Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Horror: Holidays at the Office

Once thought gone for good, the office holiday party appears to be staging a comeback. While these parties offer you the opportunity to socialize with your business associates in an informal setting -- make no mistake about it, they are business events! I've witnessed and heard many people commit career suicide due to their inappropriate behavior and conversation at these functions. Following are some Rink Rats tips to insure you utilize these business holiday events as a career enhancer -- not a career de-stabilizer!

1.         Office holiday events are really business events masquerading as parties! It is easy to be seduced into forgetting you are with business associates because the atmosphere might be lively, you are dancing to great music, eating delicious food and the booze is flowing. It is imperative to remember that regardless of the location and atmosphere of your party, the people in attendance are all related to some aspect of your career, i.e., they are your colleagues, clients, executives, etc. This fact doesn't change after the umpteenth drink. Therefore, avoid being lured into a false sense of camaraderie and familiarity. Do not behave in any way or say anything that you would not say or do in a professional setting -- no inappropriate comments or off color jokes.

2.         Don't even think about blowing off this party! Go to the office holiday party and work the room to the best of your ability. Although many companies (albeit, not all of them) suggest attendance at these events are "optional", your absence may be noted and erroneously mis-interpreted. The last thing you want to do is give the impression you are not a team player! Therefore, attend these parties, regardless of how "optional" they might have been advertised! Once you are there, use this party as a networking opportunity and do your best to make sure you say hello to as many people as possible. Even if you don't know some of the other attendees well, or you interact with them minimally, everyone can be wished a happy holiday season. If it is at all possible, make a conscious yet subtle effort to briefly interact with all the key players in your company. This might be one of the few opportunities you have for face-to-face interaction(s) with them.

3.         Dress appropriately for the occasion! The venue often dictates the dress code. If you are in doubt as to how formal or casual the party will be, make an inquiry. Every office has that person who always seems to know these things -- so a little bit of investigation will go a long way in saving you the embarrassment of being over or under-dressed! Additionally, office holiday parties are not the time to come slinking in with a ridiculously low-cut dress, nine inch high heels, or a skirt that is way too short! Casual attire does not mean dirty clothes, wrinkled shirts or ripped pants. Be certain you are aware of how formal the affair is and dress accordingly.

4.         Moderation is the operative word of the day/night! All behavior in moderation. Yes, you are at a party and I'm not trying to be a kill joy but the office holiday party is first and foremost a business function. You are not attending this event for the food, the music, the dancing, although they might be first-rate and should be enjoyed. Avoid overdrinking -- period. Nobody fondly remembers the next day the person dancing on the bar with a lampshade on his or her head, or the person vomiting in the parking lot. Conversation about business and your professional role specifically should be kept to a minimum. If you are asked about your work, keep your answer short and sweet -- nobody wants to hear the specifics of anything you are doing; definitely don't bore others with your achievements. Try to be authentic and compliment others - most people can pick out a phony person a mile away! And, always remember: “Beer and Whiskey, pretty risky, Whiskey and Beer, have no fear.”

Regardless of whether you love these holiday office parties or not, it is a smart career move to attend them and behavior appropriately. Use them as an opportunity to socialize with people whom you normally don't get a chance to relax with during the course of the year!
All success begins with relationships; use the office holiday party as a way to initiate and/or solidify your business relationships!

SECRET SANTA GIFTS - Let's face it... Sometimes it's tough to get creative when it comes to choosing a Secret Santa gift for your co-worker that won't get you laughed out of the building or arrested. It still doesn't give you the excuse to re-gift that box of drugstore candy that's been sitting in your desk all year. Whether your spending limit is $10 or $25, Rink Rats has you covered...

Sumbody Mini-Scrub Quartet
Give your Secret Santa something to scrub away all those annoying clients and passive aggressive supervisors with the Sumbody Mini-Scrub Quartet. Including two sugar and two salt scrubs in both gentle and stimulating exfoliation, these natural scrubs use solar-evaporated Pacific sea salts to draw out toxins and blend milk into their pure cane sugar and butters for the ultimate exfoliating and moisturizing one-two punch. $24.95.

Patchology Hydrate Flash Masque Facial Sheets Printed Edition
Have some co-workers in need of a makeover - Expect your co-workers to get in touch with their primal sides when they see your Secret Santa recipient unwrap this ultra-hydrating 5-minute sheet mask (which also just so happens to feature a leopard print design). Loaded with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin B5, this mask is perfect to hide a long day at the office before a night out on the town. Bonus if you get her to wear it in the office. $8 for single or $30 for 4.

