4 ways to protect your personal brand from holiday mishaps

Posted by Amanda Augustine

December 18, 2012 @ 02:00 AM

Plan ahead to save face during corporate events.

Holiday Parties

There are tons of articles out there warning you to be on your best behavior during holiday events, but still, many find themselves the butt of their colleagues’ jokes the next day. I don’t know what it is about holiday parties, but many think it gives them a license to abandon all the rules and let loose, regardless of the consequences.

I’ve seen my share of poor holiday performances over the years and have learned a lesson or two along the way. The bottom line: there’s never a good reason to behave badly at a corporate event – during the holidays or otherwise. Not only are you damaging your personal brand, but you could be sabotaging your potential advancement at the organization.

Even if you are counting down the days till bonuses are delivered so you can quit, don’t burn any bridges that could lead to recommendations, references, or even job leads later in your career. No one wants to stick their neck out for the guy who ends up in a sit-down with HR the morning after a holiday party. Here are four tips to help you avoid mishaps at the company party:

Catch the right attention

Show up on time and spend the first part of the event chatting with your boss and your higher-ups. You’re better off getting your face time in early, before the drinks start flowing or you’re a sweaty mess from dancing. Remember, these events are opportunities to promote your personal brand and network with colleagues you normally don’t work with.

Hit up the buffet

If the evening will involve alcoholic beverages, have a game plan. Make sure to hit up the buffet at the beginning of the event to avoid  liquid-only consumption. If you’re unsure of the food situation , do yourself a favor and eat something before you go, or bring a snack with you. I like protein bars because they’re small enough to fit in a suit pocket or slim purse and still fill you up.

Stick to the 2-drink rule

If you’re going to drink, limit yourself to 2 alcoholic beverages, and have a glass of water in between each one. There’s nothing wrong with ordering seltzer with a lime as the night progresses – this way, your hands are still full and you’re not in danger of embarrassing yourself with a drunken mishap.

Have a plan B

Have a buddy at the event to keep you in check. This could be your date or a trusted colleague at the company. Program the number of a taxi or car service into your phone, just in case you or another colleague needs alternative transportation to get home.  

Everyone likes to have a good time at corporate events – but that doesn’t give you license to disregard the rules. Remember that you are an extension of your company’s brand, and behave accordingly. Follow the tips above to keep your reputation intact and your career headed in the right direction. 

AmandaAugustine_JobSearchExpert_TheLadders_1Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda, Networking, Personal Branding, Professional Development