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15 Hacks for Rocking Your Office Christmas Party

15 Hacks for Rocking Your Office Christmas Party

Aaaah, office Christmas parties—There’s nothing quite like them.

This, of course, can be a good or bad thing, depending upon your view of spending time outside of work with your work colleagues in organised frivolity and celebration of the festive season. However, office Christmas parties can be absolute minefields to navigate, and questions about what to do, what not to do, and how to survive the whole event relatively unscathed can be daunting.

So to help you professionally get your Yuletide groove on, here are fifteen ways to survive the slew of office Christmas parties, which will hopefully ensure you have a good time, and not for all the wrong reasons.

1. Bring A Spare Change of Clothes

One of our top tips and hacks to help you enjoy and survive office Christmas parties is to bring a spare change of clothes with you. You really don’t want to be spending an extra few hours in the same clothes you’ve been rocking during your work day—aside from the fact it might not be the appropriate attire to wear if there’s a more relaxed theme of the party, chances are you’ll start to smell a little funky before the party even starts.

You don’t even have to change into a completely new outfit—change your shirt or top, throw on some different shoes, add plenty of deodorant and splash water on your face and you should be as good as new. Simple as that, really, although if you want to go the full nine yards and bring an entirely new outfit, feel free to change it up. Packing a spare pair of underwear and comfortable shoes is also a good tip to keep in mind.

2. Leave The Holiday Outfit At Home

Yes, it’s certainly adorable when some people decide to go whole hog and dress as Santa or his elves, or when they slip into a strange, revealing outfit. However, for the majority of people, holiday-themed outfits can go down well at certain functions, but the office party isn’t one of them.

Most people opt for a relaxed office-wear approach for the party, and while we’re not advocating for a too-casual attire, it’s always nicer to see people relaxed. Anyone who’s put the time and effort into renting and fitting into a special costume is overestimating and misjudging the tone of the party. That is, unless everyone else is going in fancy dress or especially smart attire. Then go mad.

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3. Don’t Forget To Attend

Okay, so maybe holiday parties aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but unless you have a major family commitment or an actual illness, you should always show up to the office party, even if only for half an hour. Social anxiety can also make events like these stressful, so it’s understandable that some people elect to stay away from the festivities.

However, you really should try and make the minimum of effort. Holiday parties are the social gathering highlights of your workplace, and it’s a chance to relax and unwind and actually connect with your coworkers. So, if you’re struggling to get motivated to attend the office Christmas party, make yourself a firm promise to go for just half an hour. After all, you might find yourself having a good time and even end up staying longer. And with at least that half an hour under your belt, you’ve had a chance to be social, memorable and celebratory before you head home.

4. Don’t Go Mad On The Holiday Buffet

The food at an office Christmas party can either swing to the surprisingly and effusively good, or drop to depths of which you’ve never seen nor tasted before, and hope never to again. Regardless, when the mood is right, and the libations are flowing, it’s easy to decide to stuff yourself full of food, indiscriminately shoving it in until you’ve demolished half the offerings and made yourself feel ill.

As a result, one major tip is to eat before you come to the party. Even if it’s just a snack, it makes you less likely to binge on whatever’s offered, making it better for your waistline, stomach and your reputation among your colleagues. Lining your stomach with food ahead of the office Christmas party may be a wise move in any case: Given the quantities of alcohol consumed, it is always best to treat your stomach and your body kindly before such an event.

5. Bring Something To The Party

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but it is still worth repeating: Bring something to the office Christmas party. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or expensive, but chances are some poor soul has had to do all the preparing for it by themselves. Volunteering to bring something to eat or some drinks mixers will not only ease their burden, it’ll make you a respected member of the office.

6. Don’t Stay On Your Own

Nobody likes it when someone keeps to themselves during the festivities, so to get through office Christmas parties easier and happier, be sure to socialize with a few people. You don’t have to stick to the people in your office, and you certainly don’t have to go circulate with the drunken leery guy, but saying a cordial hello or having a nice chat with someone else would certainly raise your office standing.

Even better, make sure you speak to the newest member of the office team. If it’s their first Christmas party as part of the office, they’ll be nervous enough, so a few friendly words from you (or even a full-blown chat) will not only win you a potential new friend, but also let you you be seen as friendly, amiable and a general all-round good egg.

