Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Dodge festive perils

While 'tis the season to be jolly, for some, office Christmas parties can be awkward. Here are some tips on how to navigate them gracefully.

Awkward situations You've met your boss's spouse on several occasions, but it quickly becomes clear they don't remember you at all. First and foremost, don't be offended. Nearly everyone has made a similar mistake. Reintroduce yourself and remind them you've met before: "I'm so sorry, I should have told you my name again. I'm Pallavi, and I work with your partner in the finance department. We last met at the company dinner earlier this year."

Inappropriate conversationsEven if you enjoy passionate debates, an office gathering in Hong Kong is not the place to engage in such potentially explosive discussions. Avoid weighing in on such topics and, if caught, try to gently steer the talk towards a safer one.

Tongue-tied A party gives you an opportunity to make a good impression, so what you say to your superiors is important. Smile, tell the boss how nice it is to meet him or her, and say that you're enjoying the party. The conversation does not have to be long - chances are that your boss will need to move on to chat with other people fairly quickly. If you have time, plan a few talking points to avoid awkward silences.

Inappropriate behaviour Avoid getting too intoxicated. If you spot a colleague stumbling around, try to help them avoid doing more damage to their reputation. Get a chair and some water, find a friend who can help or call them a cab. Also, don't gossip about the person at the office the next day.