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Which is the best way to conduct oneself during office parties?

Friday November 22 2019

Five months ago, my wife suddenly developed a liking for clubs, which involved going out and coming back as late as 3am.

The festive period is beckoning and its “parte after parte after parte” in most organisations PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Q: I am a recent graduate and I am newly employed. The company I work for regularly organises office parties, and I’m sure there will be an end of year ball soon. However, I am not sure about how to carry myself during the party. Should I just avoid going there altogether?

The festive period is beckoning and its “parte after parte after parte” in most organisations. I am privy to an incident that occurred several years ago, when an employee who had been invited to a party organised for clients imbibed one too many, and to the chagrin of those in attendance including the company executives, he jumped into a nearby swimming pool fully dressed in corporate attire. You can imagine the embarrassment! Can you imagine the perception that the organisation’s clients left with? What happened to the individual is a story for another day.
In any office party, keep time, but don’t arrive too early or too late. Ensure you arrive in time for the CEO’s speech, and leave after the executives have left the function. But as you wait, be sure to limit your alcohol consumption. Don’t get tempted to try out all the brands of alcohol available. Keep your conversation simple. This is not the time to approach your boss for a salary review or promotion. What about the colleague you have been eyeing throughout the year? Tread cautiously. This is not the time to declare your undying love for her or him. You might regret the declarations on Monday morning when you sober up. This is also not the right time to reprimand the colleague who irritates you in the office with their weird laugh, or the one who seems to have details of everyone’s personal lives. Don’t get emotional and start hugging and praising your colleagues. Maintain professionalism even at the party. Hanging around until the wee hours of the night is also not encouraged.
This is an official invite and you should honour it. It will be a chance for you to mingle with the executives in an informal setting, and you could learn the unspoken rules of the organisation by observing how people behave. This is also an opportunity to meet your peers in an informal setting and break the ice now that you are new. Ensure that you have organised for transport home or if you are using company transport, beat the pickup spot on time otherwise you will be stranded at the parking lot.

Jane Muiruri - Senior HR Manager, Nation Media Group; [email protected]