Kevin Farmer/The Chronicle

Office parties a minefield for workers

THE annual work Christmas party can present the discerning employee with a chance to network, have fun with co-workers and impress the whole office with extraordinary wit and charm.

But then there is also the opportunity to insult the boss’ wife, cry on your manager’s new Ben Sherman shirt or end up with your legs in the air while trying out a new dance move.

There are some who might even believe that plying overworked staff with free alcohol is actually a ploy invented by bosses to embarrass party animals right out of the office environment.

A recent survey of more than 2000 people on a dating website offered hilarious insight into the most common Christmas party blunders, with drinking too much topping the list at 70 per cent, followed closely by kissing colleagues (probably after drinking too much).

There are a number of tricks to avoid this scenario:

Take a sobriety pledge for the evening. Offer to be the designated driver and you could score points for not being a drunken lout while at the same time enabling others to be. At the very least you should limit your alcohol consumption and space it out with water.

Dress like the respectable person you know you can be. Revealing or sloppy casual are out, while conservative and tidy are way in. It’s not a night club, it’s your work party.

Mingle with everyone possible including your colleagues’ spouses and the nerdy IT guy. It’s the polite thing to do, and you will actually increase your credibility.

Political correctness should not go down as blood alcohol levels go up. Keep your presents respectable as well.

Save whining about work or how mean the boss is for the water cooler gossip. Parties are not your forum.

Work Christmas parties are not singles parties. Save the budding office romance for another occasion and definitely don’t be seen snogging in the corner or draping yourself over another person.

If you are prone to embarrassing behaviour while at parties and you are determined to make use of the free alcohol, organise a buddy who will gently extract you from trouble and discreetly throw you in a cab if things go bad.

Too much fun?

Drunk too much: 70 per cent

Kissed a co-worker: 56%

Told co-workers’ dirty secrets: 54%

Fallen over: 51%

Slept with a co-worker: 44%

Left your co-workers to hit on randoms: 44%

Embarrassed yourself in front of your boss: 38%

Removed some clothes or stripped off: 32%

Been ejected from a venue: 26%

Passed out: 21%

Abused your boss: 17%

Kissed your boss: 14%

Got into a physical fight: 13%

Quit your job: 11%

Slept with your boss: 10%

Ended up crying: 9%

Been arrested: 7%

(Source: Survey of 2004 Australians by online dating website

Take a sobriety pledge for the evening.

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