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Alcohol and Business – Do They Mix?

Before I share my views, let me ask you a question: Do you believe employees or contractors should drink at business functions? Let me add one more element to that question: Do you believe employees or contractors should drink when their bosses or top management are also attending the event?

glass with alcohol and ice cubes


I was at a business function recently where the alcohol flowed freely. I mean the alcohol was free to all participants. I wasn’t drinking alcohol so I believe that gave me an interesting perspective as I watched the evening and the business meeting progress.

1. The beginning of the evening was professional. It was fun to mingle with one another and make intelligent polite conversation.

2. As the glasses were filled a second and third time, the noise volume began to rise and the conversations became a bit more exaggerated.

3. By the end of the function, extreme emotions of “love” and sadness were expressed and the speech of some participants began to slur.

4. During the entire evening I observed that the owners of company and most of the top management either had no alcohol or seemed to nurse one drink all evening. I also saw the owners and management making mental notes of those employees who consumed too much of the free alcohol.

5. A few employees actually became ill from the alcohol.

I’m not judging alcohol consumption nor am I condemning alcohol in general. I do believe that good common sense and moderation are the keys to mixing alcohol with business.

A business function is business, whether there is alcohol or not. There is a certain standard of professionalism that must be maintained while you are representing your company and yourself as a business person. Trust me when I say, the bosses were watching each employee and making mental notes. I saw some of the top managers actually roll their eyes a few times as the voices became louder and the language more colorful.

Whether it is the boss, a coworker or a customer, during a business function you are being judged as to your competence and dependability as business professional. Attendees at these functions are making mental notes and unconsciously or consciously determining your professional fate.

To me, the key to mixing alcohol and business is balancing self-control, common sense and moderation. Business is business and I’ve seen many times how alcohol and business don’t and shouldn’t mix. Please, share your thoughts and opinions.
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