There's a reason so many movies and television shows display horribly embarrassing moments from the company holiday party -- those moments really do happen.
In order to save you from total office humiliation, CBS News spoke with the founder of Quintessential Careers, Dr. Randall S. Hansen. Hansen is a nationally recognized career, job-search, employment and work expert with a few hard-and-fast rules to help you make the most of your office holiday bash.
First, the don'ts:
Don't over-indulge in food or drink. Even if you're getting paid peanuts, avoid shoving all the cheese straws into your plastic lunch Tupperware. Being a party scavenger won't score you any points with the higher-ups. And show some restraint with the alcohol so you don't say or do anything you'll regret later.
Don't get boozed up beforehand. Although your boss may be getting a little loose with the champagne, keep yourself in check. This is still a business function.
Don't overstay your welcome in conversations or bore people to death with "shop-talk." Before you go, brush up on a couple of conversation starters that have nothing to do with work.
Don't use the opportunity to pick-up a co-worker. Need I say more.
Don't bring along uninvited guests.
Now for Hansen's list of do's:
Do attend. Even if you only stay for an hour or so, it's important to show up. Not attending can send the wrong message.
Do try and enjoy yourself. Appreciate the effort the organization has put forward even if you are not a party person.
Do mingle. Most office parties can tend to resemble a sixth grade dance, with people who already know each other all huddling together. Use this as an opportunity to network with people you don't normally see.
Do be a gracious guest. Thank the office manager or person in charge of the party.
Do greet your boss and other important VIPs. But keep the visit brief.
Now that you know the basic do's and don'ts, Hansen gets even more specific with answers to some common office party questions and dilemmas:
Q: When is it ok to skip out on the office party? Do you really have to go?
A: Especially in smaller organizations where your absence will be noticed, you need to make at least a token appearance. The bosses think the party is a big gift to you, so not showing up is a bit of a slap in the face. I have worked in an organization in which they had a person with a checklist keeping tabs on who showed up and who didn't. Go, stay for at least 30 minutes to an hour, try to have fun and then pay your respects.
Q: How much is an appropriate amount of alcohol to consume?
A: I have been to some office parties with an open bar -- which is just screaming for at least one person to overdo it with the booze. The key word here is MODERATION. It's okay to drink a little; some places will even provide taxis or limos for rides home. But don't get so drunk that you forget all the embarrassing stuff everyone will be talking about the next day.
Q: What do you do if your an intoxicated boss slips up and spills some top secret info?
A: It's best to quickly excuse yourself and forget anything of the conversation. Do NOT be the spreader of rumors.
Q: How do you escape a painful conversation?
A: Get out by making eye contact with someone else you can go and join, or make an excuse for a trip to the bar or food. Just always remember to slip away politely.
Q: What's the rule on dress code? Err on the side of caution or sexy it up?
A: It depends where the party occurs, but even if it is at a club, the attire should still be business appropriate. Dressing festively or with extra flair is fine, but risqué is NOT the way to go -- save that for when you are out with your friends.