I love slipping into my sweats after a long day of work.
But just because I change my outfit when I leave the office doesn’t mean I shed my professionalism too.
Whether I’m grabbing drinks with colleagues after work, posting on social media or attending a professional event, I always keep it professional. This is a given for many, but for others, being a professional ends at happy hour (or sooner).
Sometimes it’s hard to know where the line is, so here are three key places outside work where you should always remain professional.
1. Company Happy Hours/Outings/Parties
I’ve seen and heard about people who get way too drunk at a company party, leading to inappropriate comments and/or antics that result in their coworkers thinking less of them, or worse.
Don’t be that person.
When you attend a company-sponsored event, have fun but know your limit and don’t forget about the professional relationships you have with your coworkers and superiors. Just because everyone is drinking, laughing and having a good time, doesn’t give you free rein to say whatever you want to whoever you want. Give yourself a drink limit, have a good time and don’t say or do anything you’re going to regret when you walk back into work.
I’m still amazed by how many professionals post inappropriate or insensitive content on their social media platforms and somehow think it won’t affect their career. What you say and do online leaves a digital footprint behind, so every post is an opportunity to impress or disappoint a potential employer.
How do you know if what you’re posting is okay or not? I like to give myself the ‘mom test.’
I don’t post anything I wouldn’t want my mom to read or see. I know this might not work for everyone, but it has served as a great way for me to determine whether or not I should really be sharing something with the entire world, which may include potential business partners or future employers. Bottom line; keep your online persona as clean and classy as possible.
3. Professional Networking Events
When you attend a networking event outside your company, free of coworkers, it’s tempting to vent about your company or clients to total strangers. But ragging on your employer doesn’t make you look professional and you never know who you may be talking with. There’s always a chance they could be associated with your company, colleagues or clients.
Always speak highly of your organization (regardless of your true feelings), because it makes you look both trusted and professional.
Where else can you be professional?