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7. Keep Your PDA To A Minimum

Some office parties might allow you to bring a plus one, which can be an awesome way to introduce friends and colleagues to your significant other. However, you have to remember that at office Christmas parties, you’re there to relax and socialize, not to show off your sweetie to everyone in the room.

As such, try and keep your PDA (personal displays of affection) to a minimum. No one, not even your closest friends and work colleagues, particularly wants to see your tongue halfway down your guy or gal’s throat. Plus, flaunting that kind of behavior might actually reflect badly on you. Treat it like a high school dance: Keep your hands above the waist, keep kisses chaste, and save your affections for after the party.

8. Plan Your Night Ahead

Planning your night ahead can be a marvelous trick when looking into how survive and thrive in an office Christmas party situation, particularly when it comes to making the most of your fun time together with your colleagues.

Simple things such as looking into opening times of restaurants, bars, clubs, and other evening events for after the party will enable you to help make the night go smoother. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t have spontaneity and fun, but keeping a little mental index of stuff to do and go when the inevitable hits the fan will make you an invaluable and respected source to your workmates.

9. Don’t Talk About Your Love Life

It doesn’t matter if your love is the kind that Shakespeare himself would have rhapsodized over: Unless it’s an engagement, a pregnancy or surprise nuptials, then leave the talk about romances at the door when you’re at the office Christmas parties.

It’s not that your colleagues aren’t happy with your new-found love; it’s simply that during an office Christmas party, a time in which you are with your colleagues an additional few hours, talking non-stop about your beloved’s actions and their beauty may wind up becoming irritating rather than endearing, and you might end up less popular than you started with. In short, keep it sweet, simple and short.

10. Don’t Leave Without Saying Goodbye

Okay, so maybe the evening hasn’t gone well: There’s been awkward questions and awkward dancing and maybe even an awkward hookup under the festive mistletoe. No matter. One of the most important things to do at the end of a party is to always say goodbye to everyone. Do not leave without saying goodbye, or without letting people know you are going.

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Why? Because it indicates that you don’t actually have much respect for the occasion, or the people that you’re with. And while you might not feel that way and are simply an introvert wanting to get home, have a little respect for your colleagues and at least let someone know you’re heading home. You might be a bit of a homebird in their eyes, but not rude.

11. Try and Leave Before You’re Not Missed

Conversely to the above advice, a great tip can be to leave before you’re missed, i.e. before everyone starts getting catastrophically drunk and revealing things they’d much rather not.

Restraint is an untapped virtue in the modern world, and cutting yourself off can not only allow you to feel much better—you’ll have more time to sleep off the hangover, after all—it can also make your colleagues and friends subconsciously make their time with you more important and meaningful. Leave an hour or two early, reap the benefits and leave the regretful shenanigans to the others.

12. Leave The Eggnog To The Experts

Everyone thinks they can be a bartender when the chips are down, and while the physical components might all be there (you have hands, alcohol and a mixing apparatus), there’s a reason bartending is a profession. It’s hard and tricky, so don’t try and be the best drunken bartender in the world, because your chances of failure will skyrocket.

If you really want to mix a drink for someone, make sure that it’s something simple. Check out some easier recipes, such as a vodka screwdriver cocktail, if you want to prepare yourself or a friend a drink at the party. However, save the complicated ones for the people who know what they’re doing. Remember, this isn’t Mad Men.

13. Use The Mistletoe Sparingly

Is there anything worse than a mistletoe creep? Not much, and certainly not at an office Christmas party. Mistletoe has been used since Iron Age times as part of rituals, recently adapted in the 20th century as something for people to kiss under at Christmas (although hanging over doorways reportedly hearkens back to the times of the Druids, when they used it ward off evil).

However, too much mistletoe at office Christmas parties can spoil an otherwise lovely event. A lot of the time, people simply don’t want to be kissing each other, and while the idea is a charming sentiment, it’s also encouraging some not-very-professional behavior. Leave a single sprig somewhere, if at all, and make sure to confiscate any from someone who decides to try their luck with their own bushel of mistletoe.

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14. Plan A Cab Before You Leave

The office Christmas party is winding down. You’ve had fun, you’ve shared a few laughs and you’ve had questionable food and drink. However, you’re not in any state to drive home, and the buses and trains have stopped. Clearly calling a cab is the right decision, but in order to stop yourself from having to fight off the late-night drunken revelers or desperate workmates, it’s always best to plan and book a taxicab well in advance.

