I Didn’t Want to Go To My Office Holiday Party – Here’s Why I Did

T’was the night before Christmas,

And all through the night,

A girl at her workplace,

Was stuck in a fright. 

The party was coming,

She pondered the thought,

If I skip out the party,

Will the boss get me caught?

Holiday season is upon us. And with this season comes workplace obligations! YAY!

I got to thinking about this when I got an email 2 weeks ago notifying us that December 10th was going to be this season’s workplace holiday party at a local bar. Immediate thoughts, “HOW CAN I GET OUT OF THIS”. To be honest, that is my exact reaction to many things in life. I’m working on it. Personal growth is great, right? *cough*

Anyway… Now, I don’t consider myself a holiday grinch, and I definitely do not hate where I work. This is my first season as a full-time employee, with its tangent benefits, perks, and responsibilities. I am unaware of many unsaid workplace political practices, but I go to work every day and I do my job and I do it well.

Those of us who work full-time spend 40+ hours a week with our co-workers, more than we spend with our family, friends, and loved ones. So after work, tired and in need of decompression time, very low on the list of things I want to do is to go to a bar and spend time and mental energy schmoozing with colleagues and wholesalers.

But!

It is essential to your career that you go to your office holiday party.

I will repeat – It will damage your career in the long term to not go to your office holiday party.

Why is this the case? “Where are your sources, Catherine?”, fans scream from the abyss.

Let me let you in on a little secret – the night before my holiday party I did some Googling.

The unambiguous and definitive answer is as follows:

It might be unofficially mandatory. You might think that your company party is an optional treat, but many managers take note of who does and doesn’t attend—and will penalize those who don’t, either subtly or openly. Even managers who claim the parties are truly optional do care at some level if you don’t show up, so you’re generally wise to assume that this might be a professional obligation like any other.” [1]

“The holiday party, invitations to spend time with your boss outside of work, and other similar occasions are extremely important because they are a chance to form an emotional connection with the people you are working with. This connection is arguably more important than the professional connection. The emotional connection will take you farther and will last longer than any other sort of connection. Avoid holiday parties and other occasions to form emotional connections with your coworkers and superiors at your own risk.” [2]

“Holiday parties, company picnics, and the like are allegedly not mandatory events. In reality, they’re quite mandatory.

Here’s the reality:

Company events are a huge part of the culture of any company.[3]

The interwebs have spoken, but from the loved ones in my life who I asked for advice, here are some more reasons why you need to go to your office holiday party.

1. Your boss is always watching, whether you think so or not.

2. The most important capital at your disposal in the workplace is your personal capital. The relationships you build at the beginning of your career can be important to furthering your career. So make an appearance, even if you stay just one hour.

3. You never know who you are going to meet when you leave your comfort zone.

4. It will reflect negatively on you to not at least appear to be making an effort to join your company culture.

I am pleased to announce that I did a really hard thing this week (for me at least). I went to my company holiday party. I stayed two whole hours.

So don’t make a mistake that you will regret. Don’t make the social faux pax of ditching your company holiday party. It’s a blip on the radar of your life, so in the words of Nike – “Just do it.”

I’m happy I did.

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