Office Party: Career-builder or Kiss of Death?

Christmas party

It’s December – and your calendar is probably full of holiday events to attend. One of them is the infamous, annual office party.

To go or not to go? That’s always the anxious question employees ask themselves when the date and location are announced.

You’ve always found it awkward to keep up appearances after work. You don’t really need the extra calories baked into Christmas trees, tempting canopies or home-made fudge.

You’ve had too many things on your mind to mingle and make small talk. You’re not sure you can keep a smile spread across your face for a whole evening after an eight-hour day.

What do you say to your boss’s spouse? How do you handle the pesky pest who makes your life miserable all of the other 364 days? What do you wear to appear professional, yet ready to party?

Who do you thank for an evening that isn’t so great, and how do you say “Good-Bye” effectively to everyone you’ll see again early tomorrow morning?

You’d rather duck out, rush straight home and change into your jammies and stare at your TV. But you hear your mother’s voice in your head. You find yourself back in fourth grade with your mom reminding you: “You can’t back out of an invitation to Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob’s Christmas dinner.” Followed by: “You have to go. They’re expecting you.”

Mother’s advice still rings true even though you’re no longer a kid. In the business world, she’d remind you, “A no-show at the office party is like turning down a raise.” It goes even deeper. For many folks, skipping out on the office party is the Kiss of Death for their careers.

It makes you an outsider, putting an invisible wall between yourself and the people you work with day after day. You’ll notice eventually that you’re less likely to be invited out to lunch — where a lot of deals are made.

You won’t be asked to work on as many special projects or join coveted teams. It’ll be harder to find mentors among your superiors. Most deadly of all: you’re likely to be crossed off the short list when it comes to promotions within your company.

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