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Just Say No: Don’t Be the Lindsay Lohan of the Office

Take a look at the entertainment section of any news site on the Internet and you’ll see several celebrities being bashed for their dedication to the party scene. The coverage is positively brutal – and not because of its news value. The truth is that people doing stupid things is a whole lot of fun to talk about.

This is a pretty good observation to embrace for your personal life. You may be the life of the party, but that may not be cause for celebration by your employers. Moreover, your excessive partying – or socializing, or interoffice dating – could make you the target of co-workers with nothing better to do than talk about it.

There’s not much that fuels office gossip more than a bit of indiscretion. Add to that any office jealousies or feuds, and you’ve got a real public relations disaster on your hands.

The Top Five Tips for Proper Behavior at Office Parties

  1. Dress Appropriately. You know that cute little strappy number on which you spent $1,000, but you can’t find anyplace to wear it? The office party is not the place to trot it out. You know that office rule that says no dating people from your department? How about the one about sexual harassment? This is not the time to see how far you can push these rules.
  2. Arrive On-time. It may be cool in your circle to show how full your social schedule is by turning up at a party three hours late and staying for 10 minutes. The plain fact is that your company party is a company function. Go ahead and pencil in about three hours. Your boss is watching.
  3. Don’t Overdo. There’s an open bar and after the first three glasses, the mediocre wine tastes great! If you can’t say “no” in a timely manner, drink club soda. This is not the time to get woozily outgoing. Believe me – you don’t want to sit through the Monday morning meeting wondering what the heck you might have said or done at the company party.
  4. Inter-office Fireworks. Yeah, she’s a hottie. There’s no one in the office – including her – who doesn’t know that. You can be known as the guy on the team, or you can be known as the guy who made an ass out of himself with the office hottie. You may get a couple of high-fives that evening, but you won’t win any points with your company. And if the office hottie – who, by the way, knows she’s got the “real stuff” – decides she’s ticked off at anyone else in the company, you could get the brunt of her spleen in the form of a sexual harassment charge.
  5. Do Show Up. Companies today keep a close eye on their bottom line, and the price of dinner for you and your guest will be noticed if the plates stand cold at your empty seats. It’s just plain disrespectful to brush off your boss and his boss by disregarding the company party. Remember – 80 percent of success is just showing up.

Dave Saunders helps people stand out and “Be the Brand” as a personal branding and marketing specialist. Manage your career online: Create, Enhance and Share a better resume, free at VisualCV.com