“I didn’t know you smoked” is code for “I can’t wait to tell the whole fucking office you smoke.” Roger, the 45-year-old confirmed smoker is intentionally trying to ruin your career advancement, as he invites you to light one up with him on company time. It’s his only power move. He’s good–like a lion in the Serengeti good. He looms in the shadows of new hires, looking for signs of weakness, anxiety, or the smell of fear. His invite seems innocuous enough: “Hey you look like you could use a break. You want to slip outside for some fresh air”? He flashes a pack of Marlboros as your college mind thinks, fuck yeah, I’m down to crank a Marby! However, your inexperience may cloud your mature mind’s ability to forbid you from accepting this creep’s invite. And that, my friend, is why I am here.
This isn’t the ’70s and we don’t live in a sitcom world, so under no circumstances is there a reason to ever allow a fellow coworker to see you with a cigarette. Smoking is the child porn of the professional realm. What was romanticized in the ’60s workforce (cigarettes, cocktails, etc–thanks, “Mad Men”) is now in similar company with those unfortunates who have alarming political yard signs in their front yards.
My advice is to reevaluate your whole smoking habit. Hopefully your parents’ inheritance goes beyond that of a fiscal nature, and you have a strong constitution to ward off vice addiction. No dip shit, nobody’s constitution is heroin strong. If not, and if you’re a smoking addict, you and Roger are going to become close friends.
But listen, being a non-smoker gives you 10 promotion points above all office smokers. You better fucking believe me–I don’t give two shits about HR policy. You can get additional bonus points for drinking with the boss while listening to his miserable life story. It doesn’t make sense, but I didn’t invent the game. Basically, just quit smoking publicly.
When you quit, your smoking paradigms shift. Moderation is your mantra. I am talking about cigarettes–nobody said anything about booze. Boozing is the only thing that will make your miserable existence worthwhile. Booze ’til your liver screams, publicly and privately.
Here is the uptick in this further loss of personal autonomy: you’re going to enjoy the hell out of the limited amount of cigarettes you do smoke. It will be one of the few things you look forward to in the evening. The first drag off a Marlboro after your first sip of bourbon is pure heaven. I mean, the only thing that could top such anticipation is playing just the tip with Miley Cyrus–don’t act like you wouldn’t, you fucking degenerate.
To wrap things up, just say, “No thank you Roger, I don’t smoke and you should probably think about quitting. Those things are terrible for your health.” With any luck at all, somebody worth overhearing your interaction with Rog will take note and realize you’re a real company player.