How to navigate the holiday office party and keep your job


WASHINGTON, December 1, 2014 — Everyone is starting to discuss holiday parties – Christmas, New Years and other big, religious parties that occur this time of the year. At work, these parties can lead to some confusing situations. Here are some suggestions to keep our readers safe.

If alcohol is offered at an office party, do you partake? As always, the right answer is “in moderation, if at all.” The first and most important concern is driving. If you feel like you had a little too much alcohol, do not drive yourself home. Ask a co-worker to drive you or call a cab.

If you see a co-worker, a supervisor or an employee who appears to have had “too much” and then plans to drive, you should offer to drive him or her home. If the individual is insistent on driving, you should notify a company official to assist you in an effort to prevent the person from driving home. It is better to risk your coworker’s employment than to allow them to risk their safety or the safety of others.

READ MORE: Rules for professional festive dress for the office holiday party

For their part, managers may want to consider having a very lenient policy with regard to this kind of issue. For example, if management allows employees to drink moderately, takes the situation into account and perhaps offers free or available transportation to their homes for those in need of it, employees are less likely to conceal their behavior and may be more willing to request assistance when needed.

On the other hand, if management strongly disapproves of heavy drinking (even though they are having a party with alcohol), they create an environment making it more likely that employees will try to avoid being caught drinking too much. They may even dishonestly say “I can drive,” or “I haven’t had much to drink,” when, in fact, they are noticeably impaired.

The second issue involved with this common problem is that of an employee’s reputation. Just because managers may be lenient in order to avoid a dangerous situation does not mean they will forget a given incident at the holiday party. Drinking too much at a work function leaves a very bad impression among management. No matter what anyone states publicly, such an incident more often than not is damaging to an employee’s credibility and future employment opportunities.

There are hundreds of tales where personnel have lost their jobs or their coworker’s respect over alcohol. The bottom line is this: No matter what your choices happen to be at your workplace, always strive to act in a matter that protects your safety, reputation and job.

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