"Don't be the intern that I once saw, where someone said:
'I guess he didn't get the intern memo.'" - Tim Augustine
Congratulations, you've gotten an invitation to your office's holiday party! Welcome to a whole new set of rules. Holiday parties are a great way to get to know your coworkers, yes, but they have their own list of ways to act, especially if you are old enough to drink. Below is YOUR (short) Lambda Xi Holiday Party Guide:
1 - Dress like a secondary character, not like the protagonist (or the antagonist)
How you dress is immensely important when attending any kind of work event, but especially when everyone is feeling extra *~festive~*. An office may give a dress code for office parties, and if that is the case, follow that, otherwise, men, you can wear your standard business professional attire, and maybe a stylish pocket square or sweater under your suit jacket.
For the ladies, there are a few more restrictions. Anything you would wear to a New Year's party is generally off-limits with very few exceptions. Business professional dresses, or a nice skirt are good, but stay away from intense patterns or sequins and sparkles. No necklines lower than what you would wear on a regular work day, is generally the rule to follow. Also, no missing pieces (i.e. nothing with cutouts in the back), and anything with a smaller than acceptable sleeve should have a jacket, sweater, cardigan, etc. over top. Lastly, nothing mesh or relatively sheer. Below are some examples of what is acceptable.
2 - Knowing your limits is always the best bet
While it may seem polite to accept every drink your coworkers or boss offers to buy you as a welcome, or to have a drink or two to make you a bit less anxious in the new setting, know your limits. If you aren't 21, politely say that you can't oblige; if you are old enough, keep tract of what you've had, how many you've had, how strong they are, etc. Nothing looks worse than an intern who doesn't know how to control themselves in social work settings.
3 - “Companies may never come up with a better office communication program than a lunch break" - Amit Kalantri
There are going to be a wide variety of people at this office party, all at varying levels of how well you know them. Maybe you've only been there a couple of weeks, and you don't know most people very well, or maybe you've been there for six years and you have a best friend and you know who the office Karen is. Either way, branch out! Meet someone new! This is a great way to learn something new or make a new friend!
It's easy to ask them their name, or what department they're in, or how they got the job, but ask them new questions! You can start off with safe questions like the previously listed, but try asking why they studied what they studied in college, or if they were in any outside organizations. If the person you're talking to is a bit older than you and has been out of college for a few years, or maybe didn't finish or go at all, ask them if they have any advice for you moving forward within the company. Then, branch off of what they say, and ask questions or tell stories that relate to something they said - don't just say something to say something - to show you're really listening.
Know when the conversation is winding down. Don't linger around if the conversation hasn't gone anywhere in a while, or it seems like the other person doesn't want to talk. Politely excuse yourself, get some water, and find someone new to talk to!
Remember to have fun and be safe this holiday season, because you are still, unfortunately, kind-of at work.