There are three social environments when it comes to your career. At one end, is the formal atmosphere of your professional business life. Here, all eyes are on you … and to succeed, you must conduct yourself with the utmost energy, enthusiasm, and decorum. At the other end (if you are lucky), is a personal life that is free from business relationships. Here, you do exactly as you please. In the middle, are the social events that surround business functions — the dinners and dances and cocktail parities that often follow conferences, trade shows, and seminars.
It is this middle ground that is difficult for some people (like me). It’s easy to convince yourself that anything goes in such situations – but it doesn’t. Like it or not, you will be judged by your behavior at these events, and although your actions will be given much greater tolerance than they would in your daytime business life, you will not be excused from everything.
Here is a partial list of things I have done and/or observed that are probably inadvisable at such functions:
- Passing out from drink
- Telling your colleagues what you really think of them
- Commenting (positively or negatively) on your colleagues’ body parts
- Any form of “dirty” dancing
- Forcing people to play volleyball/water polo or do that YMCA thing
- Telling your boss’s wife what a prick he is
- Telling your boss’s husband how hot all the guys think she is
- Confessing your love to anyone except your spouse
- Dancing on, standing on, or toppling over furniture
- Yodeling, Tarzan calls, or hyena laughing
- Disrobing, even if it’s “so fucking hot”
- Leading a conga line
- Showing your supervisor your tattoos
- Taking the “after-party” to a karaoke bar
- Doing anything that in any way resembles John Belushi’s behavior in Animal House
Jason Gay, at the Wall Street Journal, has compiled his own list of rules which you can read here.