May 24, 2017

Will Billy Bush teach us how to recover from a career setback?

 

This morning, I watched Good Morning America as former Today Show co-host Billy Bush spoke with Robin Roberts about his vulgar exchange with Donald Trump from years ago that was caught on video and released during the Presidential election. While Trump went on to become President, the viral video of the incident cost Bush his job.

Bush is the latest public personality to be embarrassed by previous behavior and an illustration how easily one incident can harm a career. While most of us strive to live our work and home lives ethically, we can appreciate Bush’s attempt to bounce back from a huge career setback.

Clearly, in my career I have made mistakes. I have found the more that lands on my plate, the easier it becomes to make mistakes – big and small. 

So, what happens when your mistake is big, maybe even a career setback like Bush experienced in this visual and digital age...How do you recover? The steps are clearer than you might think. Here’s what we can all learn from Billy Bush.

  • Admit your mistake and apologize. In my workplace, and I’m sure in yours, you have had people who make mistakes and try to cover them up. Almost always that makes the situation worse. Bush will continue to have critics but coming out on camera and explaining his actions and stating there is no excuse for his actions was a start.
  • Lean on experts. Billy Bush admitted to Robin Roberts that he has spent the last seven months doing a lot of soul searching. He now meditates, practices mindfulness and yoga. "He knows it's a process which led him to be ready and able to do the interview, Robin Roberts told the audience after the interview.  DUring the seven months, Bush went to Tony Robbins workshops to better himself. He said Tony pointed at him and said: "One bad moment does not define who you are."
  • Redefine yourself. How will the mistake make you better at your job going forward? Bush said at the time of the video, he was "insecure and a pleaser." He says he is ready to get back to work because there is purpose, clarity and acceptance of his mistake. "I feel like a better man." Bush says he has redefined himself and wants to do purposeful reporting going forward.
  • Share your lessons. Everybody has made a mistake, but what have you learned from yours? Sharing what you have learned is a path toward moving forward. Bush said his advice for young men entering his profession is "believe in yourself. Be confident. Stay true to who you are. I think I sacrificed my own dignity in that moment," he said of the Trump incident.

Whether or not you are a Billy Bush fan, or believe in the sincerity of his apology, recovering from a career setback isn't easy and watching how Bush fares offers lessons for all.

April 04, 2017

What Equal Pay Day Means for Our Daughters

Today is Equal Pay Day. It's the day to bring attention to the pay disparity between men and women.

The reality is that most workplaces won't acknowledge it. Regardless, it is the most important day of the year for women. Today is the day when real change happens because of small actions and big resolve. It's the day when we focus attention on making the workplace better for our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters. 

By now, women have been in the workplace for decades, holding high level jobs, becoming bosses and running large agencies. In many workplaces, they are the human resources directors who do the hiring. Why then, do women still earn on average 20 percent less than men for the same jobs? (Click here to see how your state stacks up against the pay gap)

Yesterday, I heard actress Gina Rodriguez speak on television about her partnership with LUNA nutrition bars to drive awareness for the pay gap. Listening to Gina, what I liked most about what she said was her plan. Instead of just urging employers to do something about the pay gap or pushing for legislation -- two strategies that haven't been enough --Gina talked about how LUNA is sponsoring AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops for women across the country.

LUNA and AAUW are working to close the pay gap one workshop at a time by empowering women to negotiate their salary and benefits packages. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

“We know that salary negotiation is not the only variable in the gender pay gap, but it is true that women tend not to negotiate, and that affects their earnings all the way through to retirement," AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho said. “We are so grateful to have LUNA’s support spreading our negotiation workshops, because we know how well they work. We hear from women every day that they used what they learned in AAUW Work Smart immediately – and that it worked!”

I look around me and I see many women working the same long hours as men, and putting their passion into their jobs. We all know it's not acceptable that they earn less for men, particularly as they struggle with trying to raise families and serve as role models, too. Working women first need to pay more attention to who gets hired and at what salary and speak up for change. More important, we need to put the power to eliminate the pay gap it in the hands of our daughters by showing them how to ask for what they deserve at the beginning of their careers. We can rally for brands like LUNA to bring attention to champion women's equality. We can have conversations with the young women in our lives about how and why to go after any job they want, research what the men in the job are paid, and have the confidence to negotiate salary and benefits. We can even take those young women with us to a workshop. Here's the link to free workshops across the U.S.

