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Office Holiday Party Tips

Sarah Cooper

Sarah CooperWhat do you get when you take 15 years of working as a user experience designer for companies such as Google and Yahoo and combine them with keen powers of people-watching and a razor-sharp wit? Answer: Sarah Cooper’s book 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying and her blog TheCooperReview.

Of course, it’s those years of toiling away in corporate America that provide the material for Cooper’s satire and make her humor so spot-on and of-the-moment. But during those years, Cooper, like many people, was just earning a living while figuring out how to be paid to pursue her true passion.

The lesson she learned from her experience: “If you’re working just for the paycheck, don’t reject what you have to do every day,” Cooper says. “Instead, figure out what you gravitate towards when you’re clocking in your hours and then use that to guide your next step, whether it’s in the same company or different field.”

Just in time for the festivities, here’s how she says (tongue-in-cheek) to act smart at office holiday parties.

#1. Don’t drink alcohol.

“Get a glass of sparkling water and make it look like a drink, instead. It’s much more fun to watch everyone else get drunk.”

#2. Be in as many pictures as you can.

“If there’s a photo booth or an official photographer, jump in there and ham it up so you look like you’re having a good time. All people really remember about office parties are the photos.”

#3. Skip the shop talk.

“You’re not going to impress anyone by talking about work. Parties are meant for relaxing, so that’s what you should appear to be doing.”

#4. If you’re going to dance, don’t call attention to yourself.

“Be understated with your moves. You’ll just look cooler if you’re not flailing about.”

#5. Slip out at the height of the fun.

“I always recommend the Irish exit, where you leave without saying goodbye and just disappear. It creates a little mystery around you and will become part of your legend.”

▶ Read more from the December 2016 newsletter