Booking your cab will enable you to have more fun, relax more and feel safe in the knowledge that your transportation home is all but assured. Just make sure the cab is paid for by the end of the night, and you can go to bed feeling safe in the knowledge that you didn’t drive home drunk, or worse.

15. Always Say Thank You

Last, but most certainly not least, the most important hack to having a successful office Christmas party, is to always say thank you. It might not seem like much, and there’ll be plenty of your colleagues who just consumed the food and drink and then head off home. However, the person or persons who organised it all will feel especially grateful if you say thank you, and show that you honestly enjoyed and appreciated their efforts.

It’s not hard, at all, and even if you don’t stay behind to help clear up (which can be a serious points-booster around the office), you can show that you understand and acknowledge the hard work that goes into planning even the smallest event. That’s the ultimate office Christmas party hack, and it’s one more appropriate than ever at this time of year.

Featured photo credit: Richard Hopkins via flickr.com

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

There are plenty of people who successfully made a career change at the age of 40 or above:

The Duncan Hines cake products you see in the grocery store are a good example. Hines did not write his first food guide until age 55 and he did not license his name for cake mixes until age 73.

Samuel L. Jackson made a career change and starred alongside John Travolta in Pulp Fiction at the age of 46.

Ray Kroc was age 59 when he bought his first McDonald’s.

And Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart at the age of 44.

I could keep going, but I think you get the point. If you have a sound mind and oxygen in your lungs, you have the ability to successfully make a career change.

In this article, I’ll look into why making a career change at 40 seems so difficult for you, and how to make the change and get unstuck from your stagnant job.

What’s Holding You Back from Making a Career Change?

There are a flood of amazing reasons to make a career change at 40. Heck, you could argue the benefits of making a career change at any age. However, there is something a little different about making a career change at 40.

When you are 40, you probably have lots of “responsibilities” that come into the decision-making process. What do I mean by responsibilities, you ask?

Responsibilities tend to be our fears and self-doubt wrapped in a bow of logic and reason. You may say to yourself:

  • I have bills to pay and a family to support. Can I afford the risk associated with a career change?
  • What about the friends I have made over the years? I cannot just abandon them.
  • What if I do not like my career change as much as I thought I would? I could end up miserable and stuck in a worse situation.
  • My new career is so different than what I have been doing, I need additional training and certifications. Can I afford this additional expense and do I have the time recoup my investment?
  • The economy is not the best and there is so much uncertainty surrounding a new career. Maybe it would be better to wait until I retire from this company in 15 years, and then I can start something new.

If you have experienced any of these thoughts, they will only pacify you for a short period of time. Whether that time is a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years.

Since you know that you prefer to do something else for a living, you start to feel stagnant in your current position.

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Your reasons for inaction that used to work are no longer doing the trick. What used to be a small fissure in your dissatisfaction in your current position is now a chasm.

Ideally, you never stay in a situation until that point, but if you did, there is still hope.

4 Tips To Change Your Career at 40

You do not have to feel stagnant in your current role any longer. You can take steps to conquer your fears and self-doubt so you can accomplish your goal of changing your career.

The challenge of changing your career is not knowing where to begin. That feeling of overwhelm and the fear of uncertainty is what keeps most people from moving forward.

To help you successfully change your career at the age of 40, follow these four tips.

1. Value Your Time Above Money

There is nothing more valuable than your time. You are likely receiving a pay-check or two every month that is replenishing your income. Money is something you can always receive more of.

When it comes to your time, when it is gone, it is gone. That is why waiting for the perfect situation to make a career change is the wrong mindset to have.

Realistically, you will never find the perfect situation. There will always be something that could be better or a project you want to finish before you leave.

By placing your time above money, you will maximize your opportunity to succeed and avoid stagnation.

If you feel disconnected when you are at work, understand that you are not alone. According to a Gallup Poll, only 32% of U.S. employees said they were actively engaged at work.[1]

Whether you think your talents are not being properly utilized, the politics of promotion stress you out, or you feel called to do something else with your life; the time to act is now.

Do not wait until you retire in another 10 to 20 years to make a career change. Put a plan in place to make a career change now. You will thank yourself later.