The AAUW website offers some other actions: Bring a workshop to a campus or community. Sign up to become an AAUW salary negotiation ambassador to help spread the word, or train to become an AAUW salary negotiation facilitator so that you can take the reins in empowering women.

Today is a day in which small actions count. Take them for the young women in your lives. You can help close the pay gap and this is the time to do it.

 

 

 

February 28, 2017

Tim Tebow Follows His Passion and You Can Too

 

 

Former Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow has lots of fans. He also has lots of haters. 

But Tebow doesn't let the haters get in the way of following his passion. Tebow, who didn't really find the success he wanted in the NFL, has now turned to baseball.

Tebow's detractors say he will never make it as a professional athlete. But Tebow doesn't listen. He continues on.

This morning, Tim Tebow  did an interview on Good Morning America and said the start of his spring training debut at the New York Mets training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, “feels great.” 

Here's what he told Good Morning America:

“Honestly it’s kind of a dream come true being out here with the Mets organization, a bunch of awesome guys, getting the chance to play a game I love,” Tebow, 29, said on “Good Morning America.” “It was just so fun putting on a uniform yesterday, going to warmups, in the stretch line, getting back into the routine, being part of the team and competing -- it was a blast. I’m having a lot of fun.”

Tebow's passion for following his dreams is admirable. Whether or not he makes it as a professional baseball player, he knows he gave his dream his all. Wow, what a role model for the rest of us who cower from "going for it" because we're afraid what people might say or because we are afraid to fail!

On Good Morning America, Tebow acknowledged that critics are still skeptical of his football-turned-baseball player path, but he said he’s “focusing on the love and not the doubt” that lies ahead.

“Obviously you have people on both sides,” said Tebow. “You’ll have people that are out here supporting that are great, and then you’ll also have people that want to bring you down. For me, this is something that I’m doing for the love of it. The love of the game, the love of pursuing passions, the love of being able to live a dream every single day."

So, what if you were able to live your dream every single day? What if you were able to turn something you love doing into a job that pays? Would you be able to get past the haters and doubters?

If you want more fulfillment from your job, or have a passion you want to follow, here are 5 steps to move you forward:

  1. Start the discovery process (research)
  2. Talk to people who have successfully taken risks
  3. Don't make money your primary consideration (any job can pay off with creativity)
  4. Network to learn who can help you
  5. Make a plan

 

Personally, I'm rooting for Tebow. While the haters hate, he's happier than most of them.

 

 

 

February 21, 2017

Don't let it end with Valentine's Day! How to fit romance into your work life balance

 

 

Romance

 

As we look back at Valentine's Day through our rearview mirror,  I feel a little glum. The roses are now on sale. The chocolate filled hearts are half price. And the tips on how to add romance into my life are no longer flowing into my inbox.

Yet, I want romance all year long. That’s not an easy task when most American workers find their work and home lives are blending together and work life balance is harder than ever to achieve.  Even after putting in a full day of work, the typical chaos is underway at my home. I am scrambling to come up with an easy dinner, my husband’s cell phone is buzzing with work emergencies and our son needs to be shuttled to and from school for his team practices every night.

That doesn’t exactly set the tone for romance.

I look to Kathryn Sansone for inspiration. Kathryn, a mother of 10, wrote a book called Woman First, Family Always: Real-life Wisdom from a Mother of Ten.

Years ago, I met Kathryn in person and she told me: ``Jim and I always carve out time for just the two of us. It's not always easy, but we don't waste time trying to figure out if we deserve it.''  Kathryn told me she and her husband make coffee breaks their ''alone time.'' At least once a week, after the younger kids go to bed, they slip out for coffee and give each other their undivided attention.

Late night coffee breaks? That actually sounds kinds of romantic.

If Kathryn can make alone time with ten kids in her home, I can too. And, so can you.

Recently, my husband and I went to a Friday night happy hour. We hadn’t been to happy hour in a long time. We drank fruity cocktails, and laughed about all the silly things that happened that week. Spending time together in a fun setting without interruptions felt so wonderful.

Lately, my husband and I have been taking walks together after dinner for about 10 to 15 minutes. We leave our phones at home. Those 10 minutes have become my favorite time of the day. 

