You’re a grown up now.
You have a job, you join professional circles and attend happy hour events. You take business class when travelling.
These are all great.
And it is fantastic that you can interact with your co-workers (and climb that corporate ladder like the corporate whore you are) in a social setting. But you need to remember one key thing. No matter how well you get along with your peers, and what a great laissez-faire attitude you have in the office… All these events and all these people, they still make up WORK.
So here is how you learn to be a professional party girl (or boy) while still remaining professional.
1. I want you to have fun. And I want you to BE the fun person you are outside of work, but remember that just because a work event includes alcohol and a dj, it doesn’t mean that you are at a rave party. Keep your composure and limit the grindy dance spurts to a minimum. Actually, scratch that- grindy dancing at work functions is never ok. To achieve this, give yourself a three drink maximum and at all costs avoid doing shots. Those spell more American spring break than a professional who should be taken seriously.
2. Your party ways can never interfere with your work. While on a business trip, several of us went out after dinner. The drinks kept coming, but myself and some others retired to our rooms circa midnight, while a small group continued on. Was I jealous of their bonding and stories of exploring the hotel circa 4 am? Of course I was. But they sauntered to our client’s office at 11 am ordered pizza and giggled in the corner like teenagers (they were 40) annoying the rest of us. 4 months later half of those people are no longer at the company. Here is the thing, the office staff loves people who are fun, but the boss will pick the nerdy hard worker every time. Networking only gets you so far. You have to have the work ethic to back it up.
3. If partying does interfere with your work – ie you attend happy hour industry events that end in a make out with a rando at an after hours, followed by rushing into work the next morning still reeking of cheap Pinot Grigio; you might have a problem. Honestly, if you want to get crunk on your own time, that is technically ok, but I’ll warn you that it’s a small world and your supervisor’s cousin’s boyfriend is probably the bartender who cut you off your last round of tequila shots while the lights were going on at the club… Eventually people will realize that you are not merely under the weather every Thursday morning, but might actually be developing a problem with alcohol. Word gets around so stay classy.
4. Binge drinking has become so acceptable, that it is perfectly ok to sigh into the office 30 min late, with sunglasses on, exclaiming- ‘Gah, I’m SOOOOOO hung over’ and get sympathetic comments of approval from your peers. However, the thing with co-workers is that it is ok to like them, but you shouldn’t necessarily trust them. People are very quick to throw you under the bus if it will benefit them. Don’t be surprised if your less experienced (but better behaved) co-worker gets better projects than you. If you become the well known office party girl, people will likely be afraid to depend on you. So keep even the worst hangover to yourself. Or better yet, end your school nights at 1, and go home to vitamin b and a large glass of water.
5. When travelling for work, maintain the same attitude you have in the office. Don’t get trashed on flights, trains, work dinners, or client meetings. Don’t forget that if you are female and work in a predominantly male environment, your tolerance is lower than that of men and that is ok. You can still seem like you are keeping up without passing out on your overpriced business steak.
When taking business flights it is great to enjoy the complimentary champagne that sure beats the vinegary swill they serve in economy. However, drinking on flights dehydrates you to the max and dehydration makes you look like a leather bag.
You don’t want that, do you?
So have a glass of champagne (ok, three), but not seven!
*just wanted to add a disclaimer in here – there is one occasion in my professional career where drinking DID help my work, it involves Chinese factory owners, 2.5% beer and a night after which my Eastern Euro booze drinking ways gained me serious respect; but that is a story for another time 😉[like] [tweets]