‘Tis the season – Don’t let social networking Scrooge your holiday party – or your career

Holiday parties–we love them and hate them all at the same time. It’s meant to be an opportunity to mingle and celebrate with your coworkers, but it’s the same story every year:

The sales rep who had too much to drink and made a pass at the boss’s wife, the receptionist and the operations manager getting a little too close on the dance floor, or the cat fight in the women’s restroom…

They may survive the hangover, but the career damage is permanent. Will your coworkers forgive you? Hopefully, but forgetting takes a really long time—especially when there are pictures that allow everyone to relive it.

With many of us using social media to record every detail of our lives, it’s incredibly easy to embarrass yourself and others at the holiday office party. Unfortunately, when the drinks are flowing, holiday parties are famous for displays of questionable behavior that, at the time, can be viewed as entertainment. So, in the interest of limiting the damage, here are some tips for surviving the season with your self-respect and your career intact:

  1. Don’t bring your phone to the holiday party. This tip is an easy and obvious safeguard, yet so difficult for many of us. Clearly, if you don’t have your mobile phone in hand, then it’s impossible to take embarrassing pictures. And, even better, you can’t post non-existent photos for your boss, coworkers, and customers to see.
  2. Friends don’t let friends post inappropriately. If you must bring your phone, tuck it away in your purse or ask your friend, spouse, or date to hold it. Incoming messages from sick children or dying relatives should be the only reason it’s returned to you before the end of the night.
  3. If you honestly can’t follow tips 1 and 2, avoid using your camera. Ok, snap a few selfies with your besties as soon as you get there, then put your phone away and don’t take any more pictures or video for the rest of the night. Simply enjoy yourself and don’t worry about documenting every minute. In the end, there will be no evidence to haunt you or your coworkers and everyone will secretly thank you.
  4. Avoid the urge to text, regardless of how tempting it may be. Whether it’s about the hilarious thing a coworker said, did, or wore at the party, it won’t seem so entertaining the next morning, especially to fellow party-goers. They may wish they could forget last night’s nightmare and won’t appreciate the perpetual reminder of their antics on Facebook.
  5. Don’t “friend” your co-worker’s spouse or your boss’s significant other after the party. Or at any time in the future for that matter. You may think it’s harmless, but it’s quite inappropriate and will likely start more trouble than it’s worth.
  6. Always remember that alcohol and social media don’t mix. Limit the former and avoid the latter. Intoxicated texting is always a mistake so avoid it at all costs. Everyone will be eternally grateful when you’re reliving the events the following day.

Happy Holidays!

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