Cocktails with Colleagues: A Survival Guide

Happy Monday, ladies!

Most people in Washington, D.C. spent the past week gearing up for today’s presidential inauguration and all its associated activities. While I refuse to attend the ceremony with 800,000 strangers and their flu-infested germs, I did attend an awesome, private inaugural party this weekend.

Hosted by a well-known entertainment group, invitations went out to many of the “who’s who” in D.C., so naturally, I was invited. Sike! My boss had extra tickets and a few of my coworkers and I decided it would be fun to go out together…. See where I’m going with all of this?

While no one got out of hand this time, that’s not always the case. I’m not going to be a prude and tell you not to drink when you’re around your colleagues and superiors. Trust me, this girl enjoys a tall glass of wine. I’m simply going to remind you that while it’s OK to have a drink or two at a company happy hour, it’s not OK to stumble out of the bar after you’ve just told your boss he smells like cigarettes and ranch dressing.

Us career girls need to keep it classy. In the past year and a half of attending company happy hours, business dinners and even Las Vegas with my boss for a work trip, I’ve noticed some ladies act a little less than refined after a few cocktails. (You’re lucky I’m not going to share with you a story I’ve cleverly titled, “The Girl Who Slipped and Fell On The Floor, Giving Everyone Full View of Her Underbritches” – Yep, that happened, all before 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.)

So how do we avoid panty-flashing?

  1. Order a glass of water in between drinks.
  2. Be sure to eat – if you’re at happy hour, order a small app.
  3. Order drinks that are lower in alcohol content.
  4. Stand if you have that option, sitting may make you feel too comfortable.
  5. Set a limit to the amount of drinks you’ll order before you arrive.

Always have an excuse in your back pocket. If you feel like you’ve gotten a little too tipsy, I’ve found it’s best to politely say, “My roommate is locked out and I need to head home,” or even, “It’s my cat’s birthday so I can’t stay.” Whatever the excuse, looking like a girl who is weirdly obsessed with her cats is better than trying to avoid eye contact with everyone at work the next day.

And always, you don’t have to drink. Don’t feel pressured. Have as many waters with lemon your little heart desires!

Do you have any tricks to avoid over-indulging in a work-related setting?

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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