3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Holiday Party

It’s officially holiday party season – woot woot! I know we’re knee-deep in reflection and being thankful, but party time is right around the corner.

Holiday parties used to be a big deal. And the bigger the company’s revenue, the bigger the event was. After the crash in 2008, many companies have scaled back their party budget and perks, but still have some sort of year-end celebration. While the ostentatious-ness of the occasion may have been subdued, there is still a right way to party.

I’m not going to point out all of the things you shouldn’t be doing while celebrating, you can read all about how to shake your tail feather and what gift to get your boss here. Instead, I’m going to share three ways to make the most of your holiday party, and how partying can propel your career to the next level.

3 Ways to Leverage Your Holiday Party

Many of us attend several holiday parties – this advice can be applied whether you are going to your office party or a friend’s party. Essentially, these parties are a great informal way to network and learn important things about your performance and career trajectory.

1. Meet People You Want to Know

It’s so easy to stick to the people we know when we arrive at a party – we want to drink, be merry, have fun! But by doing so, you are foregoing the easiest “networking event” out there.

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Changing the Lens on Job Opportunities

The stories that we grew up hearing, the advice that we listened to whether willingly or not, and the modeling our families showed us – create the fiber of who we are, for better and worse. We start seeing the world through various lens and viewpoints, with some biases and “shoulds.” And for most of us, it gets confusing when we look at our own career.

I was taught to get a good, stable job; make heaps of money so you never have to worry about it; work hard – it gets recognized; climb the ladder; and pick one path and stay on it. You probably have your own story about what your career should be about, where today’s world of work or your own personal work style/preferences, don’t even enter the equation.

That’s why it is so difficult for us to make career changes. It’s why other people sometimes can’t understand our perspective.

But it’s time to shift the lens in which we make career decisions, ever so slightly. Breaking free a little piece of our own stories, will open up opportunities you’ve never knew were possible.

On a daily basis, I hear clients pondering turning down a job offer because they weren’t going to make “enough” money or because it didn’t have the next-level title. And instead, they go back to their job search miserable trying to find their very own purple unicorn.

What if this is the place where we shift our lenses? What if the way we look at opportunities, overt and hidden, change – taking us on a slightly different than originally planned course, but much more satisfying in the long run?

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How to Guarantee You Won’t Get That Promotion

Getting promoted is more of an art than a science. Long gone are the days of simply counting the number of days you’ve been in your role before getting bumped up to the next level. Unless you’re working for the government or a relatively small number of companies, your tenure in your position will not automatically qualify you for a promotion.

My guess is that if you have not yet been promoted, you are going about it the wrong way. Here are a few sure-fire ways to guarantee you won’t get that promotion… and what you should be doing instead:

1. Thinking Your Work Speaks for Itself

This is the biggest mistake you can make in your career — sitting back, hoping your work will speak for itself and be recognized. Thinking other people are noticing how awesome you are will get you passed over for a promotion, each and every time.

Think about it: in our culture, we tend to only take notice when things aren’t working well, not when things are going swimmingly. You’re expected to deliver at a high level — that’s the basic expectation your manager has for you. So unless you drop the ball, your manager isn’t really noticing — or talking about — your incredible work.

You may get noticed by a few people by sitting back and doing the work, but it will not put your name at the top of the conversation when leaders are seeking someone to fill the shoes at the next level.

Action: No one cares about your career more than you do, and that includes your next promotion. It’s time to put on your PR hat and start talking about the work you’re delivering. Not in a crazy annoying way, but you can subtly start mentioning the results you’re delivering, new ideas you’ve implemented and ways you’ve contributed as a team member during team meetings, casual conversations or recap summaries. Be your own advocate — don’t wait for someone else to see you.

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How to Get Along with Annoying Coworkers

We will forever be working with at least a few annoying coworkers. And depending on your personality or work style, you may “see” annoying attributes in more people than not.

The goal here is to stop spiraling down the annoyance drain when you have to interact with these people — especially if that annoying coworker is your boss.

From someone who finds little things more annoying than not, here are five ways to get along with super-annoying coworkers — making your work life a whole lot easier.

1. Make a Game Out of It

You can probably point out the various levels of annoying for each of your coworkers— so why not turn that knowledge into a competitive game for yourself? This is an easy way to redirect the angst around your frustration and get some entertainment value out of the situation.

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What It Means to Be Professional

It was my first day in a real corporate job, I was wearing my business professional (you can’t go casual on day one) outfit, ready to conquer the world. I looked the part, acted the part, but was not feeling the part. I was in the “fake it ‘til you make it” phase of my career – trying so hard to be “professional.”

I’m not really sure where I got the impression that I had to be buttoned up at all times when at work, but it had a long-lasting impact on my career and overall “self.” We are inundated with nuggets of advice like “dress for the job you want,” and act as if you are already in the next position. Decent advice, but how does it all fit into your idea of being “professional?”

I went along with the set expectations of the professional working world – wearing black pants with a suitable blouse daily, answering emails instantaneously, and using acceptable pen colors and notebooks. In other words, I complete erased my own identity at work in the name of being professional.

Looking back, I often wonder if my unhappiness in my corporate world originally stemmed from having to hold back so much of myself, in order to climb up the ladder. I was just so tired of muting my personality and love of color, to live up to someone else’s idea of being professional.

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