Danger Zone: 9 Tips For Partying With Your Boss

office holiday party gaffesSteer clear of these career-crunchers at your office holiday party

By Charyn Pfeuffer

When the fantasy of your hot co-worker playing with your hair becomes a boss-holding-your ponytail-while-you-puke reality, you've officially committed a faux pas at the office holiday party.

If you've behaved badly in the past, you're not alone. A 2010 Adecco Staffing survey found that 40 percent of Americans have either done something inappropriate or embarrassed themselves or know someone who has at a work holiday party.

While slurring a bad karaoke version of "Don't Stop Believing" probably won't get you fired, staring at your boss' wife's (ahem) assets most certainly will. Here are nine tips to keep in mind if you want to go to work on Monday with your head held high.

Seasoned special events producer, Lawson Roberts says don't assume that you can bring a guest. "Especially with the economy is the way it is, many offices are limiting their parties to just the office worker," says Roberts.

For more than 25 years, professional event planner Greg Jenkins has been coordinating corporate holiday parties. He says do practice your manners and etiquette. "Say 'thank you' and 'yes, please' to your server. How you treat the server is a reflection on how you may treat others," says Jenkins.

Don't indulge in your office crush. With a lot of liquid courage, Anne dragged her office mate into a bathroom stall at her office holiday party for some hot and heavy action. "What I failed to realize was that there would be a long line of co-workers waiting to use the bathroom when we finally came up for air," she says.

If you're being considered for a promotion, holiday parties can be your 'audition' says Linnda Durré, author of Surviving the Toxic Workplace. "Do be aware that you are under an electron microscope of evaluation," she says.

"Don't make comments on Facebook or other sites about the event that you wouldn't want your boss or your co-workers to see," says Lynne Sarikas, Executive Director of the MBA Career Center at Boston's Northeastern University.

"Do mingle and talk to people outside of your work group, especially executives," says etiquette expert and Puget Sound Business Journal columnist Arden Clise. "This is a rare opportunity to network and get to know these folks when they aren't busy at work."

Don't go overboard on the booze. Jennifer got so drunk at her holiday party at a super-hot new restaurant that the owner of her company had to escort her to the bathroom. "When she asked me if I needed anything, I croaked 'water.' She came back with a glass; I took a sip and spit it out."

Alexandra Kralicek, Recruiting Operations Supervisor at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. offers this advice: Do think about how what you want your co-workers to be saying about you Monday morning. "Even if your party is located off-site, as a company-sanctioned event, it's considered an extension of your workplace and the same rules still apply," says Kralicek.

Constance Dunn, etiquette specialist and author of Practical Glamour says it's not about the free food. "Don't act as if you are a hobo who is grateful to have been invited out for a bowl of gruel," she says.

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