Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Party hearty, network like a boss


Today’s link, from a blog for job-seekers in the finance industry, is “Holiday Party Rules: No Black, Avoid Drunks and Kiss Up to the Boss.”

This is about office parties. It contains a lot of good advice for the holidays, too—before you’ve got a job, at events where you might be networking, and more generally when you’re in public being scoped out by folks who can put in a good word for you.

I’d take issue with at least one thing--”avoid wearing black.” The classic little black dress for women can be accessorized in many ways. But the point is, don’t go looking like something that crawled out from under a Goth manhole cover—leave the skull earrings at home! For guys, don’t look like you’re headed out to a funeral after the party.

Also, worth repeating (though the article implies as much, but doesn’t say so explicitly): don’t get sloshed. You don’t want to have to extract your foot from your mouth later.

To avoid overindulging: You can always ask the bartender to fix you “something that looks alcoholic”--a gingerale in a “rocks” glass with ice can look nicely ambiguous. Or if you really do want a touch of alcohol, but want to keep your wits about you, try “fizzy water with a splash of red wine, easy on the splash.” (Or the nonalcoholic version, fizzy water with a splash of cranberry juice in a wine-glass.) In gatherings where some alcohol is welcome and even expected, any good bartender worth his or her salt will oblige in helping you make appropriate choices.

Also good advice, but a bit overstated in the title: “kiss up to the boss” (and the boss’s significant other). You’d be amazed what people talk about with their significant others in bed... make sure that if bed-time conversation is about you, it’s positive!

On your own “significant other”--if you have one, and there’s an option to bring him or her along, you should be far enough along in your own relationship to be able to have a short talk with your s.o. about what is expected, without having that chat turn into a source of friction in your relationship. If your s.o. would rather not come along—so be it. His or her discomfort will be apparent, and won’t make a good impression. If your s.o. is glad to come with—make it a point to introduce, offer conversation starters, to include your s.o. in the socializing. If you do, you’ll earn points with both your s.o., and with folks you’re networking (since you are clearly a nice, thoughtful person).

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