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2. Build a Network

Making a career change is not going to be easy, but that does not mean it is impossible.

One benefit to being further along in your career is the people you associate with are further along in their career as well.

Even if most of the people in your immediate network are not in your target industry, you never know the needs of the people with whom they associate.

A friend of mine recently made a career change and entered the real estate industry. The first thing he did was tell everyone he knew that he was a licensed real estate agent.

It was not as though he thought everyone he knew was getting ready to sell their home. He wanted to make sure he was in the front of our mind if we spoke to anyone purchasing or selling their home.

You may have had a similar experience with a financial adviser canvasing the neighborhood. They wanted to let you know they were a local and licensed financial adviser. Whether you or someone you knew was shopping for an adviser, they wanted to make sure you thought of them first.

The power of your network being further along in their career is they may be the hiring manager or decision-maker.

You want to let people know you are considering a career move early in the process, so they are thinking of you when the need arises.

Let me put it to you in the form of a question: When is the best time to let people know you have a snow shoveling business?

In the summer when there is not a drop of snow on the ground.

Let them know about your business in the summer. Then ask them if it is okay to keep in touch with them until the need arises. Then you want to spend the entire fall season cultivating and nurturing the relationship. As a result, when the winter comes around, they already know who is going to shovel their snow.

If you want to set yourself apart from your competition, start throwing out those feelers before the need arises. Then you will be ahead of your competition who waited until the snow fell to start canvasing the neighborhood.

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Learn about networking here: How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

3. Believe It Is Possible

One of the greatest mistakes people make when they want to try something new, is they never talk to people living the life they want.

If you only talk to friends who have not changed their career in 30 years, what kind of advice do you think they will give you? They are going to give you the advice that they live by. If they have spent 30 years in the same career, they most likely feel stability of career is essential to their life.

In life, your actions often mirror your beliefs. Someone who wants to start a business should not ask for advice from someone who never started one.

A person who never took the risk of starting a business is most likely risk adverse. Consequently, they are going to speak on the fact that most businesses fail within the first five years.

Instead, if you talk to someone who is running a business, they will advice you on the difficulties of starting a business. However, they will also share with you how they overcame those difficulties, as well as the benefits of being a business owner.

If you want to overcome your fears and self-doubt associated with changing your career at 40, you are going to need to talk to people who have successfully managed a career change.

They are going to provide you a realistic perspective on the difficulties surrounding the endeavor, but they are also going to help you believe it is possible.

Studies show the sources of your beliefs include,[2]

“environment, events, knowledge, past experiences, visualization etc. One of the biggest misconceptions people often harbor is that belief is a static, intellectual concept. Nothing can be farther from truth! Beliefs are a choice. We have the power to choose our beliefs.”

By choosing to absorb the successes of others, you are choosing to believe you can change your career at 40. On the other hand, if you absorb the fears and doubts of others, you have chosen to succumb to your own fears and self-doubt.

4. Put Yourself Out There

You are most likely going to have to leave your comfort zone to make a career change at 40.

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Reason-being, your comfort zone is built on the experiences you have lived thus far. So that means your current career is in your comfort zone.

Even though you may be feeling stagnant and unproductive in your career, it is still your comfort zone. This helps explain why so many people are unwilling to pursue a career change.

If you want to improve your prospects of launching your new career, you are going to need to attend industry events.

Whether these events are local or a large conference that everyone attends, you want to make it a priority to go. Ideally you want to start with local events because they may be a more intimate setting.

Many of these events have a professional development component where you can see what skill-sets, certification, and education people are looking for. Here you can find 17 best careers worth going back to school for at 40.

You can almost survey the group and build your plan of action according to the responses you receive.

The bonus of exposure to your new industry is you may find yourself getting lucky (when opportunity meets preparation) and creating a valuable relationship or landing an interview.

Final Thoughts

Whatever the reason, if you want to change your career, you owe it to yourself to do so. You have valuable in-sight from your current career that can help you position yourself above others.

Start sharing your story and desire to change your career today. Attend industry events and build a mindset of belief. You have everything you need to accomplish your goal, you only need to take action.

More About Career Change

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/HY-Nr7GQs3k via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] News Gallup: Employee Engagement In US, Stagnant In 2015
[2] Indian J Psychiatry: The Biochemistry Of Belief

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