Go Primal Schmelly Balls in Primal Spice
I mean come on, how do you not buy these Schmelly Balls just for the name? Seriously, these wooden balls smell deliciously of clove, orange, lemon and cinnamon essential oils and are the non-toxic alternative to chemical fragrances. Perfect for stashing in a car, closet, or ahem, under an offending desk, you will want your own sack of schmelly balls. $12.95.

NUGG Holiday Stocking Set
You certainly won't have to worry about wrapping your Secret Santa gift if you give this adorable duo of single-use non-toxic facemasks from NUGG. Including a deep-cleansing face mask and a hydrating mask, this mask set has your Secret Santa recipient covered for both pre and post holiday-party skincare. $5.99.

Juice Beauty Lip Moisturizers SPF 8 Trio
The only thing worse than sitting in an office all day where the drying heat blares continuously from the vents is trying to apply lip color to dry chapped office lips. No bueno. Give her the gift of softened, hydrated lips with the non-toxic Juice Beauty Lip Moisturizers SPF 8 Trio, which combines mineral sunscreen with organic plant oils, mango, and passion fruit, and comes in one clear and two sheer mineral tints. $15.00.

Laemmle Theatre Gift Card
The perfect gift for the movie fan, at the best theatre chain. $25.00.

EXIT PLAN - How do you get out one of those awkwardly dull conversations at holiday parties? One option is to have an agenda that you can describe honestly to someone. One expert notes that it is fine to say, “I want to move on because I promised myself I’m going to meet at least 10 new people tonight.” Another pointer is to avoid fostering false good feelings by lying. “It’s a mistake to say, ‘Let’s have coffee,’ when you have no intention of ever seeing the person again. Personally, I like to discuss faculty related issues that for sure will drive them away.

PARTY DRESS CODE - You just received your invitation to the company's holiday party. Get excited: It's time to celebrate a year's worth of successes and hard work with some free food and booze. But don't get overly excited: Put away your Jennifer Lopez-esque-sequined jumpsuit because this is not the occasion to shun the office dress code.

Yes, this is an opportunity to let loose with your coworkers and enjoy yourself. But remember, you will have to see those very same coworkers around a conference room table at your next meeting, so save yourself the embarrassment that a wardrobe malfunction or a nip slip will cause, and take heed with these tips for dressing for your holiday party:

1. Make sure your outfit is fool-proof. You will most likely be imbibing some holiday cheer, and you may even be dancing. Take this opportunity to ensure that your blouse is properly buttoned, or use double-stick tape to make sure that all that should be covered is covered.

2. Avoid super-short hemlines. That perfect LBD should cover your tush when you sit down. If you are wearing a short skirt or dress, keep your look demure by wearing a long-sleeved blouse or sweater on top, and tights underneath. No one wants to greet the CEO while tugging on their skirt like a teenager.

3. Beware of sheer fabrics. Celebrities make the mistake all the time -- learn from it. Check your outfit in natural sunlight and in bright light. There will be lots of photo documentation of this party, you don't want it to be of your new Victoria's Secret purchase.

4. Wearing white? Wear Spanx. No matter how opaque your pants may seem, under bright lights lumps and bumps can appear.

5. Think twice before donning that low-cut top. Your office may be casual, but no one wants to chat to their boss and wonder why they can't seem to catch their eye.

Our advice for dressing for your work holiday party is to keep your look conservative. Layer a blazer and a colorful scarf over that little red dress, and once you've arrived, you can determine whether or not your look is appropriate. Above, are some items that will ensure that you are not the topic of water-cooler conversation the following day due to less-than-judicious wardrobe choices.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – PRIVATE PRESIDENTS MAKE A PRETTY PENNY: Columbia University President Lee Bollinger climbed from his position as the third-highest paid private college president last year to take the top spot in the latest Chronicle of Higher Education analysis. Bollinger made more than $4.6 million in 2013 and was one of 32 private college presidents whose salaries passed the million-dollar mark, when including bonuses and other compensation. University of Pennsylvania Amy Gutmann trailed Bollinger with a nearly $3.1 million paycheck, and Nido Qubein, who heads up High Point University in North Carolina, made about $2.9 million. While others weren't quite so fortunate, salaries are generally on the rise: Private presidents' median total pay in 2013 reached about $436,400, a 5.6-percent increase from 2012.