Years ago, a love coach told me that everyone should make five to 10 minutes a day to give their spouse or significant other their undivided attention. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but most of us don’t do it.

Making time for intimacy requires turning off the TV or putting down your iPad, facing your partner and saying, "What would you like to talk about?" or “Tell me something good about your day.” Giving your partner your 100 percent attention will make him or her feel loved and important to you. That usually is how romance starts -- and how it lasts.

February 20, 2017

The New Ways Working Women Are Defining Success

What is success? 

If you asked a room of 100 people, it's likely each would have a different answer. And, they should.

For most of us, success is living our life with purpose, knowing what are dreams are, and figuring out how to break through the inevitable inner and outer resistance we will hit along our path to achieve them, says Mina Shah, who considers her success speaking on stage and motivating others.

Over the weekend, Mina, and a dozen other speakers at the 2017 Office Depot Foundation Women's Symposium, motivated more than 1,000 women to define success in new ways. 

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There is nothing more energizing than being in a large ballroom, filled with energetic women who want to build awesome businesses, reach bigger heights at the companies they work for, or find new career paths that excite them. When I walked into the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Friday for the Office Depot Foundation Women Symposium that' what greeted me.

One of the most important messages Mina offered was not to be hindered by our fears or by naysayers, and stop short of our personal definition of success. "Most people work hard enough to feel the pain, but not enough to get the benefit of the reward," she said. 

A new definition of success...someone who breaks through doubt.

"No matter how accomplished you are or how much personal work you have done, you'll experience occasional doubt...and that doubt could mean the difference between success and failure," said Karen Pfeffer, co-founder of Fire Power Seminars. Pfeffer said success is pushing past doubt, busting through barriers and moving forward with determination, focused on what you want. She entered the male-dominated field of banking and became the first woman president of the Florida Bank Marketing Association. She now has a successful company that puts on empowerment seminars and does breakthrough coaching. 

However, if you think success is only about making money in the for profit business world, think again. Almost any business idea you come up with can be turned into a non profit, and there is a lot of start up capital available for non profits such as grants and foundation money and charitable giving of real estate. Speaker Sherry Watson, CEO of The Power of Purpose, a nonprofit consulting firm, gave an inspirational look into how women are earning good incomes while building nonprofits that better the world. "It's about taking our entrepreneur ways and bringing that forward, bringing solutions." Watson said with a nonprofit you can start a company, and change the world. The steps to building a non profit are on Waston's website: The Power of Purpose. She also suggested www.NonprofitWebclass.com.

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How else are women redefining success?

There are making the right connections, not in the old way, but in a new way.

Kavita Sahai of BIGplans, said early in her career, she saw the power of networking in action when she befriended an administrative assistant, who later persuaded management to give her a job at a private equity firm. "You are one conversation away from achieving your dreams," she said. "Have more conversations."

To achieve the success most of us want, when we have those conversations, we need to be able to fill in the blank: "I'm your go-to girl for ______ " Once we know what we need and what we can offer, success is in our grasp, Kavita said.

                                                   Kavita

Now, if there's a woman who has defined success in an intriguing way, it's Vernice Armour, America's first African American female combat pilot, who calls herself "FlyGirl"

Armour went from beat comp in her city, to a combat pilot who served two tours overseas in Iraq. She now is a motivational speaker, pulling in a six-figure salary through her keynotes, group coaching, seminars and executive retreats. Her big message: Who needs a runway? Take off from where you are."

Often, women wait waiting for the right moment, the right circumstances to make their move. Instead, "just move into action from wherever you are," she advises. "In order to be successful, you gotta get gutsy." When Armour realized she had a voice and something to say, she took a workshop on public speaking, and moved into action. Clearly, she is good at what she does. She had the whole room of women cheering, laughing and interacting. 

 

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One of the most impressive women who has defined success her way, despite obstacles, is Mary Wong, president of the Office Depot Foundation. Mary suffers from health issues, but pushes forward to accomplish amazing things for the foundation, which gives children tools to succeed in school, among other contributions. Wong sent a clear message at this year's Women's Symposium that today's working women are defining success in new ways and she encourages women everywhere to be A Difference Maker (#diffmkrwomen).

