Damage control for your holiday mishap

Posted by Amanda Augustine

December 21, 2012 @ 02:00 AM

How to repair your reputation after a holiday party blunder. 

Party Mishap

Alright, so you didn’t read my last article – you had a few too many vodka and tonics and things got a little out of hand at your company’s holiday party.

Whether you mouthed off to your manager, got caught up in an inappropriate conversation, or became a little too friendly with one of your coworkers, it’s important to address the situation as soon as possible and do a little damage control. While 1-800-Flowers can help you put together an “I’m sorry I threw up on you at the holiday party” flower arrangement, it’s going to take more than that to reverse the damage done to your reputation. 

Take the following steps to start repairing your personal brand when you wake up the next morning with a little dread and a killer
headache.

Regroup.

Take a step back – what did you do or say, and who was involved? Who witnessed anything particularly damaging? Also, don’t assume the worst – find out what happened from a colleague you trust (ideally one who was in better shape than you) before planning your next steps.

Follow Up.

It’s important to apologize to anyone who was directly involved or offended as a result of your mishap. This is particularly important if it affected your direct manager or staff. Whenever possible, do this face-to-face and in a conference room so you have privacy. Depending on what happened, you may want to loop in HR.

Move on.

Don’t dwell on the issue or continue bringing it up with your coworkers. What’s done is done. Make any necessary apologies and move on. Learn how to recognize your triggers so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. The best way to improve your personal brand is to demonstrate your professionalism going forward.

Add value.

It goes without saying that your new goal is to be a model employee at the company. Also, look for ways to add value to the organization outside of your day-to-day activities. For instance, you could volunteer to manage the company’s indoor soccer team or head up the next fundraiser for charity. 

It can take years to build a positive personal brand but only an evening – and a few too many cocktails – to do some serious damage. Don’t let a silly mistake affect your potential at the company. You won’t be able to fix things overnight; however, handling the aftermath with professionalism and tact will put you on the right track. 

AmandaAugustine_JobSearchExpert_TheLadders_1-1Amanda 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, Personal Branding, Professional Development