Some years ago I was employed by a contractor company around 1.5 years long for a project. It was ended because the customer had financial problems, and he had to build down the project I was working on. The contractor didn't have another project for me at the time, thus I had to unfortunately leave. It was a good-standing leave.
Later they've tried to re-employ me again (a different department of the same customer has shown interest to me), but I worked already elsewhere and I couldn't break that job. Now they've invited me to their company Christmas party.
I would like to show my best side for them. On the party, they will probably ask, in informal context, how is it going to me. But, my answer will probably affect my chances in the future. And, I think it would be the best if I would show myself the possible most useful for them, to maximize the chance of a possible new offer.
Actually, my things aren't going very well, I work mostly on project-based jobs for contractor (outsourcing) companies and I am quite lucky if can I find one where I am accepted by both the contractor and its customer.
Currently I try to extend this with freelancing projects which I've found much harder to get and solve, as I ever thought.
They probably know these on informal channels (this region hasn't a very big IT industry).
Furthermore, I am a foreigner (Auslander) programmer in Germany, and I think it is a big honor that I was invited to their Christmas Party, despite that I am not working for them any more. It is highly uncommon here. Actually, they are the only company in Germany where I think I have also a personal sympathy and not only a professional relation.
What to do? If I am honest and answer clearly, I will maybe underestimate myself in their eyes. Furthermore, I can't admit that I would be most happy if I could get freelancer jobs, because it is not their business model.
Furthermore, there is nothing here about a possible new offer, it is only a Christmas Party and I think it wouldn't be ethical to use it as a job interview poker. But my behavior and my answers will unavoidably affect our relations in the future.
Furthermore, also they have some interesting developments: they've organized the Party in a nearby city where they weren't really active in my time. Its probable reason is that currently most of their employee working there, and not in my region. Also I am considering to move there, because it has a much better job market. It would be nice to ask them from that, to know what do they see there, but I am not sure if I can ask it, and how deeply if yes.
I think, a direct ask for their business situation probably wouldn't sound well, while if I show interest to this city, yes. But where is the border between these?