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It’s that time of the year again. Time to deck the halls with bowls of every kind of food imaginable and fa la la la la yourself into your boss’s good graces, compliments of your charming, witty ways.

Do the right things at the company bash and good fortune may be yours in the new year.

Do the wrong things and you can rest assured any potential promotion, new job or lucky lottery ticket will elude you in the coming year.

Office party do’s & don’ts

Show up, be jolly and have fun. If "stick-in-the-mud" is your usual fragrance, try a new scent for a change. You can always go back to being the lovable grump you are after the last piece of pie has been eaten.

Bring a dish if everyone is expected to do so. Even you have to stop by the commissary or the shoppette on your way to the luncheon, do it. Go a step further and channel Martha Stewart by bringing a cake plate from home.

Work the room. Take the time to mix and mingle with everyone who bothered to come in the first place. Not only is it the nice thing to do, it is the thing to do when you are nurturing your professional network. Don’t limit your conversations to work-related topics. Likewise, avoid obvious self-marketing tactics. Instead, seek out the common, nonwork-related ground and build and nurture real relationships that can help you (and vice versa) in the future.

Mind your manners. Just because you’re not working on your latest death by PowerPoint masterpiece doesn’t mean that you’re not on the clock. Holiday bashes are still considered work. Avoid flirting and harmful gossiping.

Don’t be "that guy." There will most likely be alcohol; if you chose to indulge, be smart about it. There’s always a someone that people talk about long after the event and you don’t want him to be you.

Dress appropriately. You may be America’s Next Top Model, but make sure that outfit you’re planning to wear doesn’t send the wrong professional message to anyone.

Thank the organizers of the event. You can bet that at least one person took their valuable time to coordinate dishes, decorations and entertainment. Thank them for it. It wasn’t all fun and games for them.

Recognize and celebrate your co-workers’ holiday of choice. Be it Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, diversity makes the world a much more interesting place. Whether your beliefs are the same or not, celebrate the season and appreciate the differences.

Janet Farley is the author of "The Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide" and "The Military Spouse’s Complete Guide to Career Success." Her column appears monthly in Stars and Stripes. She can be contacted at:


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