1. Don’t Drink
I know many of you are trying to find a loophole in the this one—perhaps thinking, she means only drink white wine, or she means, alternate every mixed drink with water. This is not, in fact, so. I’m saying don’t drink. Period. Full Stop. The office party is just the office in a different location. All the usual suspects will be there, including those sipping fizzy water with one hand, while mentally crossing the fingers of the other, hoping against hope that somebody in the crowd has a couple of knocks and takes to the dance floor, having checked their inhibitions in the coat room. You don’t want this to be you. You ensure this by not drinking.
2. Don’t Gossip
Office gossip can be among the most exciting because although we know the players intimately, but we don’t have an emotional attachment to them. But when we become involved in the conversation—either by actively participating, or by passively listening as others let fly—we send a message to everyone around us that we can’t be trusted. All of which can leave your colleagues, or your boss, thinking, “If I can’t trust him with the small things, how am I going to trust him with the big?”
3. Have Fun
I understand that, after rules one and two this may come as a surprise, but here’s my thinking: Making a conscious choice to enjoy yourself—whether by getting to know people you know better, or by getting to know people you don’t yet know—will allow you to move through your coming work weeks, months, and years with a better understanding of the motivations and intentions, obstacles, and strengths of those around you. You will now know who the go-to person is in invoicing, who needs extra encouragement in sales, who thrives under pressure. Information that will help you be far better at what you do—a priceless holiday bonus.