Jewish World Review Dec. 12, 2002 / 7 Teves, 5763
Office Holiday Parties: Can bad behavior really end careers?
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Frank Goldstin has seen it all. He's CEO of G/M! Productions, a Chicago company that specializes in throwing corporate affairs and parties. Can careers really end at the company Christmas party?
"People have definitely stepped on some land mindes," says Goldstin.
The most obvious one? Alcohol. "Booze can totally be the one that sends things over the edge. Listen, this is corporate America. It's a party - you're going to have a great time. But still, at the same time, you want to make sure that you know that there's a big picture at hand, that all eyes are going to be … all eyes are going to be upon you. You have to handle yourself in a certain way. And especially with liquor flowing for the duration of a party, you don't want to let your hair down too much."
Indeed, there have been horror stories of people who got drunk and said something about the boss, did something to the boss' wife, or the boss' girlfriend.
"People don't realize what's going to happen until they're in that worst case scenario," Goldstin says.
SOME HORROR STORIES
Obviously, not a good career move.
Also, with tension in the workplace, alcohol has a way of liberating people's tongues.
"It's the perfect place that it would happen," says Goldstin. "Another horror story: There was a table of 10 people, and at that table were two women. One woman was the boss, one woman was her subordinate. And basically, the woman had some words and it got heated. And as the president is speaking, the two husbands that are with the women get into a huge fistfight. So, it's the time where things like that happen. I've seen just about a lot of crazy things happen, especially when liquor is in the scenario."
"I mean, it's hands to yourselves," says Goldstin. "It's a different environment. It's a totally different climate if every which way, culturally and in business."
So what does Goldstin advise his clients, since a lot of them want the eggnog to flow and the champagne to flow? What do you tell them about staying on the safe side of neutral?
SETTING THE TONE
Companies like Goldsin put a few thresholds in place that they're sure guests can't cross. One of them is to put a limit on open bars. "Maybe we'll have the bar open for an hour during the cocktail reception, and then we'll close it for a couple of hours when dinner is served, and then we'll open it up after."
"Also, event security today is at its absolute highest. And it's to be expected. But I think that we are far from the point where we're going to have security personnel frisking people and going through detectors as they enter the party."
DOS AND DON'TS