The annual Christmas Party is the perfect opportunity to kick back and celebrate a great year with your colleagues over a drink or two ... or is it? Believe it or not, you are as much "on show" professionally at the office Christmas Party, as you are at 10am on Monday. Let's have a look at some of the creative and exciting ways you can make some career-limiting moves at your big annual shindig.
You have worked hard this year for your company, and now it's their time to pay you back for those long hours and sleepless nights. The more you drink, the funnier you will be, the better you will dance (see point six), and the more attractive you will appear to the opposite sex. Bonus point - don't eat too much before or during the event as it will just take up precious space reserved for alcohol.
Proposition the guy or girl you have an office crush on
As you don't have the courage to approach that hunk/babe during the other 364 days of the year, this is the perfect opportunity to loosen up with a couple of drinks, then ask them "how about it?" The worst case scenario is that they will be flattered by your proposal, brush it off politely and not mention it to the HR manager first thing Monday morning.
Dress really inappropriately
The Christmas party is the perfect time to shine and show the real you. All year you have to wear the same corporate uniform and are not allowed to highlight your individuality in your dress style - skin is in. Show the IT team how to have real panache and try to shock some fashion sense into the finance people.
Ask for a raise
This is the perfect time to open the conversation about how great you have been at work this year with your boss. Talk about the KPIs and targets you achieved, while not forgetting to mention your passion for the organisation and industry at large. You will want the "salary raise" question to come up organically, if possible, however, if after 30 minutes or so the manager has not responded, come out and ask the question directly.
Use the party as an opportunity to social climb
Shun your day-to-day team members at the party for the more attractive people in sales, marketing and HR. Don't worry about hurting the feelings of other colleagues as they will forgive you by Monday.
Show off your awesome dance moves
Practise your "robot" moves before the event, then throw yourself in with wild abandon when any song that vaguely has a beat comes on. If you are over 40, remind the younger team members that "this is how we did it in my day"! "Dancing 2.0" kicks in when you can emulate Miley Cyrus' twerking in front of the board members, and don't forget to stick your tongue out to all and sundry to really demonstrate you are a hipster.
Say what you really think
Sure, you have some polarising views on politics, world events and people groups, but this is a social occasion, right? This relaxed forum allows you the complete freedom to express your thoughts that would otherwise see only the light of day in an anonymous online chat forum. Remember to win any verbal jousts as well to show you are not a pushover.
Complain about the food, venue, etc
"What? The caviar is NOT Russian?" This is your day to be treated like royalty, after being treated like a "pleb" all year. If the food does not meet your expectations, make sure to tell everyone in your group loudly so your manager can hear. Also if the room is too light/dark/quiet/loud/cold/hot etc, ensure you moan about this as well.
Don't bother turning up to work on Monday
What are sick days for if not for hangovers? Text your boss to say that, coincidentally, you got a large bout of the flu the next day and you won't be able to make it in. If you really want to plan this well, remember to mention to your boss at the start of the night that your throat is feeling "a bit sore" and you are feeling "a little fluey".
These nine keys are of course some of the best ways to kill your career at your upcoming Christmas party. The main common denominator with all of these tips is excess alcohol, so try not to imbibe too much, and everything should all go okay. Don't forget also that when your co-workers start to look attractive, it's time to go!
• Tom is an award-winning business speaker and best-selling international author. Email Tom at tom@OnepercentGuy.com