloodshot eyes sent me a press release about how to behave at office Christmas parties. You'd think the New Year's season would be more of their kuleana. Bloodshot eyes are thick on the ground around New Year's.
But it is a good idea to review appropriate behavior at office parties because many a career has been wrecked by one too many trips to the punchbowl and/or copy machine this time of year.
"Office holiday parties can be tricky, from what to wear, to how to behave, to how to face the next day when you may not be feeling your best," confides an expert hired by ROHTO V Eye Drops. (Oh. I think I see the bloodshot eye connection now.) "Be bright-eyed in the morning. Get to work early because being late to work screams 'hangover.'" And the last thing you want when showing up late for work with a hangover is anything screaming "hangover!" You could just stay home on the morning after the office Christmas party, but that screams "Find a new job!" (Unless you took your boss, boss's spouse or the head of the Department of Human Resources and Job Attendance home with you after the party.)
"Look festive yet professional," says Allison Dickson, ROHTO V's image consultant.
So, I guess if you are, say, a brain surgeon, show up at the party in your surgical scrubs and clown shoes. Women should not dress like prostitutes, unless that is their profession. Then they should look as professional as local obscenity laws allow. Dickson disagrees: "Women should keep the outfit simple and sophisticated but not too sexy." There does always seem to be that one quiet, librarian-type of office clerk who suddenly shows up at the office party looking like Jenna Jameson or Miss Kitty from "Gunsmoke." And God bless her.
Men should carefully consider what is appropriate headwear at Christmas parties. Things not to wear on your head, fellas: lampshades, prime rib, white pillowcases, hamsters, bad toupees and clerks dressed like Jenna Jameson. Things to wear on your head: nothing.
"Have fun but know your limits," counsels Dickson. "It's been shown that people who go out socially and can have fun with their colleagues and clients are more successful."
Less successful are those who quaff 18 margaritas, take their department heads quietly aside and threaten to kill their dogs and burn down their houses if they don't quit bossing them around all day. Don't ever threaten your superiors at Christmas parties. Save that for the New Year's party.
Dickson says nothing on the subject of dancing at Christmas parties. I will. At most office parties, employees will be invited to dance. This is a trap. To dance at a holiday party is to subject yourself to 12 months of subsequent ridicule by your fellow office workers and a possible video appearance on YouTube. If you get the urge to dance, sit down, have another margarita, take the hamster off your head and apply a lot of eye drops.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at email@example.com