An old Tibetan monk once said :
“A drunken mouth speaks a sober mind.”
I don’t know if that is actually said by an old monk or just something someone’s grandfather said, but in terms drinking at an office function, it rings as true today as it did when whoever said it, said it. The ironic part of the statement is, people will go to great lengths to say the opposite. “Oh, Tim, please understand I didn’t mean that you are completely incapable of everything – it was the whiskey talking – I don’t really believe that.” Yes you do! That’s why you said it when you were drunk – you didn’t have any filters to stop you from saying it!
As an HR Pro I love going to work functions that involved alcohol! Sure there is some legal/safety risks, but the information you get on your organization is priceless! The only thing that might be better is to secretly wire-tape my body like they do with the guys that always get caught in the movies – so people will stop asking me why I’m taking notes at the 5th Friday of the month cocktail parties. If you ever want to find me at a party, I go to the group who is drinking the most, and I carry a tray of drinks over with me, to ensure everyone gets another round without having to leave the conversation.
The only thing better than employees with too much alcohol in them, is the employees that smoke with too much alcohol in them! These are a unique group of people who tend to talk too much anyway. I mean they are already going outside for 5-10 times per day for 5-10 minute little breaks to get their smoke on – so they are use to coming up with conversation to pass that time away with the coworker, smoker friends. The smoker network gets even better with drinks! People always ask me if I smoke because I go outside with the smokers, and I don’t, but they have the best conversations! Plus the smokers are the only “group” in your organization that is truly diverse – you’ll get all shapes and sizes, male and female, black, white, blue, secretaries and Vice Presidents – you’ll hear it all! (newbie HR Pro tip #23 – Hang with the smokers in your organization – you’ll find out everything before it happens!) When I recruit new Employee Relations people I put a pack of cigs and an ash tray on my desk just to see who bites – I want my ER’s to be smokers!
Ok, let me get back on track – drinkers. Here’s my suggestion, if you have some issues with your organization, or feel some ill will towards anyone you’ll be around, skip the alcohol and tell everyone you are on some kind of medication that will make you violently ill if you have a drop of alcohol when everyone asks why you aren’t drinking (which will happen because everyone is use to you making an ass of yourself and they like the entertainment). Next, leave early, faking your same illness, because everyone that is drinking will be talking about you – so it will be uncomfortable. Lastly, head straight to the bar with your best work friend to find out all the gossip!