Most of us like a drink or two after a hard day at work. But how much is too much? It’s liberating to lose your inhibitions after a stressful week, but embarrassing when you’re in the office the morning after. Don’t let one thing lead to something you might regret the pub can result in a very sobering experience.
Here’s some advice to help you keep a clear head, both down the pub and in work the next day:
Only pints should get pulled.
Acting flirty may give out the wrong signals. And never leave with anyone you don’t want to get into a sticky situation with; the aftermath can be particularly grim if you linked up with someone married or embarrassed about the liaison such as your boss.
If someone is coming on too strong, make it clear it is making you uncomfortable. Work out a code with your close work mates, so that you can signal to them for help. You may want to arrange a lift home beforehand, so you don’t have to share a cab or car ride with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
Avoid getting too happy once happy hour is over.
It’s easy to lose count of how much you’re drinking especially if someone keeps topping you up from a wine bottle. Pace yourself by declining the offer of yet another alcoholic tipple and having a soft drink instead. Try to avoid a hangover by drinking water before going to bed, drinking milk before going out or eating before you go out.
Dr Doug Wright, clinical development manager at Norwich Union Healthcare advises, “For most of us, staying in bed probably seems the best way to cope with a hangover. Sadly this may not be an option, so keeping up energy levels with regular food and fluids is the best way to get through the working day.”
It’s the next morning but are you sober?
Do you drive to work or does your job involve driving? Be careful. Young motorists are nearly twice as likely as older drivers to take the wheel while still over the legal alcohol limit from the previous evening. Alcohol can stay in the body for a surprisingly long time, with four pints of strong beer taking about 13 hours to clear the system. Abi Clark, of Green Flag, warns, “We’re not saying don’t go out and have fun but, to put it simply, if you drink, you shouldn’t drive – on the night itself and early the next day.”
Don’t be a party pooper.
In many offices you will be viewed as someone rather odd if you never ever visit the pub. Colleagues whose entire lives are caught up in the workplace may feel slighted if you don’t want to spend some of your unpaid hours with them. Force yourself down the boozer with good grace occasionally, and make up a good long-term excuse why you can’t go regularly.
Anyway, after-work drinks can be fun and make for good bonding. “You can get some good work ideas,” says psychologist Sandi Mann. Even if you don’t feel at home, remember that every group needs listeners. Simply nod and laugh at everyone’s jokes and they’ll think you’re wonderful. An hour in a pub can forge more camaraderie than a year at your desk. A study by Stirling University has even discovered that a drink with colleagues after work smoothes the path to promotion and that all-important pay rise.
You won’t further your career by avoiding the pub completely but you certainly won’t help it by being there all the time. However popular you are with drinking buddies, don’t end up being regarded as a soak by your bosses. Have fun by all means but always leave with your dignity intact.
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