In the course of your work, you may find yourself invited to one or more seasonal office parties. Should such an occasion arise, please adhere to the following guidelines.
ATTENDANCE: Although not technically mandatory, failure to share with colleagues in the joyous holiday spirit at a company- sponsored event may result in harsh disciplinary action.
ATTIRE: Fishnet in any form is strictly prohibited. Sweaters with blatant holiday designs or built-in music chips will be confiscated at the door. Apparel that leaves little to the imagination must be authorized in advance by a superior.
ARRIVAL: Employees are discouraged from being the first person to appear. If you find that you have arrived early, please circle the block until you confirm that one or more colleagues have entered before you.
CONVERSATION: Limit banter to trite compliments about the venue and food while minimizing criticism. (Appropriate: "Cheese cubes, chicken, and sponge cake? I must have won the lottery!" Inappropriate: "Wow. A carving station. That makes up for the pay cut.")
ALCOHOL: As a rule of thumb, consumption of alcohol should cease just before the moment when it becomes imperative to tell your boss exactly what you think of him.
ROMANCE: The Company does not maintain a what-happened-at-the-party-stays-at-the-party policy. So please exercise the utmost discretion when groping in public view. Managers who feel obliged to get it on with a direct report will be asked to secure a room upstairs. (Such room charges may not be included on T&E reports. See Chapter 31: Allowable Expenditures.)
A version of this article appeared in the December 2003 issue of Fast Company magazine.