 

 

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Honored to be in the company of Mary Wong (and her dog) at the 2017 Office Depot Women's Symposium

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 25, 2017

Inspiring Scenes from the Women's March

Like thousands of other women, men and children, I attended a Women's March on Saturday. The one I attended was in Miami. I went because I believe in democracy and because I write about work and family. I went because I believe in paid leave and sick days so all parents can keep their jobs and have families.

I have watched as many women's organization have worked tirelessly to advance the causes that will make the lives better of working mothers and their families. I want to see that continue. I want us to march forward as a nation toward improving the lives of the people who are working hard to support their families.

According to Time Magazine, millions of people participated in the women's marches that took place across the country and around the world on Saturday. Exactly how many millions is difficult to pin down since large crowds are notoriously tough to count, but a pair of researchers place the figure at at least 3.3 million just in the U.S., based on hundreds of news reports and Facebook data.

Regardless of how many people attended women's marches, by far, what inspired me most was young girls who marched and the signs they carried. I am completely convinced our nation is in good hands in the future after seeing the passion and purpose that young people expressed through their presence, their signs and their positive energy. 

Here are a very reasons I am inspired by the next generation: (These photos are from the Miami Women's March and Rally)

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These photos are from the D.C. March via Working Mother Magazine. Click here for more of Working Mother's photos.

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So, are you inspired too? Do you agree that the future of women and families is in good hands?

 

January 13, 2017

Why working mothers need to pay attention to what's going on in D.C.

                                                Mom

 

As a mother, I'm concerned. As a women, I'm concerned. As someone who writes about work and family issues, I'm concerned.

There's a lot at stake in the next four years. I need to pay attention. So do you.

In recent years, we have seen progress in benefits offered to working mothers: More companies began offering paid maternity (and paternity) leave or extended the time off. More cities and states passed paid leave and paid sick days laws.  More women and families gained access to healthcare. The issue of equal pay became front of mind. Lastly, minimum wage increased in 21 states, a crucial boost for families living paycheck to paycheck.

Yes, we've seen progress. But don't get too excited yet. Changes are afoot that threaten some of the advances that make a difference in the lives of working mothers. We need to ensure all working mothers receive crucial workplace protections and medical benefits.

Here's what we need to watch and weigh in on:

1. Repeal of Obamacare and its replacement. Republicans in Congress want to take away healthcare from tens of millions of people without offering a comprehensive, transparent or vetted replacement plan.

Debra Ness, president, National Partnership for Women & Families, made this statement: Senate Republicans demonstrated blatant disregard for women’s health and economic security by voting against amendments designed to prevent insurance companies from charging women higher premiums than men and denying coverage to women simply because of their gender; ensure access to affordable birth control; and preserve Medicaid expansion and the Medicare program as we know it.  As the budget moves on to the U.S. House of Representatives, on behalf of the millions who stand to lose health care, we demand that House leadership stop playing politics with our health care, especially women’s health, including reproductive health, and instead make it a priority." 

It's tempting to think our voices don't matter on this issue that affects millions of people. Working mothers can't afford to ignore access to medical coverage that saves lives and prevents bankruptcies. 

2. Paid sick leave.  People are more likely to go to work sick or send a sick child to school if they don’t have access to paid sick days. Ivanka Trump appears to be a proponent of some type of legislation around this issue.  The Healthy Families Act, floating around Capitol Hill,  is an important piece of legislation that could make a difference for many families by putting a national paid sick days standard in place; The National Partnership for Women & Families wants us to show our support with a message: "Pass a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It's the right thing to do." Here's the link to get your voice heard. 

3. Equal pay. There won’t be a female commander-in-chief this year, but women made big gains in other areas of government and business. Eleven of the top nation’s courts will have a majority of justices who are women in 2017. As Working Mother notes: Women still make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, but several executive actions signed by President Barack Obama will help increase transparency in pay—a crucial step toward eliminating the wage gap. Now, all of Obama's executive actions are at risk. We need to keep a close eye on this important step in the right direction for working women and working moms, and fight in our own workplaces for more transparency, too. Here's the link to encourage members of Congress to support fair pay.

4. Workplace Fairness. You should not get fired or lose a promotion because you’re pregnant. And you should never have to experience sexual harassment at work. It’s not right, but discrimination is common in the 21st century workplace. There are efforts going on to quash the nomination of Trump appointees who have a disregard for equality. I urge you to support those efforts.

