Top 10 rules for making merry

Yep, it’s that time again. Holiday season. If you keep your head about you, you’ll successfully network during this time. If you are stupid, you’ll just get people angry at you for no reason at all – and that won’t help your job search or your career. Here are the top 10 rules to remember this holiday season.

1). Drink responsibly. If you are going to consume alcohol, strictly limit it. No one appreciates a drunk. And remember the old saying “In Vino Veritas,” or “In wine, there is truth.” Do you really want to spill your deepest, darkest secrets to your boss or future boss? Didn’t think so.

2). No dangerous Facebook updates! If you’re drunk or naked, it doesn’t belong on Facebook. Make a rule NOT to update Facebook when you’re out partying. You never know what stupid thing you’ll say. And remember: the internet is forever. Even if you delete some stupid thing you said tonight tomorrow, it will still be findable by someone who is doing a background check on you. Don’t believe me? Try

3) Don’t ask personal embarrassing questions or make inappropriate comments. Don’t make comments about people’s weight, appearance, or personal situation. Don’t say that someone “looks tired,” as this means “you look like crap.” Keep conversation generally light and impersonal, even if you know the person.

4). Don’t text. Texting while not in a private situation is incredibly rude. Texting while at dinner out is incredibly rude. Texting at a party is incredibly rude. Try actually talking to real people instead of texting. Those of you under 30 – this means you don’t text when you’re with anyone else to whom you could be talking…even that person. Texting has gotten way out of hand. It should be reserved for quiet, alone times, not times where you are supposed to interact with present human beings through talking.

5). If the party gets rowdy, go home. If you’re a business executive or want to be one, be sure that an arrest record doesn’t derail you. And, again, rowdy behavior can get back to others who might not appreciate it.

6). If you “hook up” with an attractive stranger, leave the party. Having a load of fun in full public view is not likely to go over well with possible networking partners. As this shows very bad judgment, it isn’t likely to go over well with potential employers, either.

7). If you’re married, remain in integrity. Holiday parties, dinners and events present many temptations for a quick cheat. There are so many reasons to resist this temptation with everything in you. In addition to messing up a perfectly good marriage, many employers don’t trust those who cheat on their spouses. I know. I’m one of them. If you’ll cheat on the most intimate and important relationship in your life, how can I trust you to be honest with me?

8). Don’t do drugs. No, not even pot. First of all, it is still illegal. Whether or not we agree with these laws, they are still laws, and there are severe consequences for breaking them. Even if the consequence for doing grass is a ticket (as in Denver), it still can ruin your chances for employment or advancement. So “just say ‘no'” to drugs. The pleasure of the moment is not worth the consequences of a lifetime to your career or freedom.

9). Leave the kiddies at home. Kids don’t belong at adult parties unless it is specifically noted as a family party. Even then, as Art Linkletter pointed out so many years ago, “Kids say the darnedest things.” It isn’t cool to have the kids spilling the family secrets. So your safest bet is to leave them at home.

10). Don’t let down your guard. There really is no place in this economy that you can let down your guard, even for a few minutes. You may think of people at these events as friends, but they can also ruin your career, even through what they perceive as an innocent comment.

Behave yourself at parties, dinners and events. Don’t be rude. And celebrate a safe, sober and productive holiday season.

Tired of daytime TV? Join John and up to 40 of your peers for free Executive Structured Networking on Monday, December 13th from 5:30 – 9 PM at the Denver Athletic Club. Info and required registration here.

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