Typically you can expect to find something enlightening from Your Office Mom here, but when you're a millennial, your mom is Your Office Mom and also your boss, you might find yourself being signed up to write a blog post or two. Thanks, Mom.
Recently, during one of our weekly YOM world domination meetings, she tells me she thinks it would be a good idea to write a blog post about why young professionals should get involved in planning holiday festivities at work. I agreed wholeheartedly. And, then she said I should write it. So, here I write.
A little back history on why YOM seems to find my advice relevant and worth sharing with her readers. I’ve been planning special events, parties, and networking since graduating from college. For years I’ve worked in weddings as a creative designer and an event planner. I run the shit and make it pretty.
I know for some the work parties are lame and the snacks don’t even warrant a drop by. Susan’s been planning the holiday party for years, and it’s gone stale. Because let’s face it Susan’s kind of a buzzkill, and no one wants to be a part of that.
For others, your company might go all out for the annual holiday shindig, and it’s everyone’s favorite excuse to get sloshed, win an iPod and make out with the cute co-worker they have their eye on. Hell, your place might forgo the season festivities altogether. Or, perhaps there's a Secret Santa program.
Regardless of what the holiday party situation at your workplace is it doesn’t matter. It’s worth the consideration of joining or even launching a campaign to have one. Consider this my rally cry for why you should get involved.
Increase your visibility
Unless you’re a total spaz or you run the place increasing your presence in the workplace isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to find yourself making an impact and getting in with the movers and the shakers.
Committees are typically made up of individuals from different departments or people who aren’t ordinarily in your workgroup. And while some of you might find the idea of talking to someone in the accounting department versus your usual super cool cubicle clique something close to torture, it might end up being the best connection you’ll make in the office. Remember most job offers, promotions, and love connections come from networking.
Make a difference in the workplace
Being an army of one or the leader of a little party planning gang isn’t a bad gig either. It might feel like it is in the weeks prior, but the payoff is worth it. People love social events and any excuse to disconnect and spend some time away from their desk is enough to make you a hero for the day. If you can help make that happen, people will notice you, like you and appreciate you. So be somebody and wear it like a badge of honor. Remember to be a voice for diversity and inclusion during the holiday season as Your Office Mom mentions for a Holiday Gift Swap.
Amp up your resume skills
Throwing an event (if you embrace it) regardless of the size or where it ranks on Martha Stewart’s scale of perfection will teach you some essential lessons that are an asset to both current and future employers. You have an opportunity to use skills that you might not ordinarily use in your day-to-day. And, even if it’s not on your resume, it certainly can be an answer to one of those “tell me about a time when…” interview questions.
- Learning to stretch what allowance you have and making it not only work but be the best party EVER is an essential skill. If you’ve got a big budget make it count – don’t spend it all in one place and don’t forget the open bar. If you're working with a tighter purse then Pinterest the shit out of it if you have to.
- If you're working on a committee you’ll quickly find yourself swarmed with ideas and opinions that aren’t technically work-related; it’s a social thing remember. Just remember before you go and shake Kevin for a stupid suggestion about a live action nativity scene you're still on the company’s dime. You have to learn to compromise and be a part of the team.
- When you’re calling the shots, you can’t be a dictator the goal of planning the party isn’t for everyone to hate you by the end. You are responsible for ensuring the boxes get checked and the event gets done the right way the first time.
Get yourself out of a rut
This one is a tad self-serving, but what the hell. Working with new people, getting a chance to flex different skills, and escaping from your day-to-day routine can help you get out of a rut (if you are in a rut). The flurry of activity can be motivating and give the proverbial push to end the year strong, or start the new year strong. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Remember your participation big or small has value and comes with benefits. Don’t only be a part of the event, but be a part of making it a successful one. Take a chance, volunteer! It’s not too late to get involved.
Do you know of any other good reasons to get involved? Do you have an example of how volunteering helped your career? If you do, we want to hear about it.