5. Women's March on Washington. On January 21, millions of women plan to march on Washington to protect our rights, our safety, our families, and our democracy, and to say NO to hate. You can keep up with developments @womensmarch or #womensmarch. Also, MomsRising does a great job of keeping the public up on key issues of importance to moms.

 

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What else we need to watch:

  • Millennials today earn 20 percent less than their boomer parents at the same age. With student loan debt and high childcare costs, young families are moving in with parents. Great article in USA today about this trend. 

 

This is an important year to keep up with the news and let your voice be heard! We can all play a part in keeping the momentum going in a positive direction! 

December 20, 2016

How busy people keep up their holiday stamina

Last night I picked my daughter up from the airport and found myself yawning the entire ride home. I wanted to hear about her semester at college, but I was just too darn tired to really pay attention. For the last few weeks, I have tried extra hard to keep a work life balance as I juggle work deadlines with holiday/charity events and shopping. 

I love this time of year, but it takes stamina to stay happy, healthy and energized during the holiday season.

Sleep. For me, that requires a good night sleep. I have been trying to power down an hour earlier than usual at night. I also make my to do lists for the next day before I leave my desk each evening. It has helped me have a clear head so I can go to bed without worrying about everything I need to do the next day.

Exercise. There are other ways too keep your stamina up. Recently, I spoke with Randall Vitale, regional Unknown-1
vice president for Hoffman's Chocolates. It's a super busy time at Hoffman's, which has a factory in Palm Beach County and 10 stores in the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach area. Vitale has stepped up communication with his 10 store managers during its busiest month of the year, huddling daily and encouraging managers to make customer interactions impactful and correct order mistakes quickly. “We want customers to come back next year and the year after.”

To stay productive and enjoy the holidays, Vitale, finds pockets of time for stamina-building. He uses odd hours when his seven-month-old wakes up to lift weights, do yoga stretches or stroll the baby around the neighborhood. “Ramping up exercise not only helps with stamina, it also counteracts the extra eating at holiday parties,” he says.

Focus. Some people keep their stamina high by focusing on a reward. Jessi Berrin, a Baptist Health South Florida director of government and community relations, has been to a slew of holiday events and is still going strong. "Even though this is the end of crazy busy year, I continue to push myself knowing I am taking time off next week. It helps knowing the reward is just down the road."

Listen. I have noticed when I listen to my favorite music, whether it's Jingle Bell Rock or the latest from Fifth Harmony it puts a pep in my step.  Research from the University of Maryland shows that hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. That not only calms you down but can put you in a great mood to get more done.

 

Plan. Another way to keep your stamina up is to energize yourself for new year. Julia Aquino-Serrano, Unknown president of the National Association of Business Owners Broward chapter and CEO of business consultancy All Systems Grow of Coral Springs, has set aside four hours  to write a work and life plan for 2017. (Writing it down is the key, she says)  Earlier in December, Aquino-Serrano launched a second company, Tees for Humanity. With two businesses, her 2017 plan will include how she will grow her companies and deal with work life balance. “I will consciously make choices and not carry around guilt.”

Yes, the holiday can be stressful, But they can be fun, too. Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to end if your kitchen is cluttered or your inbox is overflowing  Focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life and you are sure to finish out 2016 strong!

 

 

December 12, 2016

What to give your boss for the holidays? Do you even need to give a gift?

 

                                           Gift

 

 

Many people struggle with whether to get their boss  a holiday gift. I have been one of those people who has contemplated this dilemma many times. I don't want to look like a kiss up, but I also want to show a good boss that he or she makes my work life enjoyable.

I try to go with gifts that are a little personal, but not too personal. For many years, I had a manager I considered a friend. He and I spoke regularly about our kids, our jobs and our goals. He helped me to do the best work I was capable of by being supportive of work life balance. When it came time for the holidays, I knew he liked to cook and eat gourmet dishes so I gave him food-related gifts – unique cookbooks, homemade desserts, fun cooking tools. The gifts were always accompanied by a note.

When gift giving to a boss, I think the note is the important part. Some managers feel pressure from above -- all the time -- and appreciate someone on their staff acknowledging that they are good at their job. I've given small gifts like a fun mug with a handwritten short note like: "Happy Holidays! Thanks for being a great boss!" If you aren’t thrilled with your boss, you can tone it down and try to find one thing about him or her that you appreciate and acknowledge it in your holiday note.

