I was surfing the web after work a few weeks ago when I came across an interesting article written by Matthew Yglesias for Slate. The article, titled “The Case for Getting Drunk at Work” immediately grabbed my attention. With a name like that, I couldn’t sit there and not read it. It’s just so attractive. The prospect of being drunk at work seems so great, I figured it’d be an interesting read. Then it got me thinking, is getting drunk at work even that great?
At first thought, my initial reaction was a resounding, “Fuck yes it is.” Think about it. Your boss, supervisors, and coworkers are all doing whatever the hell it is they do, and meanwhile, you’re just sitting there rocking a buzz. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
In some ways, I’m sure getting drunk and being drunk at work would be awesome. Just look at a show like Mad Men. Those guys are awesome. They drink all day, wear expensive suits, hook up with their secretaries, then go home to their even hotter wives. Then I realized something. I don’t wear expensive suits, I don’t have hot secretaries, and I sure as shit don’t have a hot wife, or a wife at all, for that matter. Also, those guys’ lives are seriously fucked in half. Would you take the hefty pay of a Madison Ave. man just to go put up with the absolutely wrecked home life of Pete Campbell or Don Draper?
The way I look at it, being drunk at work is awesome, in theory. When you really think about it, it would likely be pretty horrible. I remember being drunk in class in college, which was generally a good time. In the warmer months, I’d drink for a few hours, roll over to campus for a quick fifty minute class on whatever BS my useless major had me learning that day, get through that, then go downtown to continue drinking.
One day, I got drunk before a particularly long class. It was actually a master’s course that I was enrolled in, because again, my major was useless. Going to this class drunk was a horrible idea. A fifty minute class on the U.S. Congress is bearable while drunk, but a four-hour class on environmental regulatory policy is fucking awful. The class sucked when I was sober, so I thought being drunk would make it better. I was wrong.
The monotonous voice of the professor combined with the incredibly boring subject matter made sitting there for hours on end pure torture. Thankfully, if I got up and left, I wouldn’t be in too much trouble. The professor might have some words with me next session, but I’d be allowed back. It probably doesn’t work that way at the office.
All that being said, my current job does not allow me to be drunk at work. There are numerous regulations regarding when I can drink and severe consequences associated with even having alcohol in my blood while on the job. For those of you in more normal workplaces, I’m sure you can still relate. Do you think your boss would be pleased if he found out you were shit-housed on the job? That could land you a one-way ticket back to el casa de su madre y padre.
Now, if you’re not a doctor, engineer, or pilot, you might not be able to pull off being drunk at work. If your job puts people’s lives in your hands, sobriety is likely a prerequisite to employment. Depending on what you do and the atmosphere in your workplace, having a few at lunch may even make the day go by quicker. Honestly, it could even make you better at your job. As long as you’re not hammered, I feel that a couple drinks might actually benefit those who work in creative and social industries, like sales and advertising. The key would be maximizing your buzz that lasts for a couple of hours, while avoiding coming off as drunk and a debilitating crash, AKA “beer tired.”
Overall, I have to say that I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to lay off the sauce while you’re on the clock, no matter what it is you do. It’s not as bad as being hungover at work, but it still isn’t something you should do regularly if you do it at all. My advice is to wait until you punch out before you start tossing them back. Honestly, after a full day of work and the bullshit that comes with it, I think that tends to be what’s on all of our minds.