Let’s face it. The unofficial philosophy of many American industries is “work hard, play harder,” which makes for killer company parties.
While it’s perfectly fine to party with your colleagues, you’ll want to keep your drinking around them under control before you’re doing the walk of shame in the office while everyone whispers behind your back.
You know you’ve seen it. The one who got a little crazy the night before at a co-worker’s birthday party and ended up giving the boss a lap dance. Yes, everybody saw it and everybody was talking about it.
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) conducted a survey of human resources professionals about acceptable corporate drinking environments:
- 70 percent said: at a holiday party,
- 40 percent: at a meal with a client or customer,
- 32 percent: at a retirement party,
- 28 percent: at the celebration of a company milestone,
- 22 percent: at a meal with a coworker,
- 4 percent: at a meal during a job interview, and
- 14 percent: never.
So, in an effort to prevent you from butting heads with HR over an event you were too wasted to remember, we’ll share a few of the dos and don’ts of drinking and work:
First things first: Don’t ever enter a work-related environment planning to get smashed; especially if you’re talking about a business lunch or dinner, where you have to represent your company. Do that on your own time with your own designated driver.
Do know your company culture. If managers and executives from your company are drinking, you’re good. If not, you’d better opt for that top shelf soda on the rocks.
Do know yourself. If a few sips will have you slurring your words and acting like somebody’s crazy cousin Cookie, why even put yourself in that predicament? Save the alcoholic beverages for the non-work after party.
Don’t lose your inhibitions. Just because you’re feeling “nice” doesn’t mean everyone else is and the out of pocket things you say about that cutie from the Finance Department will get back to someone at some point in time. Why make HR question if you should still be employed at their company?
You can blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-a-alcohol all you want, but HR will probably not sympathize with you.
Do be mindful of wine etiquette. In settings such as business lunches or dinners, it’s not uncommon for wine to be served. Help yourself to a glass, but remember that you are there to represent your company, not to drink all you can on somebody else’s tab.
Don’t get wasted on your lunch break. It may have been the hardest morning in the office that you can remember, but getting drunk on your lunch break does nothing but make the rest of your day even harder.
Aside from the lack of focus you’ll cause yourself, word of your drunkenness will spread faster than office romance gossip, leaving everyone extra critical of your performance and your seriousness about your job.
Lastly, for that “rare” occasion where you may go a little too hard, do not be too critical of yourself, but, it is extremely important to “answer the bell”. This is the most critical advice we can offer, companies can and most likely will excuse the occasional loosening up and have fun affair, however, many of careers paths have been judged by how you respond the next day, a.k.a. “answering the bell”, can you still function exceptionally in a meeting, can you arrive on time (which is early), can you deliver the task as needed, all the while functioning on 1 hour sleep and a headache that would make a rock band sympathize. You must answer the bell.
Lucky for you, times have changed a bit from when it was taboo to mix business and drinking, and you can reap the benefits of this liberty as long as you do so responsibly. Don’t go overboard. Do keep your job.