I’ve worked in the nonprofit world, in jobs that put me in contact with volunteers, often during their leisure hours. I ended up at plenty of receptions, galas, and even meetings that served a somewhat social purpose for some participants, so alcohol was involved.
Now, I’m a drinker. I come from drinkers. I have four kinds of bitters in the liquor cabinet right now,and we keep beer in our crisper drawer in the fridge, so I’m not anti-drinking.
I’m just anti-drinking at work events. I’ve never seen it go well. Who among us can’t tell the story of someone making a total ass of him or herself at an office happy hour?
After what I’ve seen, I’ve decided that it isn’t worth the risk.
What have I seen, you ask?
One boss got so drunk at meetings that at various times she:
- Threw up in the meeting host’s bathroom, getting almost all of it in the toilet.
- Chewed her nails down to the nubs, which the host discovered when she cleaned up the next day and found a little pile of chewed nails on the floor.
- Kissed someone else’s boyfriend. On the lips.
- Sank at least one Waterford crystal wine glass in the pool.
- Had to be put in a cab to go home when her own boyfriend refused to come and pick her up.
That same boss missed a critical meeting one morning. Her boss knew we’d been out at a meeting the night before, and being familiar with the individual and the meeting culture in our agency, asked me point blank if my boss had gotten drunk the night, causing her to miss the meeting to sleep it off.
Why would you ever put your employees in that position? It was awful.
Another boss had a few too many at a gala, so much that she didn’t notice that her strapless dress had begun to function more as a skirt. Several board members asked me to fix that problem, but honestly, there was no way I could think of that didn’t involve duct tape, which seemed like it would get me in trouble.
At another gala, one boss strode up to the podium so snookered he could barely read his speech. He slurred, muttered, and flat-out skipped entire paragraphs, repeatedly mispronouncing the name of the person he was thanking. Some thanks!
Why risk it?
Thanks to the sterling examples set by former bosses, I not only abstain from drinking at work-related events, I impose a no-drinking policy on my staff if the agency does not already have its own. I figure they will one day appreciate the fact that they’ve never had to clean up my vomit or look at my bare chest.