Great guest post by Colm Cavey. The, providing Corporate Outplacement and private one to one career change services at all levels throughout Ireland.

It’s that time of year when companies large and small have their annual Christmas party, bash, dinner or get together. It’s also a time when some people, as sure as night follows day, make a complete idiot of themselves.

Again and again, I have seen people arrive having had a few ‘pit stops’ on the way, and it only takes two or three drinks more to tip them right over the edge. People who, at most times, are friendly and personable turn into unbelievable boars that believe they are the life and soul of the party.

However, a few drinks too many is not the real problem; it’s the behaviour that is.  Without getting too graphic, there is ‘the touching and gestures’, and there is the ‘spoken word’. All can come under the heading of harassment. The excuse, “I just had a few too many” does not work. No apology works for totally inappropriate behaviour.

For some reason, there are people who work closely with others all year long, but during the Christmas party season, they seem to believe that inappropriately touching co-workers is all right.

Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be any cut-off point where this behaviour starts or stops. It goes on with those from entry level and up to and including Senior Managers who should know better.

When going out to the company party, there are a few things to keep in mind;

Your ‘Boss/Manager’ will be there and will be observing your behaviour from a distance.  If you display objectionable conduct, it will be noted and can work against you at a later stage.

Worse still if there is a complaint made against you for inappropriate behaviour, HR will have to respond, and your job could be in jeopardy. Remember the company has a responsibility to their staff and must take the corrective action in such circumstances.

There are a few things that I might suggest to those heading out to the end-of-year party. If you know – and are honest with yourself – you like a few drinks and sometimes take too much.

  • If you can, bring your partner with you. They will keep you on the straight and narrow.
  • Avoid meeting some of your workmates in a Bar on the way to the event. More drink will be consumed in half an hour there than during the remainder of the night.  You will arrive half tipsy before you start.
  • Drink a large glass of cold water before you head out. It takes the edge off your thirst and slows down the drinking process.
  • If you like wine, have a spritzer. Half white wine, half sparkling water. They taste good but only have half the alcohol.

So far everything has referred to alcohol. So that just leaves issues of behaviour.

With all the goings-on in Hollywood and other places, it is essential that there is no misbehaviour of any kind. Pulling, touching, putting your arm around someone, getting too close, is now taboo. It always was, but now more than ever it is a sensitive issue. Err on the side of caution, and any physical contact should be nothing more than shaking hands.

If there is a male or female that works in your offices and you often thought of making a date, don’t do it at the office party. It’s just not the place. Others will overhear what you say, the individual may not like such an approach and apparently having had a few drinks, your advances may not be regarded as genuine.  Save it for another time and in the cold light of day ask them out. But not if it’s your boss!

So in short take it easy at the Christmas party, slow down, and you will enjoy it all the more.  When skill-fully done it can be an excellent networking opportunity. However, you will need to keep any such approaches short and more by way of a ‘hint’ than a statement of intent. Any conversation had can be followed up at a suitable time later that week.

There’s a time and a place for everything.

Good Luck.


Top Tips. PCC provides professionally delivered, supportive and most importantly, successful career change and redeployment assistance to private clients from all sectors of Industry.  Enquiries are welcome and treated with confidence. Tel: 086-3017207 & 01-2819056, Email: [email protected] Web:

Prepared and edited by Amy Murphy, Journalism student at DCU.


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