Last Friday afternoon, I fired off a Snap to the small group of guys who make up my group text which prominently displayed a Facebook photo of an old high school classmate. Other than the fact that I was too lazy to to pull up the same image on my phone, screenshot, and then send the image with whatever dickhead remark I followed up with, there was nothing noteworthy about this act. I waited for a response. I knew that I had just provided classic mid-afternoon comedy, and the least they could do was acknowledge it. Five minutes went by. Nothing. Ten minutes. Crickets. Finally, after I questioned myself, my family, and the merits of my humor, I received a response.
Nice beer. Must be nice.
“The hell does that mean?” I thought. Then, out of the corner of my right eye, I noticed the can of Natural Light sitting next to my laptop in a position that probably made people think it was purposely placed there. Naturally, the group text response accused me of doing just that, and for the next eight minutes I sat helplessly in the frying pan. It wasn’t even my beer can. An unknown coworker had commandeered my desk the day prior while I worked remotely from the comfort of my overpriced Austin apartment. I took my beating like a man, but afterward, I couldn’t help but wonder when the last time I actually had a beer at work was. Then I got a little deeper. I wondered when the last time I actually wanted to drink a beer at work was.
Probably never. Because drinking at work is wildly overrated.
It felt good to type that. It’s something I’ve secretly thought for years but never had the nards to mention. I was “lucky” enough to work for a company immediately out of college (pre-law school when I was still capable of feeling emotions) that would allow employees to crack a cold one after 3 p.m. every Friday. You know, let the team blow off some steam after grinding through another week. A real “work hard, play hard” environment. Thank God Snapchat wasn’t around in ’08, or I definitely would’ve been the guy Snap-bragging every Friday as he sipped a Dos Equis while his feet were propped up on the desk. It’s always Dos Equis. What a hypothetical asshole I was.
With all due respect to the real alcoholics who really could use a drink at work, the majority of us have nothing to gain from a work beer. Your office is not an acceptable place to pre-game. Realistically, you’re only going to have two beers; three at the most depending on how on-point your HR Department is. Where does that leave you? If it’s Friday afternoon and you’ve got two beers in your system, do you really want to go fuck around with Friday traffic? Nah, you don’t. That sounds awful. That is awful. I’ve been there, man. You think you’re having a great time while yucking it up with the boys in Tim’s office, and then an hour later you’re tired and bloated unlocking the door to your apartment debating whether or not you need a shower because of the back sweat you accumulated during the commute.
Look around. Are these the people you want to drink with, or are they the people you occasionally tolerate drinking with because you don’t want to be a dick? That dude who’s always the first one to grab a Dos Equis (it’s always Dos Equis) from the office fridge and comment about the lack of limes probably isn’t that cool. Nice guy? Sure he is, but you and him are in two different places. You should never be the guy audibly excited about drinking in the office. Act like you’ve been there before. Is this your first beer? Probably not, but when I see you stand up and yell “beer time” like you’re Steve Stifler, I have to wonder.
Obviously, there are exceptions. Closers close, and closing deserves to be celebrated. The same goes for promotions, but is it really a celebration if it takes place within the confines of your office? I guess it depends on the office. If you’re downtown brushing shoulders with power players, then it’s a completely different vibe. Standing outside of the Bank of America building with your tie undone and Woodford on your breath while you wait for an Uber seems like a situation we can all get down with, but many of us aren’t there.
This is just one reporter’s opinion, but I urge all of you to use caution the next time you find yourself in this situation. Before you know it, the line between the office and your social life will be completely blurred. Coworker texts on Saturday morning. Cookouts in the suburbs. Introducing your real friends to your office friends. Then you’re trapped. Drink responsibly..