- Get way too drunk. You're allowed to have some alcohol, but make sure you pace and limit yourself. If you want to know how much you can drink, Grub Street has a neat infographic that cites the right amount of liquor each type of employee should imbibe.
- Stick to your tribe. If you already belong to a clique in the office, use the party as an opportunity to stray away from the pack. After all, you see those familiar faces all the time. Who knows? You may develop great new friendships outside of your circle.
- Talk about work the whole time. Seriously, don't talk about the broken copy machine or how much work you're going to have to do when you get into the office tomorrow. Try to think of nonwork topics to lighten the mood. Talking about the daily grind may seem second nature to you when you're around colleagues, but it can stress people out because it's reminding them of work.
- Gossip or complain. Don't be a debbie downer and moan about work or talk about the latest office gossip. People can easily overhear what you're saying so you might want to save your personal comments for another time.
- Invite too many people. This party isn't an opportunity for you and your friends to take advantage of the free food and booze. Just invite one person with you to the party if you're allowed to. Remember to check to see if you can even bring guests to the party to begin with. Remember, the point of the party is for you to mingle with your colleagues, so it's better to fly solo for this event.
- Ignore the dress code. Do dress appropriately for the party, and if you're new at the company, ask other employees who were at last year's holiday party about the dress code. Leave anything short, tight, and skimpy at home — this is still a work function.
- Be tongue tied. If you're generally a shy person, you might not know what to say when it comes to talking to a superior or a colleague you're not acquainted with. Do some prep before hand to brainstorm a list of prompters so you'll never have to worry about awkward silences.
- Forget to thank the organizers. Make sure you take the time to thank the people who coordinated and organized the party. They obviously have put in a lot of effort to make sure you'll have a good time and they'll definitely appreciate the acknowledgement from you.
Whether in an entry-level or senior position, every employee who has held a job has had a boss before. LearnVest has compiled eight questions you should ask to ensure a successful relationship with your boss.
Think about it: You probably only hear from your boss when a) you royally screwed up, b) you majorly kicked ass or … c) it’s performance review time.
Feedback from your supervisor is what you crave, unless you’re happy flying under the radar, which certainly won’t help you advance. Getting honest input from your supervisor is crucial to your relationship with your boss—and, like it or not, your relationship with your boss can make or break your career. A solid rapport makes deadlines a breeze and the workday go by in a flash; but a shaky one can render even a short elevator ride interminable.
Plus, having a good relationship with your boss may even reduce stress at work. In a workplace study by the American Psychological Association, up to 75% of respondents said the most stressful aspect of their job is their immediate boss.
Here, we asked an expert to share a few key questions you can ask that will help you and your supervisor get on (or stay on) the right track.
1. How was your weekend?
When to ask: “Monday mornings are hectic and everyone’s got a million things on their to-do list—but don’t overlook the opportunity to ask about your boss’ weekend,” suggests Jodi Glickman, author of “Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It: The Secrets of Getting Ahead. “It gives you an opportunity to start building a personal relationship and connect on a non-work level.” Try to ask something specific, like if her daughter won her softball game or how the client dinner went—it’ll show you’ve been paying attention.
Why it’s important to ask: The more you know about your boss, the better. By understanding how she spends her time when she’s not at the office, you’ll learn what’s important to her. “It allows you two to build a real relationship that extends beyond spreadsheets and timelines,” Glickman explains. “It gives you another dimension to connect on so she also sees you as not just a subordinate but someone with a personal life and outside interests, too. Furthermore, by sharing personal details about your life, you will appear more mature and invested in the relationship. That scores big points with management.”
The office is just like high school. Remember the good ol' days when something would happen that made you wish the floor would open up and swallow you? Well, those awkward moments keep happening way past graduation. Look on the bright side: at least there isn't a gym class for you to fall flat on your face.
1. When you walk past someone and wave or say hi to them, but they don't see or hear it
Just pat your hair, cough, and walk away.
2. When you listen to music with headphones . . . that are unplugged
So that's why I had to keep turning the volume up!
3. When you say goodbye before realizing you're walking in the same direction
4. When you're in the bathroom at the same time as your co-worker
Do we continue talking? Do we both ignore the sounds coming from our stalls?
The What do you do? question is so commonplace that many people don't blink an eye when it's asked. However, according to Carolyn Gregoire, a Huffington Post editor, it's a conversation killer when you first meet someone. Gregoire writes:
"We tend to drop this heavy question into conversation before almost anything else has been said, as a way to quickly gather information and start forming an image of the person we're speaking with. While the inquiry might seem harmless, it perpetuates a dangerous habit: the tendency to associate who we are with what we do."
Although it may be a question that's welcomed by those who are employed and love what they do, it can be one that's dreaded by those who are jobless, don't like what they do, or just don't want to talk shop outside the office.
Now, it's not to say that you can never ask that question, but some commenters say it's more fitting to have that topic come up organically and not immediately after you meet someone for the first time. However, you might argue that it's a commonplace question and that people really shouldn't overthink it. What say you: is asking someone what they do rude or routine when you're first getting to know someone?
