Can Getting Drunk At The Office Holiday Party Get You Fired?

Drinking at work is usually considered a red flag, but when your employer provides the booze, how much is too much?

Can Getting Drunk At The Office Holiday Party Get You Fired?At holiday office parties, conferences, business luncheons, and other company-sponsored social events, alcohol is often served as a way to loosen everyone's inhibitions and get them in a more celebratory mood. From festive eggnog to your boss's best whiskey, alcohol is also a traditional way to celebrate another year of success. However, some drink excessively and choose to imbibe a bit too much.

It's perfectly possible to celebrate without taking a sip, of course, but it's important to remember a few things if you do plan to consume with co-workers. The following rules are important in every season, but especially helpful as you prepare for the year's last and biggest parties.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

Holiday parties are the infamous sources of embarrassing memories, but people don't go overboard simply because of the open bars. During the holiday season, you worry about everything from gift lists and recipes to houseguests and year-end deadlines. It's can be natural to feel frustrated, and when you're in the company of colleagues, alcohol can seem like a good excuse to air your collective grievances once and for all. Instead of waiting for all of these influences to accumulate, however, take some time to understand your feelings.

If you have pent-up resentments because of a promotion you didn't get, don't wing it with your boss after a few cocktails. Address your feelings ahead of time, and imagine the consequences of letting your temper flare. Stay in control of the situation by using facts and weighing the odds of different decisions. This is especially easy if you have a game plan. Determine how you want to handle the issues without the alcohol fueling the issue and you'll be fine. Better still, handle things far in advance of the party and enjoy the festivities without any lingering issues for the New Year.

2. Plan Ahead

With a clear head, take some time to set reasonable limits on consumption and figure out a few conversation topics ahead of time. If you don't get along with certain co-workers, make a plan to stick with the people you do like… and to let any passive-aggressive remarks that may come your way roll off your shoulders. If you know any secrets you shouldn't let slip, remind yourself to stay away from conversation topics that may lead you there. Most importantly, decide how much you want to drink, if at all. Set a limit, and hold yourself to it.

v3. Take Control

Remember you're always in control. Only you can decide to drink, and only you are responsible for your actions while under the influence. Remember this and focus on maintaining the good impression you've enjoyed all year. No workplace party is fun enough to risk your job – or powerful enough to control your behaviors. You can even stick a garnish in water or soda to maintain the illusion of participating in the open bar tradition if you think it's just not worth toying with.

If alcohol helps you overcome social anxiety at office functions, anxiety probably affects your life in other ways too. Take some time to understand all your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Once you're equipped to cope with negative experiences, alcohol will be far down the list of reasons to party. Keep your plan in place and your New Year will be full of sparklers!


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