Last night at our annual holiday office party I can’t remember exactly what I did, but I know that I drank too much and made a spectacle of myself. I know people were putting it on social media. I know I’m not the only one who got a little wild, but I’m worried about my reputation and my job. How am I going to fix this? ? I could use some advice.
Alison Answers: So now you’re in the “I have regrets and a hangover in the morning” club, I can’t tell you how many times I have received letters like this and how many times I’ve answered so many different ways on many different advice columns.
If it’s any comfort, you are definitely not alone. Here’s some advice to help you through this, and hopefully, you won’t do it again.
First, don’t panic. Think things through (which you obviously didn’t do last night) before you act.
You aren’t the first and won’t be the last person who drank a few “too many” at an office function (or frankly, any party) and then ended up wishing they hadn’t.
If anyone noticed your behavior they probably just thought you were having way too much fun, and many probably had a few too many themselves and don’t remember what they did last night, let along what you were up to!
It’s Not Really A Party:
Office parties are work functions, with the emphasis on work. You assumed that even though this event was an office party it really was a party, like any other.
Nope, not really a party at all, the office party is a command performance. You can’t ever really forget that you are on the job and on view. This goes for conventions and events, and any venue where you’re representing your company.
Worse For Women:
There is still a double standard for women, especially if they are young and trying to move up the career ladder. A man might get a bit tipsy and out of control, but he’s a guy so most people think he is just letting off steam. If a woman does it, she’s looking for trouble.
You’re not safe, even in light of the “Me Too” movement.
It is tempting to have a drink (or two, or three, or…) to feel relaxed in a social situation that makes you nervous, but the key is to stay in control while appearing to have a fabulous time.
Don’t Drink If You Can’t Handle it:
For many, alcohol is something they can’t control. You think you can handle it, but you can’t seem to stop at just one drink. You know if this applies to you. If it does, one drink becomes several, and before you know it you’re dancing on the table doing a boozy rendition of the Macarena!
Remember what I said about this being a work function? If you can handle your booze, drink something you have to sip not guzzle.
I like to order scotch, bourbon, or rye, and hold onto that one drink as long as possible.
Better yet, just order tonic water with lime or lemon (looks like vodka), or ask for cranberry juice or coke which could possibly contain alcohol (you get the idea).
There are times when someone is going to insist on getting you a drink. Mostly you can refuse by saying “I’m on medication and can’t drink.” Who would argue?!
Another strategy is to tip the bartender and tell him or her you to give you only half of what they’d normally pour in your drinks. You will still be “drinking,” just not as much.
Have a glass of water after every glass of alcohol you consume.
None of this might seem as much fun as getting loose but remember, it’s not really a party, it’s a business function.
However, there’s something really fun if you’re not one of the drunk revelers: you get to see your co-workers act like lunatics as you stay sober enough to appreciate how stupid they look!
Smile for Social Media:
Office parties are legendary for making even the most sedate employees bust out and get crazy. In this era of “selfies” and social media, we often attribute way too much importance to ourselves. I know you think all eyes were on you, and maybe they were, but maybe they weren’t.
In this age of social media, most people were probably more into taking photos of themselves.
However, if someone actually did post a photo or video of you doing the bunny hop with your arms around the boss, the camera doesn’t lie.
Hopefully, they didn’t post the content to be malicious and if you ask them to remove it, they should. Be if they won’t it could be considered harassment.
I’m not a lawyer and can’t advise, but this might then become a matter for human resources.
So Now What?
So what should you do now? In a word: nothing unless you want to call more attention to yourself. Chances are, your and your relationships at work will be ok.
However, if someone brings up your wild and crazy act (the office meddler will just to see your reaction), just say “it was a great party, wasn’t it? Then shut up and go back to work.
That’s what all of you are at the office for now that the party is over.
Has this ever happened to you? What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Like, Comment, and Share the post.