How NOT to Ruin Your Career at Work Parties

‘Tis the season to not get too folly.

Everyone loves a good summer party. Not only does it break up the lengthy wait between Christmases, but it’s also an opportunity to let your hair down with the people who you’ve toughed out the first half of the year with. Apart from your colleagues, there is usually one guest who never fails on attendance, and they go by the name of Inappropriate Behaviour. In most cases, great food, drink and sunshine is a great recipe for celebrating the company you work for. However, it’s a combination that can also be a catalyst for extremely cringeworthy behaviours.

Unless you are planning to flee the country the day after your summer do, it’s best you save face and hold onto your dignity. How can you do this? Simply. Avoid these extremely embarrassing acts:

1. Avoid ‘friendly’ confrontation

After having broken free from the confines of the office walls and all the rules that come with being there, you might feel inclined to be up front about some workplace frustrations and annoyances. You might think it’s a good chance to passively address ongoing issues that have been brewing in the background, but it really isn’t. It’s an unprofessional behaviour that will only add fuel to fires. You’ll probably end up saying things you really should have kept quiet about, or gone to HR with first. The big no-no here is having it out with your boss, and trying to make light of the situation.

2. Don’t spill your secrets

The thing with secrets, is that once you’ve spilled the beans, the beans cannot be unspilled. Opening up has its place: it can sometimes be a really good thing, and encourage a sense of cohesion and trust among you and your work mates. However there is definitely a line, and crossing it will likely leave you feeling exposed and regretful. You don’t want to be the butt of jokes at your company, or open yourself up for scrutiny by revealing too much about your personal life.

3. Keep your clothes on

When the weather’s warm and the good vibes are flowing, you might feel inclined to strip off and let the warm air caress your skin. NO. Just, no. Even if there is a pool at your disposal, make a promise with yourself that it’s bathers or nothing. Not only will getting semi-naked make you look unprofessional, it will also come back to haunt you again and again, thanks to smart phones with cameras.

4. Stay awake

You’re tired, perhaps a little bit tipsy and maybe even a bit sun stroke. Still, sleeping in public places is not an acceptable behaviour. If you feel yourself nodding off, take yourself home. Falling asleep looks really bad, and again, the photos will haunt you forever. And then there are the safety issues involved…

5. Don’t become overly affectionate

We work with our colleagues every day; you share a special bond that should generally be kept as a verbal, professional one. Watch your wandering hands; the summer party can often create what seems like the perfect opportunity to become affectionate and tell our colleagues just how much they mean to us. Remember to keep things professional. In the instance that you have an office crush attending the party too, it’s best to lay out some ground rules for yourself beforehand, and stick to them. Without some serious self control you could end up putting on a show for your company that you maybe wouldn’t usually want them having tickets to…

6. Get out of the gossip circles

Interesting stories often come out at summer parties. Only a couple of hours in, you’ll probably find yourself learning A LOT of new information about the people you work closely with day to day. Whatever you do, don’t get roped in to nasty gossiping. This sort of behaviour can make some employees feel left out and insecure, and really encourages a negative culture. Try to remain as positive as possible – you’ll feel so much better having been a friendly patron, and you won’t have that sinking feeling the next day, trying to remember all the hurtful things you said in jest.

Avoid these 6 acts and your summer party should be smooth sailing! What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve seen at a work party?

Image: Shutterstock

By Phoebe Spinks

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.