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A poll conducted by Monster, the international job boards operator, shows why it's important not to get too carried away with the mistletoe at the office party as almost one in ten admit to having done something either extremely regrettable and been fired because of it (4%), or have acted in a way that was somewhat regrettable and damaged their career/reputation (5%). However, nearly two-thirds (63%) of all respondents have never done anything regrettable at an office party.
3,699 visitors to the recruitment website answered the question "Have you ever done something regrettable at an office party, for example, consumed too much alcohol or spoken offensively to a colleague or superior?" International findings included:
- Extremely regrettable: I've been fired for office-party behaviour: 4%.
- Somewhat regrettable: I've damaged my career/reputation: 5%.
- Mildly regrettable: I've been embarrassed for a few days: 14%.
- No regrets: I've misbehaved, but with no ill effects: 14%.
- I've never done anything regrettable at an office party: 63%.
UK respondents appear more red in the face with 9% answering they had acted in a way that was extremely regrettable at an office party and were fired as a result, closely followed by respondents in Finland (7%) and The Netherlands (6%).
At the other end of the spectrum, only 2% of French respondents admitted to being fired because of regrettable behaviour.
Meanwhile, 15% of all European respondents answered that they have done something mildly regrettable which caused embarrassment for a few days, followed by Canada (12%) and the US (10%). Further, nearly 14% of Europeans admitted to having misbehaved at an office party, but felt no guilt and experienced no career repercussions, compared to 19% of respondents in Canada and 14% of respondents in the US.
An overwhelming number of respondents in Italy (82%), France (80%) and Germany (75%) answered they had never done anything regrettable at an office party.
Charles Purdy, Monster.com Career Expert, commented "workplace holiday parties are a great opportunity to build morale and camaraderie among work colleagues, but people should keep in mind that usual codes of professional conduct apply. It's a party, yes, but it's happening in a professional realm."
"I recommend that people attending workplace parties plan to limit alcohol intake, and that they look at the event as a chance to network and socialise with colleagues and managers that they don't otherwise have a lot of contact with. Look for opportunities to impress your peers, not to distress them."