For some, the company holiday party is a chance to let your hair down.  For others it's an opportunity to shmooze with management, so best-behavior is in order.  These "dual-personality" parties can be confusing. Often the company culture dictates the party vibe, but it's not always clear, especially if you're new to the company.

You might be wondering, "Do I really want my boss watching me break out my hottest dance moves?"or "If I don't dance, will my co-workers think I'm too stiff?" And then, there's always the question of how much or little to drink.  Our answer to that question, is always MODERATION. You don't want to be the guy who passed out on the dance floor. No matter what, the rules for company parties are a bit different than other parties. Here are four rules for having a great time at your company holiday party:

  1. Talk first, dance later. As tempted as you might be to hit the dance floor, spend the first part of the evening talking to your co-workers, friends and even the manager who's hiring for the job you have your eye on.
  2. But don't talk business. OK, I know it often can't be helped. But, this is a great opportunity to get to know your co-workers and for them to know you outside of the office.
  3. Get a partner. If no one is dancing, don't go out on the dance floor alone. Remember, you're not the entertainment. The DJ or band is.
  4. Be yourself but beware. Refrain from gossip, f-bombs and the otherwise inappropriate.

While we ordinarily don't think "rules" and "parties" go together, in the case of company parties, it's a must. We're just looking out for your future. If you have the job of planning your company's party this year, you might be interested to know that comedians, acoustic guitarist, DJ, impersonators, harpists and cover bands are the most requested entertainment types for 2009 company holiday parties. Tell us - Will your company holiday event be more like a party or a business meeting with food???