So, yesterday we had both the award luncheon for students, and a faculty-only reception at the department chair's house. I actually attended both! (Well, for the former, my TA was getting an award that I nominated him for, and I was recognized as new faculty. Plus, lunch was delicious: enchiladas brought in from a Mexican restaurant in town.) The good thing was that for the latter, I stayed the whole time and only left because I was tired enough that I didn't want to drive home if I stayed later. I always feel awkward at large parties, but it helps that a lot of the senior faculty seemed to make it their job to help me meet people. And I actually spoke to some of the junior faculty (aka the people who didn't have me as a student).
I have this undercurrent of fear about my job because it requires renewal every few years, so I do feel obligated to go to events, and then I go and remember that most of the people here want me to succeed (mostly because they like me and understand that new professors are still learning to teach, partially because no one wants to go through the hiring process again*).
* No one likes faculty job searches. The existing faculty find that it disrupts their schedules for several weeks even if they aren't on the hiring committee (who has to go through hundreds of apps, a good percentage of whom would do just fine). Everyone applying is nervous as all hell, and then the lucky few selected for second-round interviews have to carve out days at a time for that. (Seriously, my interview was a day and a half long, and you maybe get snatches of five or ten minutes to collect yourself during the day.) And the business office and various admins aren't happy because they need to carve out funds to fly people in, and pay for meals and hotels. And someone has to deal with flight delays. (Over my interviewing career, I've had at least two. One was the interview for my current job, made worse as I was coming into the airport an hour away and renting a car.)