Attending your firm or company’s holiday party, just like happy hour, provides you with a wealth of opportunities, whether you are new to the law firm or are an associate who has been there since your days as a student.
With opportunities there also comes the potential of committing a company faux-pas, follow our easy steps below to avoid those embarrassing moments and take advantage of every social second:
1. Dress the Part: If you are new to the office, ask around about corporate expectations for dress code. Find out what is appropriate attire for the event, and if unsure ask your hiring manager, a firm friend or mentor.
Just because the event is on a Friday, does not mean it is casual, and just because it is off site does not mean you should not dress for the office.
2. Mingle: You may know the other associates or partners in your department, but don’t be afraid to branch out. Socialize with people in other practice areas you will expand your circle at the firm, and the next time they have a cross practice matter you might be the lawyer they come to.
3. Eat Beforehand & Drink in Moderation: Eat a small amount before the event, even if your event is catered. Following the person carrying the hors d’oeuvres is not productive, and eating something small will keep you satiated until you sit down for the meal.
No one wants to be the topic of water cooler gossip the next day, so monitor your consumption if you are imbibing in the holiday punch. Drinking to much works against you and your professional aspirations.
4. Scope out the Crowd: Beyond mingling, take this opportunity to connect with colleagues you keep missing at lunch or meetings. Whether you want to thank someone for helping you out on a file, or finally introduce yourself to a superior that you hope to work with, make the effort to scope them out.
5. Do Not Skip It: The invitation may say it is optional, but your absence will be noticed. Arrive on time, the later you arrive the harder it will be to follow tips 2 and 4, groups form quickly and those who are late may get left in the cold.
Follow these steps and be the social butterfly, not the butt of the after party jokes. Attend the holiday party, have fun, and use it as a chance to step away from your desk, and the rush of year-end closings.
For more tips, check out the Etiquette School of New York’s, Corporate Holiday Party Do’s and Do Not’s.