Drinking with Coworkers: 25 Rules On How To Navigate The Employment Rivers

There comes a time in every professional twenty-something’s career when they, without a shade of doubt, will receive the opportunity to drink with their coworkers.

This often inspires immediate excitement, and for good reason. Free, quality alcohol? Consumed during hours which I am technically supposed to be working? I.e. I’m kind of getting paid to be a good-for-nothing that knocks a few back at three in the afternoon? Count me the ‘eff in. I love being an employed human being. 

This prospect should, however, also inspire intense fear. A more seasoned employee knows this to be true. Why? Because your literal job and livelihood are on the line when you drink with coworkers. Maybe you’re lucky in life and your team is full of non-judging, top-notch human citizens of the working world. More often than not, though, your coworkers are eager and ready and waiting to judge your drinking antics. We’ve all done it. It’s so much more enjoyable to be on the judging side than it is to be on the side of the humiliated. For this reason, I’ve compiled a list of key notes that will help the strong survive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Here we go. 

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What to Do While Drinking with Coworkers

— Isabella Welch
  1. Don’t.

  2. But if you must…

  3. Count how many drinks your supervisor is having and then drink a fraction of what they do. 

  4. If your supervisor isn’t drinking, go home. Seriously. Go home. 

  5. Follow this rule of thumb: “I could have one more,” is a great place to stop.

  6. And, “I shouldn’t have had that last one,” is a terrible place to finish. 

  7. If you go to wine country, someone is going to throw up in the car. Now listen one more time, someone is going to throw up in the car. It’s like a sacrament, or a sacrifice. It has to happen. Or else, the grapes won’t grow, the cab won’t be full bodied. Just let it happen. And bring protective clothing. 

  8. Don’t allow yourself to become The Helper. If a coworker starts dropping, abandon ship. Honey, it’s every man for himself and you do not want to be holding Jen from HR’s hair as she yarfs all those French 75’s she downed into a foul-smelling toilet. 

  9. Maybe just completely avoid Jen from HR. 

  10. Do NOT talk to the software engineer wearing a vest. 

  11. Or the financial analyst (also wearing a vest). 

  12. If you have to, talk to the hardware engineer wearing a vest. (They’re better with their hands.)

  13. Maybe you’ve got a cool boss. A boss that sees you tipping them back and still says, drink! A boss that says, you go sing that karaoke song in front of our investors! Don’t listen. Remove yourself. Drinking around your company’s investors is akin to profusely bleeding out around a great white shark. It will not end well for you. It just won’t. 

  14. Maybe you ARE the boss? If so…

  15. It’s worse for you. Much worse. 

  16. Have one glass of wine or one single beer and nurse it like it’s going out of style. It’s bad for the intern to be drunk, but at least they’ve got an excuse. You’ve got none; go home and drink with your fabulous friends, far away from your petty underlings!

  17. Stick to one type of alcohol. This is not an “Around the World” themed fraternity party. Pick one and stick with it. Unless it’s tequila. No good night starts with tequila (though some of the best nights tend to end with it).

  18. Don’t go to the after party. 

  19. Seriously don’t. 

  20. Go home before the after party. On Monday, everyone will say “we missed you at the after party!” And you’ll be like, yeah I bet you did. I was at home, asleep. Dreaming the sweet dreams of those who didn’t act like a damn fool at the after party.

  21. But if you do go to the after party…

  22. Hide your drinks behind napkin holders and on pool tables and in bathrooms so people think you’re still raging, when in fact you are pumping those brakes hard. 

  23. Stop drinking entirely.

  24. Don’t split an Uber home with the software engineer or the financial analyst or the hardware engineer wearing a vest. 

  25. If the night ends with you eating CBD cookies with the finance team in a penthouse apartment, honey you either went too far or just far enough. That situation swings both ways. We’ll all collectively hope you still have a job come Monday. 

// Have more bullet points for this list? How do you navigate the coworking drinking floor? Send us an email here. Illustration by Supriya Bhonsle.

Drinking with Coworkers: 25 Rules On How To Navigate The Employment Rivers
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