Before you put on that great suit, or perfect dress, tap the breaks and take a look at 5 holiday work party mistakes that could slow down your amazing ride to the top!

It’s that time of year Boston! The time where the at-work holiday party email goes out.

Hey, there is nothing wrong with a few free drinks and some great expensive food with your co-workers, consumed on the company dime, right? Sure, why not. There is a lot of new gossip going around. Add to that, the new person at the cubicle across from me is single. What better time and place to catch on the new office gossip and check out that new co-worker, right? WRONG.

If you are NOT careful, it’s a time for holiday work party mistakes that could RUIN you.

Holiday Party Topics You Should NOT Discuss

You’re probably saying, stop being dramatic! It’s just some drinks with co-workers.

Ask CNBC. The number ONE topic you should NOT discuss at your holiday work party, is work.

Work therapist and career coach Brandon Smith says:

“Use this as an opportunity to socialize about topics that are non-business. “Talk about family. Talk about where the person is from or other interests. Anything that is not specific to work projects.” 

While you don’t want to talk about work, you CAN use this time to say hello and welcome a new supervisor that has been too busy to meet everyone. Maybe do a little homework, find out where they came from, and open with that. Make a good positive impression, so when they see you in the office during work hours they will remember you and appreciate that you took the time to introduce yourself. I always taught myself not to be fearful of being mildly assertive with your supervisor at the right moment. Remember, once they were YOU, wanting to move up. A successful go-getter, will spot an up and coming, go-getter.

So now that we know how to meet the new boss, let’s take a look at the 5 Holiday Work Party Mistakes That Could RUIN You.

  • Know Your Drink Limit

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    You would think this would be a NO brainer. But more drinks equals LESS brains, and critical thinking. Many many years ago, a co-worker drank WAY too much. Because of the size of the venue and the amount of people, near the end of the night, no one noticed that he left. Ironically and sadly, on the highway on the way home, I noticed many police vehicles and a tow truck with a smashed up car. I knew it was the car of the co-worker. He got into a bad accident. No one was hurt, but his career was. I pulled over and asked the police officer if it was the person I thought it was. I asked if he was ok and the cop replied, “he was arrested for DUI.” This person was a middle manager. Of course, the embarrassment and loss of his drivers license put a halt on his career growth, and everything else, a DUI can cause.

  • Go In With A Plan


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    How many drinks will you have? Two is enough. WHO, would you like to REALLY connect to and talk to? Where did you park? Have a small meal or at least SOMETHING in your stomach before you arrive. Also do an allergy check on the food. Add to that be careful with the flirting. Again, make a decent first impression and be patient. If it’s meant to be, you’ll get many other chances to explore. Oh, by the way work relationships are tricky. PROCEED with caution!

    Again, rely on yourself to make, and leave the best impression.

  • Do NOT Gossip

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    It’s a DEVICE world. Gossip is a DO NOT ATTEMPT, level 5 infraction. In tight bar or restaurant atmosphere, you don’t who can hear you, or really, who you can trust. With today’s smartphone, your cool gossip tonight, could be tomorrow’s video on Instagram, if someone if out to get you. Someone could easily excuse themselves, leaving a smartphone on the pub table to record you talking behind their back.

  • Should I Talk About Work?

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    Unless it’s a HIGH FIVE for a job well done, or a fast word of encouragement, most people there want to get a drink in, thank the boss for a GREAT TIME, and get out. Stick to things like getting to know your co-worker with outside the office stuff.  Bring a crazy, fun photo of your kid or pet. How’s that new deck coming along? How about those Celtics? Safe topics that won’t end in a weird, “hey hang on” and the person starts another conversation with someone else at the table next to you.

  • Plan Your Own Transportation

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    This plan puts YOU in charge of you, to and from the event. This way you can arrive on time, and leave when you want, not relying on others. If you must rely on a co-worker, have a STRONG back-up.

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