TCG 411: Party Smart

It’s (Holiday) Party Time!

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is in full swing – which means parties with friends, family and colleagues. If you’re attending the company year-end shindig (and by all means, you should), you’d be wise to keep your actions in check. According to a survey by our company, four in 10 advertising and marketing executives interviewed said an employee’s actions at the office celebration greatly affects his or her advancement prospects, either positively or negatively.

The key takeaway: Have fun, but don’t go overboard; your professional reputation is at stake. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Do show up. Missing one holiday party is probably not going to end your career, but it’s better to attend, especially if you’re a new employee or someone who’s missed company events in the past. These get-togethers are ideal opportunities to build rapport with coworkers, interact with management and show enthusiasm for the company, all of which can be career boosters.
  • Don’t stick to your clique. It’s tempting to keep to your regular circle of office friends, but you should branch out and interact with colleagues you don’t know well or rarely get a chance to chat with, like the new junior designer. Also be prepared to hobnob with the firm’s higher-ups; prepare a few speaking points in advance so you’re not tongue-tied when you shake the CEO’s hand.
  • Don’t overindulge. Everyone has heard stories about (or witnessed) out-of-control employees who embarrass themselves by partying a little too hard. So, limit (or avoid altogether) alcoholic beverages and try to eat a light snack beforehand so you don’t spend the majority of your time at the buffet rather than mingling with colleagues.
  • Do keep conversations light. While some shop talk is bound to come up, you and your fellow partygoers will have more fun if you forget deadlines and deliverables for a day. If someone starts a work-related conversation with you, offer to review the details in the morning when you can better focus. It’s best to avoid potentially sensitive topics and office gossip, too.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome. You generally don’t want to be the first or last guest to leave, particularly if the party is at an employee’s house. Once you see that half the guests have left, or the host begins clearing plates, start saying your good-byes. If you must depart early, notify and thank the host beforehand.

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at

One thought on “TCG 411: Party Smart

  1. Dyana Valentine

    Terrific tips, Donna. I especially get behind the preparing talking points. To some, it may seem out of place–it’s a party after all–but I think it’s the perfect time to:
    thank people (with specific detail) for how they support you or what you see them doing well (yes, even bosses like to hear what they do well);
    celebrate folks accomplishments;
    acknowledge personal achievements or events that you know are happening in the person’s life.

    I also really like the idea of “no surprises” *except for gifts, if appropriate and discussed with your higher ups* in both your don’t over indulge and arrival/departure times. In general, you want to really support the host and the spirit of the event.

    Thanks so much for the post!