'Tis the season – Don't let social networking Scrooge your holiday – or your career

We hear the stories every year.
The sales rep who got drunk at the holiday party and made a pass at the boss’s wife.
The receptionist who had one too many and stuck the mistletoe in her hair.
They may survive the hangover but the career damage is permanent.
This year, with many of us using social media to record every excruciating detail of our fascinating lives, it’s easier than ever to embarrass yourself at the holiday office party.
In the interests of keeping the damage to a minimum, here are some tips for surviving the season with your self-respect and your career intact.

  1. Don’t bring your phone to the holiday party. So obvious and yet so difficult for many of us.If you don’t have your mobile phone with you, then it is absolutely impossible to take pictures with it. And, even better, you cannot post non-existent photos on the internet for your boss, coworkers and customers to see.
  2. Friends don’t let friends text inappropriately. If you must bring your phone, let your friend, spouse or date have it and give it to you only for incoming messages from ailing children or dying relatives.
  3. If you are so hopelessly addicted that you can’t follow tips 1 and 2, do not point the device at anyone. Step away from the camera and take no pictures or video of the festivities. Bonus: there will be no photos or video to haunt you, your coworkers or innocent bystanders.
  4. No matter how tempting it may be, avoid the urge to text about the hilarious thing someone just said, did or wore at the party.  They won’t seem so amusing the next morning, especially to fellow partiers who may be wishing they could forget and don’t appreciate your reminding them of their antics in Facebook perpetuity.
  5. Above all, do not “friend” your coworker’s or boss’s spouse or significant other the day after the party. Or at any time in the future. This tip cannot be overemphasized.
  6. When in doubt, always remember that alcohol and Facebook don’t mix well. Limit the former and avoid the latter completely when it comes to partying.

Happy Holidays!
Stephen M. Paskoff, Esq., is president and CEO of Atlanta-based ELI Inc., which provides award-winning learning solutions that transform complex laws and ethical codes of conduct into simple behavioral rules that improve performance, reduce legal risk, and create productive workplace cultures. Mr. Paskoff is the former co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Compliance Law Training and Communication Subcommittee. He can be contacted at

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