Sunday, December 03, 2006

Getting drunk with co-workers: a guide to embracing alcoholism while enjoying your job

As part of our continuing series, I'd like to examine another aspect of "embracing alcoholism while enjoying your job". How do we feel about the out-of-work booze-up with one's supervisor?

Not too long ago, I found myself in this exact situation. See, I work at a place with a fair amount of 20-somethings, so inevitably you will have the relatively over-the-hill 25 and 26 year olds managing at least some of the time of us wide-eyed and eager 22 and 23 year olds. Although if three years means climbing a few more rungs up the corporate ladder, it's meaningless in the social world. I'm 23 years old and enjoy drinking, sometimes to excess. My direct supervisor is a few years older than me, and from what I hear, also enjoys drinking. Meeting up with each other at an out-of-work function was bound to happen.

I recently went to a party with a few co-workers, my supervisor included. A few drinks later, and she asked me if I found it strange or awkward hanging out with someone who, come Monday morning, would be telling me to format this or proofread that. I replied that I absolutely, positively did not give a damn. I've always considered myself to be a come-as-you-are and do-what-you-please kind of guy, and frankly, I'd find it a bit more strange if a 26-year old didn't indulge in a libation from time to time. I then asked whether it was strange for her to be drinking with someone who you were supervising. She admitted that it was a bit stranger for her. For can you really be dancing on top of a coffee table on a Thursday evening and then speaking from a position of authority on Friday morning?

Is there a point to this incessant rambling? Only that one must understand that it's ok to go out and have fun, but it should never impede on your ability to perform well at work (of course this goes without saying not only for boozing with supervisors, but also for any other activity). Sure, supervisor-supervisee distinctions may at times become blurred, but as long as you are both professionals in the office, who cares if you drink together at the bar?


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