For many in the corporate world, the holiday season means one thing, and one thing only: that the office holiday party is right around the corner—along with the typical advice on how to survive the party without denting your reputation. But such advice is offered in entirely the wrong spirit—it operates from the assumption you need to be told how to behave, and preys on a fear that a lot of people have: that one mistake will end your career.
Any amateur psychologist will tell you that when your fears dictate your behavior, your behavior will be fearful. And anyone who's ever been to a party will know that a room full of cagey people trying their best not to slip up does not a good time make. And if you're not planning on having a good time, what's the point of a party?
Holiday party advice tends to overlook one thing: these events are supposed to be fun. They're supposed to reward employees for another year of hard work, and to facilitate a collegial spirit in the workplace.
With that in mind, then, here's what you should do this year:
Go to the party. Try to have fun. Talk to people—even people you don’t know. Try not to talk about work. If you drink, have a couple. Then go home. In short, do what you would at any other social gathering at any other time of year: be yourself.
If you need more advice than that on how to comport yourself in public, then you don't need career information—you need help!
--Phil Stott, Vault.com
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