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At the office holiday party this year, do share an interesting tidbit with the chief of your company. But don't celebrate with too much drinking.
Sounds obvious, right?
Unfortunately, workers at holiday parties can stray from the professional image they'd prefer to project, as Ken Pinnock, associate director of employee relations and services at the University of Denver, knows all too well.
Illustration by Scott Pollack
Mr. Pinnock recalls a particularly jaw-dropping incident from a party several years ago hosted by a prior employer. "One of the higher-level administrative assistants was dancing, she had had a lot of spirits, and when she was dancing she pulled up her skirt," he says.
It gets worse. "She wasn't wearing any underwear. It was just for a split second, but people saw, and she wasn't aware of how obvious it was," Mr. Pinnock says.
The administrative assistant ended up apologizing to witnesses, he says. But years later she's still remembered for her dance-floor antics, rather than the fine job she did supporting the office.
In some sense, work parties are a setup. That is, workers hear the word "party" and think the event is an opportunity to relax, let go, show colleagues what they're really like outside of cubicle walls. But the truth is that work parties are, in fact, work, meaning it's important to maintain professional conduct.
"The line will be blurry sometimes, but these people will still be your boss and colleagues the next day," says Anna Post, author and great-great-granddaughter of etiquette expert Emily Post. "Be careful about how much you drink and think about the pictures of you that could be posted on Facebook."
Newer employees may be particularly nervous about drinking, dress and conversation standards for parties. If so, they should just ask co-workers for some guidance. "Talk to your colleagues and ask what the tone of...