HIDDEN COLLEGE COSTS AND HUNGER: Nearly 80 percent of community college costs are due to living expenses like books, transportation, health care and food, and the burden is taking an alarming toll on students, a new report suggests. The survey of more than 4,000 students at 10 two-year institutions in seven states nationwide revealed that 52 percent are struggling with food or housing insecurity or both. One in five said they went hungry while in college - a problem most widespread among black students - and one in eight was homeless at some point. The University of Wisconsin's HOPE Lab spearheaded the report and its authors penned an accompanying New York Times editorial:

2015's TOP TWEETS -- One Direction leads the way on Twitter's list of 2015 tweets: One Direction members accounted for half of the 10 most [retweeted], including the three most popular. ... Obama nabbed the fourth spot ... with a June 26 tweet that hailed the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage [@POTUS: 'Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins']

Other tweets in Twitter's Top 10 came from Saudi Arabia King Salman after his crowning, hip hop personality Kayne West ['Please: Do everything you possibly can in one lifetime'], actor Leonard Nimoy philosophizing five days before his death and Caitlyn Jenner ... [Most popular hashtags] included [#PrayFor Paris,] #JeSuisParis, ... #BlackLivesMatter after police shootings of African-Americans, ... #LoveWins after the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage and #RefugeesWelcome as people fled the Middle East for Europe."

THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL - Oil prices fell to their lowest level in seven years yesterday, triggered by forecasts of mild weather that point to tepid U.S. heating demand through the end of the year. The decline extended a rout from last week when OPEC opted to keep its production high. And this morning, Asian markets slipped, sending stocks of energy companies and raw materials producers sharply lower. Many investors are now betting that heavily indebted producers, having weathered months of low commodity prices, are now at greater risk of going out of business.

REAL ESTATE - GARCETTI'S HOUSE FOR SALE -Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's Echo Park home on the market for $1.65 million via LA Times "Hot Properties": "Designed by Daniel L. Dworsky and since renovated by Scrafano Architects, the 1953 post-and-beam sits on about half an acre and has views of the city, canyon and surrounding valley.”

Link to photo tour of Garcetti's home:

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Kim Basinger (62) Orlando, FL; Susan Collins (R-Maine, St. Lawrence University ’75); Kirk Douglas (99) St. Lawrence University ’39; Darryl Hannah (55) Santa Barbara, CA; Julianne Moore (55) Carlsbad, CA; Katarina Witt (50) Munich, Germany.

SPORTS BLINK -- Coldplay to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show: Coldplay's halftime-show debut at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., follows the release its seventh album, 'A Head Full of Dreams,' [out today] The Super Bowl is to take place Feb. 7. Coldplay is likely to put tickets on sale for its North American tour soon after the show, given the big ticket-sales bump that the halftime appearance has given touring artists in the past.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/13, 1:00 PM ET CBS; Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-2), it is that time of year for Cincinnati to fold and the Steelers to come on: Pitt wins 24 - 17 .  Season to date (6-7)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/12, 3:00 PM ET CBS;  Army Cadets (2-9) vs. #21 Navy Midshipmen (9-2), all hands on deck, Navy wins 40 – 20. Season to date (9-5)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/12, 3:30 PM ET ESPNU; #2 Linfield Wildcats (12-0) at #4 St. Thomas Tommies (13-0) in the national semifinal: why the #2 Wildcats have to travel to #4 St. Thomas is a mystery? Weather will not be a problem forecasted 39 degrees and clear in St. Paul for Saturday. Linfield overcomes the travel to win one for the West, 38 – 28.  Season to date (13-1)

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/11, 8:00 PM ET Root; #6 St. Cloud State Huskies (12-4) at #11 Denver Pioneers (7-5-2), St. Cloud is dominant 6 – 2. Season to date (0-3).


(SCIAC, Dec. 12) Women’s Basketball: #3 George Fox Bruins (6-0) at Claremont-Mudd Scripps Republicans (5-2): Can SCIAC compete at the national level? The answer is no, Bruins 70 – 53.

(NFL, Dec. 10) Minnesota Vikings (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-2), The Vikings are banged up, Arizona prevails 30 - 17.

(NHL, Dec. 12) Washington Capitals (19-5-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (13-12-3), Capitals one of the best in the NHL now, they win 4 - 2.

Season to date (97-65)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Facing a government shutdown at the end of the week, GOP and Democratic leaders have made little progress on finalizing a massive omnibus spending package they had hoped to introduce by Monday. ... While senior Republicans are confident they will reach an agreement on the yearlong funding measure at some point, it appears increasingly likely that no deal will be in place by the Friday Dec. 11 deadline, meaning a short-term spending bill will have to be enacted in order to avoid a repeat of the 2013 shutdown.

And without a compromise to present on Monday, members and senators have a tense week ahead as Congress rushes to complete its year-end work and depart for the holiday season. Senior aides in both parties say Republican leaders offered their Democratic counterparts a new funding proposal last Friday, but the latest offer produced no breakthrough and both sides continued negotiations through the weekend while making little headway. The two sides are hashing out policy riders covering Syrian refugees, environmental policy and oil exports, among other issues.

Next week: Career Services, Words of the Month and Holiday Movies.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

December 10, 2015


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