Photo: Arina P Habich (Shutterstock)
Drinking with co-workers is fraught with potential missteps. Beyond getting sloppy, booze can make you act in ways and do things you’re not proud of. This isn’t such a big deal among friends, but it can have pretty dire consequences once you add co-workers and bosses into the mix.
My dad, who spent many years of his professional life going to symposiums and conferences and business dinners, never had much of an issue with this. He doesn’t drink much anyway, but he also employed a clever little trick to make sure he didn’t down his drinks too quickly: He ordered drinks he didn’t like. “I don’t like bourbon, so I’d always order a bourbon,” he told me. “It’d take me forever to get that thing down.”
To a young mind, this may seem like a waste of free alcohol, but what good is a free drink if it costs you your job (or a raise, or a promotion, or respect)? By ordering something you don’t care for that much, you’ll spend the evening nursing, rather than chugging—or even aggressively sipping—your beverage, leading to fewer faux pas and hungover mornings.
And, because you ordered an actual alcoholic beverage, you’ll get to evade all the “Why aren’t you drinking?” malarkey that usually goes along with ordering a Diet Coke. Though society is, as a whole, getting better about respecting everyone’s choices when it comes to alcohol, corporate America is lagging slightly in this regard.
By ordering a drink you don’t like, and really taking your time with it, you come off as a responsible business person who makes responsible decisions, instead of a person who guzzles free booze and talks just a tad too close. Plus, you can always get a drink you really like after the event has concluded, at a bar where your HR rep is not.