S02 E09 – Making office parties fun again

Office parties, work disguised as fun, or maybe fun with a splash of work. This week’s episode is all about navigating office parties with tips on how to have fun and keep your job. We also talk through different option to celebrate the season at work. Tune is to learn how to make office parties fun again!

Show Notes:

1. Why office parties are tricky

  • Although office parties are intended as social events to reward employees and raise morale, they remain strictly business events.
  • Act as though your behavior is being observed every minute (because it probably is) and conduct yourself professionally at all times.

2. Tips for what to do/not to do at office parties


  • Don’t pass up the invitation to an office party; not attending could hurt your reputation.  When you attend, spend at least 30 minutes at the party for appearances.
  • Know exactly who is invited to the party. Spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties.
  • If your invitation includes a guest, choose wisely when deciding who to ask. Avoid bringing someone who might exhibit inappropriate behavior—even if he or she is your significant other.
  • Your plus-one’s bad behavior will reflect poorly on you. If you deem it necessary, remind your guest to follow the same rules to which you are expected to adhere. 
  • Enjoy yourself at the party. Employers spend the big bucks to reward their employees, so be sure to enjoy the only holiday gift you may be getting from the company.
  • Put your phone away and try to focus on the here and now. If you must check your phone occasionally, slip away to do so. Of course, keep your phone handy for taking pictures! Share them on social media

    What to wear

  • Ask whether the attire for the party is formal or casual and wear something a little special.
  • Don’t pull the nightclub attire from your closet for the event. The party is still a business function, so conservative party clothes are a good choice. Skip anything too revealing or too flashy. Keep your reputation for good taste intact.

Eating & drinking

  • Don’t feel you need to drink excessively just because it’s an open bar. And
  • Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and alters your judgment. The last place you want to be while uninhibited and lacking good judgment is an event hosted by your boss and attended by him or her, and your colleagues
  • Your actions under those conditions could cause you to become the subject of workplace gossip or worse, unemployed.
  • Know your limits and don’t go beyond them. One alcoholic beverage—or even two if you are sure you can handle it—is okay. Although you may know a third drink won’t be a problem for you, keep in mind perception is everything. You want to avoid looking like you are drinking too much.
  • Don’t pig-out at the food buffet either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party.
  • Keep one hand free during the night so that you can offer handshakes to people as they come by. And do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening.


  • Keep all conversations positive and upbeat. Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging, correcting, whining, or ridiculing. And do avoid controversial subjects (such as religion, politics, etc.) and off-color jokes.
  • Take the time to network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career or who you may not see regularly, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations.
  • Don’t spend all evening talking business. You’ll forever have the label as the office bore.
  • Don’t monopolize conversations — and, especially, don’t talk about yourself or your accomplishments all night.
  • Show interest in others. Do be gracious and thank coworkers and team members for all their help and hard work during the past year. And don’t even think about gossiping about others.
  • Don’t assume everyone celebrates the same holiday, so don’t go overboard with the “Merry Christmas.”
  • Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t flirt, and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior.. Workplace romances—or worse, one night stands—can be disastrous.
  • The office party is not the time to end your career with the company by doing something inappropriate or illegal
  • Don’t bring the party lampshade, gag gifts for the boss, or any other crazy stuff you might do at a personal holiday party.

Calling it a night

  • Don’t overstay your welcome by partying until the wee hours.
  • Inquire about office policies on providing car or cab service for employees attending the holiday party.
  • Appoint a designated driver or do hire a cab yourself if the company is not willing to provide the rides home. Don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t forget to thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. And do consider sending a thank-you note to top management for hosting the party.

3. Alternatives to office parties

  • Host the party during work hours.  Office parties are meant to boost morale, so employees shouldn’t have to miss out on their dinner plans in order to attend.
  • Give people an actual break by holding the party during  and assure everyone they won’t be expected to stay late to make up any work that work hours doesn’t get completed during that time

Corporate Crush: Karleen Roy

  • From ideating to executing bespoke events to offering lavish concierge services, Roy has worked with the top celebrities in the entertainment industry such as Cardi B, Migos, Kobe Bryant, Rick Ross and more.
  • Her mantra is… “Enjoy the fruits of my labor wherein I can live a colorful life and also, from the rewards of my work, be able to give back by creating a legacy that lives beyond my time here on earth.”
  • As Combs’ executive assistant, she was able to hone her business acumen and event management skills while establishing a rapport with key influencers in the music industry.
  • After 6 years with Bad Boy, Karleen decided to embark on entrepreneurship and founded The Vanity Group, a luxury lifestyle management agency dedicated to creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their clients.
  • After a year of being an unpaid intern at Island Def Jam, she was offered the opportunity to be Ne-Yo’s assistant at his production company Compound Entertainment.
  • After my time with Ne-Yo, I landed a job at Sony Music in copyright publishing during the day, and at night I would volunteer in the office at Violator Management. It was at Violator, that I learned of a job opening at Bad Boy which was my dream job! After the longest, most thorough interview process ever (it was months on months), I was hired to be the Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff at Bad Boy Entertainment
  • Working with Mr. Combs was awesome because it was the best of all worlds – business, music, fashion, television and film, art, lifestyle, and events- because as we all know, Mr. Combs is the KING of throwing an amazing party.
  • Three important career lessons that she learned from Sean Combs:
    • Closed mouths don’t get fed.
    • If you want 50, ask for 100.
    • Being emotional in business will have you broke; make sure you are making sound business decisions.
  • As an entrepreneur, you are a walking billboard for your company so act as such. If you treat your business like a side hustle, so will everyone else.
  • Five tips for millennials passionate about creating a name for themselves within the entertainment industry and starting their own business:
    • Master your craft. If you are going to be bold enough to brand yourself as an “expert” in something, have the actual credentials to back it up.
    • Don’t be a groupie. People can see your intentions a mile away. Time will always reveal.
    • Volunteer your time or intern for a company that interest you. You are going to have to start at the bottom and work your way up – don’t be afraid to invest the time in yourself to learn and grow.
    • Everything is not about a “check.” Chase relationships, not money. If you have great relationships the money will follow.
    • Be dope! If you do great work, people will sing your praises and want to put you on. You cannot deny talent.
  • Karleen says, My biggest accomplishment is… that I haven’t given up! Being an entrepreneur seems like a very glamorous position to be in, however its is a difficult and trying road. It takes faith, believing in yourself and an insane amount of tenacity and resilience because you will fail more times than you win.

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