Hat tip to reader Kyle who pointed me toward this I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-satire Q&A from the increasingly more irrelevant, growing grayer and grayer old lady, the inglorious New York Times. This comes from the “Career Couch” section where some moron whose only job it is to answer dumb questions dumbly, claims expertise in the wild world of employment. In this week’s installment, aforementioned moron Eilene Zimmerman tackles the terrifying world of drinking (not-exactly) on the job in the hiiiiiilariously titled:
Are Three Martinis Three Too Many?
Q. You are new to the corporate world and not sure what to do at business functions or after-hour gatherings where alcohol is present. If everyone else is drinking — including your boss — should you drink, too?
Eilene says (and seriously you GOT to see the pathetic artwork with this one):
A. For those new to the professional world, the line between a work event and a social event is often unclear. You may see all the trappings of a party — food, music, even dancing — but any gathering where colleagues are present is business and you should stay sharp and avoid alcohol, said Jody Queen-Hubert, executive director of cooperative education and career services at Pace University in New York.
“Don’t be fooled,” she warned. “You are always being scrutinized by colleagues, so professionalism at all times is a must.”
Cy Wakeman, president of a human resources consulting firm bearing her name in Sioux City, Iowa, says that when it comes to drinking with colleagues, “the risk is very high that something negative will come out of it.” She says that it’s acceptable to have one or two drinks but that it is best to stop there.
“I even advise staying out of photographs with groups of people drinking,” she added, “because it could wind up online somewhere, like Facebook.”
Everyone you interact with while drinking has the potential to affect your career. A colleague today may be your manager six months from now and will likely recall any indecorous behavior.
If colleagues regularly have drinks after work, order what everyone else is having but sip it slowly. “Make it last all night,” Ms. Queen-Hubert said. “Holding a drink without drinking is a way to feel like part of the crowd without compromising your judgment.”
First of all, the only advice I’m going to taking from a hyphenated-named Pace prof is where the closest subway stop is to get the fuck out of the gross downtown-spooning-with-the-Brooklyn-Bridge-area of Manhattan and to a more happening part of town.
“Don’t be fooled,” I note. “In any job I’ve had I’ve scrutinized my nerdy coworkers and made fun of my lame colleagues that tried to exhibit such nebulous traits as ‘decorum’ and ‘professionalism’ versus absolutely punishing a free open bar and trying to make inroads with the new intern.”
Meanwhile, can you believe the glorious Times has to fucking call some rube all the way out in Sioux City just to get a pull quote?! I mean, seriously, Cy, I understand why you’ve come to think it risky to drink with colleagues. In fact, I would be on my best behavior if I was drinking near you. And I most certainly would not want pictures of me to appear on Facebook if I was seen drinking with some hag that looked like you.* Personally, in the Cys I’d rather fuck category, Young wins over you. I’d rather drink with Cy Young too.
Revel in the glorious puffery of our Cy who self-describes herself as “a dynamic, well-respected national keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and trainer.” Meanwhile, she looks like she just swallowed a fart. Or maybe she’s just mad that I have more Twitter followers than her.
Seriously, how boring of fucking evening would one have if they had to go out drinking at the Sioux City, Iowa Applebee’s bar with Cy and with Ms. Queen-Hubert whose just trying her darn tootingest to fit in by HOLDING HER DRINK WITHOUT DRINKING IT. FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT!
Wow. Is that really who you want to work with?! An adult who pretends to drink in order to fit in but is too chickenshit to actually drink and have fun? Christ on the cross.
Q. How do you politely decline to drink, especially if others are urging you to have one?
A. A simple “no, thanks” should suffice, said Debra Benton, a career coach and author of “C.E.O. Material: How to Be a Leader in Any Organization.” If everyone in your group is ordering a drink, get a soda or a tonic and lime.
You don’t need to make excuses, she said, or give a reason that reveals personal information, like “I’m on medication.” You can, however, give the reason if it is less personal — you will be driving, for example, or you need to finish some work when you get home.
If you are at a dinner where bottles of wine are ordered, you don’t want to protest because it will bring unwanted attention, said Debra Condren, a business psychologist and president of Manhattan Business Coaching. “You want to fit in, and that might mean getting a glass of wine and having a few sips or just letting it sit there,” she said.
Cy, Ms. Queen-Hubert, and now Debras Benton and Condren. My lord, these bitches are so boring, such wet blankets, they make Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers seem like Dorothy Parker and Tallulah Bankhead.
