Drinking for Success
As a career move have you considered drinking for success?
A survey by Stirling University showed that it is much better for your career to drink. Going down the pub after work is a definite boost to your career.
I‘m sure that most of us have gone down the boozer with our boss at some point.
It‘s a definite advantage to go down there with him. Women who have small children claim that it costs them in their careers. That’s because they are not able to go down and join the social gathering in the pub after work. I can well believe them.
It is an opportunity to talk to the boss in surroundings where he is more equal. It is an opportunity to bond with him, which isn‘t usually possible in work.
Drinking for Success – The Re-Inforcers
Having been at many of these gatherings over the years on both sides of the fence, first as a permie, then a contractor, and then the boss, I think I can recognise a lot of the characters and a lot of the techniques.
There are, firstly, the re-inforcers. They like to tell the boss that he is right in whatever he is doing. That’s especially in something more controversial that not everybody likes, e.g. a new methodology that he has put in place. Bosses can have fragile egos. They are quite susceptible to a bit of re-inforcing that what they are doing is right.
Bosses like to run with those people who are ‘for the programme‘. They will definitely look kindly on those who have bought into what they are doing.
The re-inforcers usually like to let slip the names of those who have not ‘bought into the programme‘.
Drinking for Success – The Critics
Then there are those who like to tell the boss, after a few re-inforcing drinks, of course, that what they are doing is wrong and won‘t work. These are often contractors, who have ‘seen it done better elsewhere‘.
Drinking for Success – The Boycotters
Of course there are those who would not go out to the pub with the boss for love nor money. They consider him a complete moron. He isn‘t usually enough of a moron not to be able work out that the only time these people don‘t go to the pub is when he comes along.
The Big Idea Pushers
There are also those who try to get policy changed in the pub, arguing their case about the different options.
There are those with new ideas who like to use the opportunity of the pub to sell their latest new idea to the boss. They seldom take no for an answer. They can spend half the night trying to convince an increasing sceptical and increasingly bored boss, who starts to wonder why all the ‘stiffs‘ come and talk to him when all he wants is a merry drink and a bit of repartee at the end of the busy day.
The boss keeps trying to change the subject but to no avail. He eventually pats the ‘ideas guy‘ on the shoulder and says ‘come and talk to me about it in the morning’ (hoping he won‘t). He then walks off to join some of those who appear to be having a better time. If they have been talking about him, everybody will stop talking as soon as he joins them.
There are others who like to warn the boss who is for him, and especially who is against him. An awful lot gets back to the boss – especially one who socialises after work. There is very little that goes on at work that he doesn‘t get to hear about.
Then there are the assessors, i.e. those who like to pontificate to the boss on the different abilities of those in the office. The drink helps quite a lot here.
Among those classified as not so good are those who are genuinely not so good, but also those who the assessor has run up against in the past, and also those who the assessor suspects might put in a bad word about them to the boss. It’s a sort of getting your retaliation in first type of thing.
Does it all work?
Yes it does, actually – provided you are not too obvious about it.
I did have one guy, who was sitting next to me at the Christmas Dinner one year who asked me to give him tips for his future career as he wanted to be a Chief Information Officer like me one day.
I‘d had a few glasses of wine by that time so I gave him this piece of advice – ‘Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, until you find your dream, a dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life, for as long as you live’.
To my great surprise, he obviously hadn‘t seen the movie. He thanked me for the advice, saying that he thought that it was great. Then he told me he would remember it all through his career. He even got me to repeat it slowly whilst he wrote it down.
I hope he didn‘t share this advice with others at the office the next day. He did leave soon after though.
Project Meetings on the Hill
I remember one Aussie telling me that on a project back home, the boss used to call everybody together at 4 o‘clock on a Friday afternoon, and have a meeting on a grass bank on a hill outside the building in the sun.
The boss would bring along a crate of beer and would pass them around. The project team would then have a talk about the week just behind them and what went wrong and what they did right. It was a genuine unwinding from the week, with a little bit of team bonding thrown in.
As a boss I thought that this was a good idea, but thought that the weather wouldn‘t always be good enough to do this in Nottingham.
The nearest spare piece of ground was an old churchyard, where people used to eat their sandwiches at lunchtime on a good day. I‘m not sure what the local police would have though of crowd of people appearing to be knocking back the booze on a Friday afternoon beside the gravestones.
We used to have it in the nearest pub instead at 4 o‘clock on the Friday afternoon. We had a genuine chat about the week and a wind down. Those that had small children or had to get home were able to spend an hour in the pub sipping their soft drinks, and had an opportunity to meet with their associates in the pub atmosphere.
Of course, some stayed on till later, and I was sometimes one of those.
I think that it worked fairly well.
However, there were one or two people who suggested that it was just an excuse for me to get the company to pay for a drinking session.
There are always suspicious people around in every company aren‘t there.
So, is drinking for success a good formula for you?
For more career advice as a contractor click on Contractor Career Advice.
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