Although some of the workplace outfit no-nos for women are pretty obvious — no cleavage, no skintight dresses, etc. — there are some that aren't quite as clear cut. High heels, for example. Recently, there was a lot of chatter about a tweet by Jorge Cortell, CEO of healthcare startup Kanteron Systems, who took a photo of a woman wearing five-inch stilettos at an entrepreneurial investment event in New York. This is what he tweeted out:
— Jorge Cortell (@jorgecortell) October 22, 2013
Reactions around the web ranged from outrage from people who view his comment as being sexist to those who agree that stilettos don't present the right image. One Wall Street Journal columnist says, "In a business setting, platform stilettos are the female equivalent of a man wearing his shirt unbuttoned to his clavicle underneath his suit jacket."
What's your take? Are towering stilettos too sexy for the office?
In the spirit of National Coming Out Day, we turned to Candace Gingrich-Jones, associate director of the Youth and Campus Outreach Program for the Human Rights Campaign, for advice. Gingrich-Jones is a renowned advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and is also famously known as the half-sister of former Rep. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Here's what she had to say:
- Be aware of the consequences: "One thing to make sure gets mentioned is that it is still possible in some places to be fired for being gay; for being openly gay at work," Gingrich-Jones says. "I do encourage people to think about it before coming out at work because of that possibility. The majority of people who come out at work don't run into trouble, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind."
- Know your rights: Do your research to find out the employment laws where you live and in your company. One good resource is the online registry by the Human Rights Campaign called the Corporate Equality Index that evaluates companies on how they treat LGBT employees. It measures companies based on factors like the existence of nondiscrimination policies and domestic partnership benefits. Another helpful source is the Municipality Equality Index, which studies 100 municipalities in the country to evaluate them based on things like the nondiscrimination policies available in the area, openly LGBT in the office, and if the city recognizes domestic partners. There is no federal law that protects the LGBT community from discrimination, but some states and cities do, so do your research to find out what type of area you live in.
- The subtle route: You don't have to come out at the office with trumpets and fanfare — there are subtle ways you can make it known at work. You can do it by just simply living your life. "Some people might not think of wearing a wedding ring as coming out, but you are," she says. "Putting a photo on your desk, being able to talk about our families or what we happened to do over the weekend, these are ways that we all come out . . . there are some people who think that coming out is always supposed to be fireworks and a brass band [but] it is still powerful [whether it be] subtle or the big band."
Marina Shifrin certainly wasn't shy about telling the world she's quitting her job. The video she created to tell her boss she's quitting has gotten millions of views since she uploaded it Saturday.
In the video, Shifrin dances around her office at 4:30 a.m. to the beat of Kanye West's Gone, while subtitles explain the reasons for her resignation. She says, "For almost two years I've sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job. And my boss only cares . . . about quantity and how many views each video has."
Many are applauding Shifrin's bold move, which leads me to think that this viral video could potentially help Shifrin in her job hunt. What do you think — will employers see her as a worker who could embarrass them, or will they consider her a creative genius?
Some jobs come with a company handbook and a strict set of guidelines regarding office hours, dress code, and sick days. But in today's business world, plenty of companies leave those parameters to the employee's discretion so long as the work gets done. Of course, we all seek to meet our employer's expectations and play by the unspoken rules. For the times you're embarking on a new job in which the handbook is less than detailed, we've rounded up eight things you can learn about your new office through simple observation.
- The weather. Although it's cliche, the talk of weather can become a lengthy conversation. You can start comparing how the weather was a year prior or a few days ago or even talk about what it's going to be like in the coming days.
- Weekend. The weekend is another great conversation starter because it can lead to many different topics. You can talk about what you did, and that will probably lead to other conversations on your interests or people you spent time with.
- Following up. Do you remember what you last talked to a co-worker about? Bring that up again and ask her about it. Or if you remember a life event she underwent or is looking forward to, such as a wedding or a trip, be sure to ask her about it.
- The holidays. There's always so much to talk about when it comes to the holidays. For the upcoming Halloween holiday, there is the "What are you going to be for Halloween?" question, and for Thanksgiving, there is the typical "Where are you celebrating?" query. You can always talk about what they did after your co-workers come back to work after the holidays as well.
- Comment on outfit. Commenting on someone's outfit can bring about a conversation on where she bought that certain accessory or shirt from. There's not too much that can be extrapolated on from outfit talk, but it's a good start!
- Latest news. Bring up whatever is going on in the news, be it the latest food recall or shocking celebrity breakup. Make sure that you pick a piece of news that's relevant and interesting to the person you're talking to.
What other conversation starters do you use in the office?
"Employers in the US and in many European countries must obtain the consent of workers to monitor texts and other electronic information. Typically that means 'some notice posted somewhere, (possibly in a manual or before an employee uses the computer,' said David Jacobs, consumer protection counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. 'Once the employee agrees, almost anything is fair game.'
. . . In 2010, the US Supreme Court said employers could monitor worker text messages, as long as there was a 'legitimate work-related purpose.'"
It's better to be safe than sorry, so perhaps you should relegate private messages on your own personal cell phone and try not to text anything you don't want your manager to see.