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Tips for Behaving at Office Parties December 20, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee.
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It’s that time of the year again.  Come December, you and your colleagues will have your calendar full with activities related to the holidays — shopping, gift-giving and parties.  If you’re a new Pinoy employee and don’t know how to behave during office parties, this post is for you.  If you’re a Pinoy employee who’s made the rounds before, this post might still have some things to offer.  Here are ways on how you should behave during office festivities (your company’s or your client’s) and avoid making a fool of yourself:

Know the dress code.
Office parties can be informal affairs, which means wearing a pair of jeans and a shirt is probably acceptable.  However, there are those that require you to wear something fancier or at least, dressier — something that fits the festive occasion.  If you’re unsure, ask someone, such as a close colleague or the organizers.  That way, you don’t come to the office party in a gold lame shirt while your colleagues dressed in their office/business suits look on in amusement.  You wouldn’t want to feel out of place, right?  If you truly don’t care, that’s all right too.

Don’t eat too much.
The loaded buffet table and the open bar are not enough excuses for you to gorge yourself.  There’s really no need to heap food onto your plate like there’s no tomorrow.  Besides, if there’s a lot on your plate, you’ll be forced to finish it — bad news if you’re already full.  Just imagine having to sit in front of a half-finished plate with table scraps that could feed two Dobermans and a Rottweiler.

If you have a really good appetite, try getting just enough and finishing your plate.  You can then come back for seconds. 

To avoid overeating (and possibly getting a potentially embarassing stomach upset), get a snack a few hours before the party.

Know how much drink you can handle.
One thing that never ceases to amaze (and annoy) me is the fact that people who are already so drunk that they could barely stand up straight still find it difficult to refuse another glass of alcohol.  They then end up acting like fools during the party, embarrassing their colleagues and themselves.

If you’re the type who gets drunk easily, refrain from drinking.  If you like your drink, don’t view your office party as an opportunity to gulp down free booze.  Great if you can handle your drink and really horrible if you can’t.  If you’re not sure how you’ll behave with a little drink (such as if you’ve never drunk alcoholic beverages before), do the mature thing and stick to non-alcoholic drinks.  If somebody offers you a drink, refuse politely and make some excuse such as, ‘I get gastrointestinal problems if I drink.  I could do that now but I don’t really want to ruin the party in case my stomach goes berserk.’ or ‘I got high blood pressure.’ or ‘I will be chauffeuring people later.  Don’t drink and drive.’

Going easy on the drinks could also save your career.  Imagine being so drunk that in spite of your better judgment, you go straight to your cute boss and say, ‘I’ve always thought of you as the hottest guy/girl I’ve ever laid my eyes on.’  Then imagine how you’ll feel next Monday.

Maintain your composure.
Yes, it’s time to get down and have fun but it’s still an office party.  Don’t gossip — about anyone, say thank you, be polite during food queues or make off-color jokes that could offend someone.  Have fun, yes but don’t lose your manners.

Know your utensils.
Most office parties let you use a fork and spoon and that’s it.  Depending on the stuff that gets served, you might even be a knife may even be included.  If the party is a sit-down lunch or dinner, then expect some sort of table arrangement to be present. 

The utensils that get set down before you can seem overwhelming, particularly if you’re not used to more formal table arrangements.  However, don’t let yourself be intimidated.  Just remember that when it comes to using the utensils, it’s always from the outside in.  That means using those which are located to your extreme left or extreme right first.  As the dinner progresses and the dishes change, simply switch to the next utensil.  If you’re unsure, just do as the rest of the people in your table do. 

Having problems using the fork?  Understand its mysteries here.

To give you an idea of what a formal table setting looks like, here’s a link you might find useful.

Should you bring a guest?
That will depend on the type of party your company is hosting.  To be on the safe side, ask the organizers.  If your company is hosting a sit-down dinner, it’s usually a semi-formal or formal affair.  Bringing Junior along may not be a good idea.  Imagine sitting through a lovely dinner and having your kid squirm and demand to go ‘wee-wee’.

Furthermore, if office the party is a catered affair, it’s likely to be on a per-head basis.  The budget may not include employee guests.  To avoid unnecessary embarrassment or some awkward situations, ask before having someone tag along.

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