Another option is to pool with your colleagues to get a group gift. The group present should be inexpensive but thoughtful. The easiest gifts are consumable or usable --  a food basket or tickets to a show or sporting event. If you have a particularly bad boss,  you still might consider contributing to the group gift to avoid things getting awkward and appear a team player.

Gifts to a boss or co-worker are not mandatory. I think the key is looking closely at the culture of your workplace and reading your boss. A reasonable manager would never penalize someone, even subtly, for not giving him or her a gift at the holidays. On the other hand, you might not have a reasonable manager. Contemplate your own situation, and proceed accordingly. (But know that etiquette is on your side if you choose not to give a gift.)

Also, be careful about getting creative. One year, a manager I know received  giant Buddha statue from his assistant. I guess she was trying to help him feel more zen.  She insisted her boss display it. “Now I’m stuck with it seeing it every day and it irritates me,” the manager told me. “My advice is don’t give your boss anything he has to display. If you miss the mark, a nice thing turns into resentment.”

 When he told me this, I asked him whether he thought his assistant even needed to get him a gift at all. His answer was "it's always nice to feel appreciated." However, I have asked other managers the same question and they have told me they don't want a gift and they don't plan to give their staff gifts.

What are your thoughts on giving a boss a gift? Has it ever made you uncomfortable to give or receive a gift at work? Is it more uncomfortable not to give a gift?

December 02, 2016

What you need to do at the office holiday party

 

                               Holiday party

 

This weekend I am attending my husband's holiday office party. By now, I have been to enough holiday parties to know there are unwritten rules. So, I know to tread carefully. I also know that office holiday parties are important -- maybe more so than most people realize. If you are thinking of skipping your holiday party, don't do it. The boss knows exactly who was there and who wasn't.

Now, let's say you do go and you decide to make the most of your company's generosity. Do so cautiously. One year, my husband's co-worker made a big pig of himself by ordering two meals -- a giant steak and a full size lobster. I guess he figured it was the company's dime, but he came across as someone who would run an expense account up just for the heck of it. Not a good impression to leave on the boss.

Holiday office parties can be landmines for embarrassing behavior,  or they can be huge opportunities to impress the boss and strengthen relationships with co-workers. Here are a few tips from many years of navigating the office holiday party.

1. Eat something before you go. Take a nibble on something small but sufficient to soak up any alcohol you ingest quickly. (It's a good idea to pace yourself on the alcohol, too) I have been on the wrong side of this one so I speak from experience.

2. Dress appropriately. We all know what that means --  no sleazy outfits, no ratty shoes, no stained clothing. Ask ahead what people are wearing so you don't show up too overdressed or too casual. 

3. Mingle. It's easy to hang out with the people you already know well but this is great chance to get to know co-workers from other departments or managers who might be helpful in the future. Introduce yourself so you don't spend the whole night talking to someone who has no idea of your name.

4. Make conversation with your boss' significant other. You may not realize it, but significant others have a huge influence on your manager's perception of you. Making the extra effort to converse with his or her other half can help your career. When my husband considers raises, I can't tell you how many times I have pleaded someone's case, so again, I speak from experience.

5. Arrive timely. We joke around in South Florida that people are on "Miami time" but at a holiday party arriving late deprives you of the chance to hang out early in the night when people are most talkative and drinks are just beginning to flow. Even if you don't really want to attend, showing up on time and scooting out shortly after should be enough for people to remember you were there.

6. Be receptive. If someone kisses you on the check, don't stand there like a cold fish. If someone shakes your hand, look him or her in the eye and welcome the introduction. If someone pinches your tush or hugs you too long, that's another story. Let them know right away that you find it offensive. Using humor is a good way to do that.

7. Show appreciation. Before I leave, I always say thank you to the person who planned the event, and the person who paid for it.  Someone put in a great deal of effort hoping you would have a good time and someone spent money to make it happen. Even if you didn't have the best night of your life, not only is saying thank you the nice thing to do, but it also makes you stand out because most employees don't.  

Monster.com has some tips as well, including some advice for the party planner. 

My favorite part of the holiday party is seeing my colleagues dressed up and in a good mood. How about you -- do you love office holiday parties, or dread them?