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Lesson 77: What not to do at the company Christmas party

Going to an office Christmas party can be great fun. It can also be like walking through a mine field. Make a major mistake in your behavior and it'll probably be remembered and talked about for years. It can also come into play at your next performance review. Chances are it won't be mentioned but it can still linger there, an unspoken dagger in your professional heart. So what shouldn't you do at the party?

First on the list is don't get drunk. Alcohol can relax you and help you enjoy the evening, but get too "relaxed" and you'll be saying and doing things that can harm your reputation and lessen the amount of trust your superiors are likely to place in you. If you can't depend on yourself to limit the amount of alcohol you drink, don't drink any at all. Do that and you'll find yourself enjoying one of the best parts of an office Christmas party: watching other people drink too much and make fools of themselves. It's much better to wake up the next morning with a sense of sober superiority than a hangover.

Second on the list is think twice about what you choose to wear to the party. This is especially true for women because they have so many options. For men it's tie or no tie, slacks or jeans, dress shoes or sneakers. A guy can make a fashion mistake but it's not likely to be fatal. A woman on the other hand can select a wardrobe that makes a real statement about herself. So when you're standing in front of a mirror trying to decide what to wear, think about the image you want to project in the office and select something that fits that image. You want to be noticed but you want people thinking you're stylish and appropriate. You don't want Joe in accounting thinking "Wow! What a babe!". That's great for another party but not this one. So limit the amount of skin that you show. If it's something you'd wear to your parents' wedding anniversary party you're probably safe. Unless your parents are rock stars.

Dancing is often a staple at office Christmas parties. If that's the case and you're going to the party alone, spread yourself around. Dance with a lot of people. Think of it as a chance to have a one-on-one conversation with people you don't ordinarily spend a lot of time with. It doesn't have to be a deep conversation, just three minutes of casual chit-chat, assumingR-rated, but at office parties it's best to dance the way you'd dance with your brother or sister. the music isn't so loud you can't be heard. Another thing to consider is the way you dance. These days the dance floor can be

Another thing to avoid is office talk. A party is not the time to discuss the Jenkins contract or the problems you're having with a co-worker. After all, no one is there to make decisions and that co-worker might be right behind you listening to every word you say.

Some people think the office Christmas party is the perfect time to cozy up to the boss. It's not. You want to speak to the boss, spend a few minutes with him or her and thank them for the party. But don't try to kiss his ass or make her your best buddy. They'll know you're trying to manipulate them and your effort will probably backfire.

Food will be a big part of the party. If you don't like the spread, keep it to yourself. Don't complain about the menu or how much is being spent on the party. Nothing good will come of complaining.

Bottom line, behave at the party the way you'd be expected to behave if it was a client party. Keep it dignified, light, and friendly. The rules of good office behavior don't change because someone opens a bottle of champagne. If anything, they get even more important. Break them and people will remember. For a very long time.


linger - to take a long time to leave or disappear

dagger - a short pointed knife which is sharp on both sides, used especially in the past as a weapon

harm your reputation - to hurt or damage the general estimation in which a person is held by the public.

lessen - if something lessens or is lessened, it becomes less strong

make a fool of - to do something which makes you seem stupid

sober superiority - when you behave and think as if you are better than other people because you did not drink or were affected by alcohol

hangover - a feeling of illness after drinking too much alcohol

slacks - a pair of trousers, usually of a type that fit loosely

make a statement – to say something officially, or an action done to express an opinion

project an image - if you project a particular quality, that quality is what most people notice about you

staple - a basic or principal element or feature.

spread yourself around - to distribute people or things over an area.

chit-chat - informal conversation about matters which are not important

assume - to take for granted; suppose

r-rated - an r-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously.

backfire - to have the opposite result from the one you intended

come of - to happen as a result of something

dignified - controlled, serious and calm, and therefore deserving respect

bottom line - the most important fact in a situation


Read the text and choose the right meaning of the expressions below:

1. Walking through a mine field.

a) To be in a situation or subject which is very complicated and full of hidden problems and dangers

b) When all the competitors take part in a race or activity

2. It can also come into play

a) to become an important factor in something

b) to agree to work with or help someone in the way they have suggested

3. It's not likely to be fatal

a) it will not have an important bad effect in the future

b) the situation is not promising and likely to fail.

4. Limit the amount of skin that you show

a) You should not wear any coats or furs made of leather

b) Do not show much of your naked body


Read the text and fill in the gaps with the missing words from the glossary

1. After the play had finished, we ………………………….. for a while in the bar hoping to catch sight of the actors.

2. Recently the president has sought to …………………….. a much tougher image.

3. Did anything ……………………… of all those job applications?

4. He has maintained a ……………………… silence about the rumors.

5. Her plans to make him jealous ………………………. on her when he went off with her best friend.

6. I …………………….. that you knew each other because you went to the same school.

7. The government is expected to make a ………………………….. about the investigation to the press.

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czwartek, 17 grudnia 2009, kurs_praca

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