Methinks these four were not exactly cool growing up what with all their concerned talk about “fitting in.” I’ll tell you what ladies, and I may not have any made up titles behind my name like “career coach” or be the president of a phony institute, but the best way to fit in is to fucking relax and not act so goddamn inhibited.
Funny though, usually my friends, when they say at the bar, “I’m on medication,” aren’t making an excuse to turn down a drink, they’re just preparing me for the shit show that’s about to follow from them mixing Vicadin with Jameson.
As for me, I only decline a drink if it’s something real shitty and I feel like being a snob. I’d never turn down something delicious from the Michigan greats Founders though. I was thus excited to try their Old Ale, Curmudgeon. Old Ale is a style I’ve recently gotten into, enjoying it’s somewhat suped up barley wine qualities. This is a nice example too. Sweet and flavorful with a slight bitterness, malty and sugary, boozy but not too hot, and fairly drinkable. Another enjoyable effort from Founders.
Q. When you attend business-related social events with more-senior colleagues, they always seem to be holding a drink. Could your refusal to do the same draw attention to your youth and inexperience?
A. In some corporate cultures, having a scotch or bourbon is a way to build relationships, a way to take part, Ms. Condren said. “If you are at a high-profile event and all the executives are having a drink, you may feel you need one to be part of the club,” she noted. “That being said, you can still drink very little of it or have one drink and then switch to water.”
It’s essential, however, to know your limits. If you’re inexperienced in such situations and your clients or bosses are throwing back Johnnie Walkers, you can’t follow their lead, Ms. Condren said. If you try to keep up, you will likely drink too much and act unprofessionally — definitely drawing attention to your youth and inexperience.
Here’s some advice: quit being such a fucking pussy and learn to drink. What exactly were you guys doing at college?!
Q. If you wound up overdoing it at a company event, what’s the best way to deal with it the next day at the office?
A. If you offended or insulted anyone you must make amends, but do so privately. Making an apology to the entire office or department is unnecessary and can seem self-indulgent, Ms. Wakeman said. “Talk to people individually, saying you drank too much and learned a valuable lesson and that it will never happen again,” she said. “And remember that if it does happen again, you will lose your credibility.”
I usually just send a mass cc’ed e-mail: “If you’re wondering…yes, yes I did. And Cy gives terrible head. Maybe if she drank more she’d be a little looser. Ha, no pun intended. LOLOLOLOLOL!”
If some dweeb came to me and said they learned a “valuable lesson” from the previous night’s tying one on, I’d immediately have them transferred to the Vice Blog’s Sioux City branch.
Q. Is it acceptable to call in sick if you are suffering from a bad hangover?
A. No. Even if the culture is one of “playing hard,” there is also an expectation you will work hard the next day, Ms. Queen-Hubert said. Use your trusted hangover remedy and soldier on.
If you are too sick to get out of bed, you will have to meet with your boss when you return and find some way to make restitution, said Dallas Teague Snider, founder of Make Your Best Impression, a business etiquette consulting firm in Birmingham, Ala. “Offer to work an extra day or take your sick day as unpaid vacation instead,” she said. “Your boss may say you don’t need to do that, but you should still offer.”
Absolutely! No one gets “sick” any more. Hangovers are the NEW sick. And if you’ve unfortunately blown threw all your vacation and sick days already, start your day with a mimosa to turn the old engine over, a liquid lunch to keep you going.
(Seriously, the Times quoted a “business etiquette” firm out of Alabama?! OK, they have GOT to be fucking with us, right? Right? Doesn’t business etiquette in Alabama start and end with wearing your best golf shirt to important meetings and making sure there’s no Carl’s Jr. sauce stuck in your mustache before speaking to clients?)
Q. How can you tell if you have a drinking problem that needs to be addressed?
A. If you can relax at professional events only by having a drink, that could indicate a problem, Ms. Condren said. “If you are embarrassing yourself or sometimes don’t remember your behavior,” she said, “it’s a good idea to seek professional counseling.”
You may be using alcohol as a crutch when navigating uncomfortable social situations, Ms. Wakeman said. Rather than relying on alcohol, find a co-worker who is naturally adept at mingling and ask if he or she could help you develop those social skills, too.
What does it say about me if I need alcohol as a “crutch” to read this column and am now using it as an even bigger crutch to help write these acerbic barbs?
Seriously, this section of the Times shouldn’t be called the “Career Couch,” it should be called, “How to be a Big Sniveling Vagina that Will Never Get Invited to Work Happy Hours.” Well done, NYT!
I’m just drunk enough right now to think that a good idea.
*I love how Cy has already added this very article to her “In the Media” section of her ugly website. Prestigious! Maybe she’ll have more Twitter followers than me soon!