The office holiday party can be one of the most fun, or debaucherous, events of the season. Finally, you can let go of all the stress that has come up throughout the year and have a fun night with your co-workers. But before you go for your third serving of eggnog, however, something I always remind my clients of is that it’s important to maintain a level professionalism at any office event. Just because your CEO is losing his mind and drunk doesn’t mean you should hop on the train!

In fact, a survey from Four Loko found that 26% of people surveyed have done something they regret at a company party, and you don’t want to hurt your career because of one shortsighted moment.

Here are some tips you can remember during your next office party to help keep everyone jolly the day after, as well.

  1. Avoid the office hookup. While this tip may seem obvious, it is by far one of the most common slip-ups during office soirees. The same survey that 9% of people have been reprimanded for their behavior at a company party, and the number one reason is for hooking up with a coworker. Not only is this a bad idea for your future office dynamic, but it also potentially damaging for your career when it comes times to list references, or even get promoted within the company.
  2. Don’t call in sick the next day. Everyone is certainly allowed to cut loose at a party, but if your office expects you to come into work the next day, it’s very critical to keep that in mind when hitting up the drink table. In fact, 66% of employees are expected to go into work the day after a company party, and 16% have called out the next day. If you show that you can’t exemplify restraint and responsibility, it certainly won’t do you any favors down the road when it’s time to evaluate your job performance.
  3. Turn the party into an opportunity. If you’re taking your career seriously, then you should take advantage of every chance you get to make a great impression, and an office party can be a golden opportunity. According to one study on LinkedIn, nearly 47% of professionals say that an office party had a positive impact on their career because they approached it wisely. Remember, just because your office buddy is getting wasted doesn’t mean you should be. After all, if they jumped off a cliff, would you? That’s basically what they’re doing with their careers at the office party.

Attending an office party is a great way to be seen, heard and recognized, but you don’t want a negative action to leave you as the talk of the party. If you’re hungry for a promotion at work, or just want to practice your networking skills, look at holiday parties as a gift instead of something you feel obligated to attend. If all else fails, at least you get a free drink or two and maybe even a fun gift if your office does a gift exchange. Cheers to your success in the New Year!

This first appeared in Forbes.


  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.