The holiday season — while filled with joy and good cheer — can be a landmine in the office if you’re not careful. Here are 10 potential pitfalls you should watch out for this season.
1. Don’t Overdo it at the Office Holiday Party
While you certainly should relax at the company holiday party, do so within reason. Use it as an opportunity to talk to people other than the usual suspects. For some reason, whenever co-workers start drinking together, embarrassing things tend to happen. Pay attention to your alcohol consumption, and avoid the temptation to put that lampshade on your head.
2. Don’t Give an Inappropriate Gift to Your Boss
It’s perfectly acceptable to give the people you work with small tokens of appreciation for Christmas, but don’t give anything — especially to your boss — whose intent could be misunderstood to mean you have romantic interest in him or her, or simply want to get ahead in your career.
3. Don’t Take Vacation at Crunch Time
If you work in an industry that’s bombarded with work this time of year, try to avoid asking for vacation time unless absolutely necessary. You’ll come off more of a team player if you wait to unwind on the beach after the stressful period of work is over.
4. Don’t Flood the Break Room with Fattening Treats
Sure, most people love munching on your gingerbread cookies, but when everyone is worried about packing on the pounds around the holiday season, healthy alternatives are appreciated.
5. Don’t Angle for a Promotion at the Company Party
If you’ve been vying for a promotion or raise, bringing it up to your boss at the party is definitely a no-no. He’s there to relax too, and will be put off if you’re spouting off all your accomplishments as he’s trying to do the Electric Slide.
6. Don’t Hook Up with a Co-Worker
We keep coming back to that office party, don’t we? Inter-office romance is a tricky thing, and one-time hookups at the holiday party definitely make for an awkward and strained work environment. Instead, bring a date (even if it’s just a friend) to the party to avoid being tempted by the new hot intern.
7. Don’t Be Exclusive with the Gift Giving
Okay, you don’t have to get everyone in your office a gift, but unless you can subtly hand off a giant wrapped box to your favorite co-worker, try to get something for everyone, even if it’s just a card. This can help dial down the jealousy and keep cohesion in the office.
8. Don’t Grouse About Your Nonexistent Bonus
Times are hard. If you don’t get a bonus from your boss, don’t complain about it. It’s not personal. Your boss will appreciate it if you take it in stride.
9. Don’t Assume Everyone Celebrates Christmas
When giving cards, stick to “happy holidays” messages to avoid offending anyone. And if you know a co-worker practices another religion, find out if she is comfortable accepting gifts before you give one.
10. Don’t be a Scrooge
If you’re not into the festive vibe, don’t ruin it for everyone else. This is one time of year that people don’t work as hard if they don’t have to, and enjoy general camaraderie with others in the office.