What to do after your screw up at a holiday party?

Scene of an office party with people dancing.
When I worked in Japan, we had a very simple understanding (a standard practice in the country) with our colleagues: whatever was said and done after the office hours was not to be used against any one. Thus, when we went drinking after work, we could talk more freely and even criticize each other. This was supposed to build a more harmonious environment since there was no reason to hold a grudge against anyone – you could simply share your grievance over beer and sushi. The same practice allows colleagues to flirt with each other.

Unfortunately, we do not have such practices in America and we have to guard our behavior at all times. And despite enormous help out there, many executives make a fool of themselves during holiday parties. I have seen behavior that makes you wonder what these idiots were thinking.
WorldWIT CEO and workplace expert Liz Ryan offers the following advice for managing holiday workplace indiscretions.

    Apologize to the affected parties. That might be the boss you insulted, the workmate you flirted with, or the hapless guest whose coat you spilled your drink on (or worse). Contact this person and say, “I want to apologize deeply for the incident the other night at the Holiday Party [or wherever. I feel very badly about what happened.” That’s all. You don’t need to gush or try to make amends, unless you damaged or destroyed personal property, which you must compensate for.
    Religiously WATCH your step for the next long while, and depending on the heinousness of your crime, that while could range from two weeks to six months or more. If you got drunk and kissed your boss, it could be longer. Be cool, do your work, and be overly respectful and careful until you’re back in good standing. (Related: How to dress at an office holiday party)
    Keep yourself out of situations that might make a relapse likely. If you have to avoid workplace social events for awhile, do it. If people are going to start in again on “Remember when Charlie fell down on the dance floor at the Christmas party?” then it might be better if you’re not there.
    If your boss saw or likely heard about your gaffe, talk privately with him or her about it. If you really goofed up in public, you brought disfavor on your whole department and to some degree, made your boss look bad. On top of that, you made it harder for him or her to champion you to higher-ups who are aware of the bad thing that took place. So apologize to your boss as well, letting him or her know what you’re going to do by way of damage control, and reassure him or her that you are a professional who takes responsibility for your mistakes.
    Don’t dwell on the incident. Life goes on. You don’t have to keep apologizing to everyone you see or re-enacting the situation for the amusement of your colleagues. It’s over, and tomorrow is a new day.

How to donate online safely?

A man's hand with pennies.
Most of us donate money to charities and increasingly do so online. However, crooks often try to take advantage of the generosity of people with good intentions. The followings tips are based on the ePhilanthropy Code of Ethical Online Philanthropic Practices. Please help spread the word by either linking to this post or forwarding it to others who may use the Internet for charitable giving.

Know Your Charity
Make sure you have the exact name of the organization. Some charities or charity websites have names that sound similar and you need to make sure it’s a legitimate nonprofit. Before you give online you should be familiar with the name and reputation of the charity you intend to support. If in doubt check with your local United Way or Community Information Center; they may be familiar with the charity.

Give to Legitimate Charities
Only give to charities recognized by the appropriate governmental body in their respective country. Look for the charity to explain their tax-exempt nonprofit (NGO) status in a FAQ or similar area of their website. You should also be aware that some advocacy organizations are not allowed by law to issue tax deductible receipts, you may still wish to support their work, however our advice is to understand before you make the gift what type of tax receipt you can expect. Another concern is use of charity money for what may amount to support for terrorism. It is, therefore, important not only to understand what the organization you are donating to does but also where is the money being sent and for what purpose.

Feel Free To Ask Questions
Any legitimate charity seeking your support via the Internet or off line, will give you ample opportunities to ask questions and to learn about their mission. In the US you can learn a lot about a charity by ask for the document the charity files with IRS each year called the 990 Form. Nonprofit organizations are required by law to provide this information when asked.

Give Safely
Make sure the charity site uses encryption technology that ensures appropriate security for online donations and data transmission. Before entering any information you consider sensitive (i.e. credit card number, personal identification data, etc), verify that the page requesting your credit card information is secure (encrypted). The letters https:// – rather than http:// – should precede the page’s URL and/or there should be an unbroken key or padlock symbol located in the corner of the web browser. If in doubt contact the charity by telephone or by email before you provide the information online. (Related: Online commerce safety)

Consider Giving Directly
The Internet provides tremendous opportunities to support the charity of your choice directly. Don’t get taken by “charity” or “someone is in need” chain letters. E-mails that claim money will go to a specified charity each time the message is forwarded are not true.

Demand Privacy
Check for a privacy policy concerning the use of your name, e-mail address or other personal information. Don’t disclose personal information, such as your address, telephone number, social security number, or e-mail address unless you know who’s collecting the information and how they plan to use it.

Keep Records
Print a copy of the final confirmation screen that appears when you have made your gift. In addition, keep a copy of your charitable gift confirmation email for your records. If you do not receive a confirmation of the gift by email (and in most cases by mail as well), do not give to that charity online again, until you are certain they have brought their online solicitation policies in line with these tips. In such cases, contact the charity to make sure they received your gift and request confirmation of the gift.

Look For Contact Information
A reputable charity will make certain contact information is readily available in case you need assistance with questions, problems, or service. The charity should provide one or more ways to reach them off line as well as communicate with them directly online. Look for the charity’s contact address, telephone, email address, etc.

Know How Your Money Will Be Used
The Internet provides charities with an opportunity to share more of their work with you the donor. You should be able to learn how the charity you contribute to plans to use the money you give to help others and fulfill their mission. If you are not certain how the charity will use your charitable gift, ask!

Request Regular Information
Your favorite charity should provide you an opportunity to hear about their work regularly. On their website or through email updates the charity should provide information about how they fulfill their stated mission. These updates should be received on a regular basis and should not be tied only to requests for contributions.