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Now that the holidays are over and the big office holiday party is behind you, it is time to reflect on what career development lessons you might have learned from this year’s holiday party experience, or lessons that might be helpful to take to any office gatherings in the coming year. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Career Development Lessons

1. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing to get ahead.

Sometimes following the crowd or conducting business as usual is not the most desirable career development option and just isn’t in your best interest. Instead, you may wish to consult a professional development newsletter or other sources of information for ideas about how to innovate. Or perhaps it isn’t innovation that you are looking for, but your intuition tells you that you simply need a more straightforward way to operate compared to some of your colleagues. Either way, quietly observing how you would do things differently can be helpful as you shape your own path forward.

2. Networking and getting along with others is crucial to success.

Recent research has shown that one of the quickest ways to derail a promising career is to possess an inability to get along with and work well with other people. The ability to work well with people at a variety of levels in a variety of departments is a crucial career development skill, and networking at social events such as the office holiday party can start you on your way. And even though it can be unpleasant, dealing with difficult people in a more productive manner is part of the challenge.

3. Professionalism in the workplace is important after hours, too.

Just because the office holiday party or other office events might be located off site, and just because they might involve alcohol, does not mean that this is an excuse to let your hair all the way down and ignore the protocols of professionalism in the workplace. It is fine to have a drink to loosen up a bit and improve your ability to approach your coworkers. And nerdy Christmas sweaters or ties that you wouldn’t usually wear to the office are probably welcome, depending on the dress code of the specific event. However, it is probably not a wise career development move to indulge in such a way that your performance at the office holiday party or Cindy’s baby shower will be plenty of fuel for office gossip for months to come.

What did you learn from this year’s holiday party?

Career Development Lessons from Office Parties

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