Just in time for this Sunday’s season premiere of Mad Men, the New York Post has an article which celebrates that most professional of traditions—office drinking. The Post notes that “the office cocktail is alive and well in New York’s tech and marketing industries” and reports on one woman who mixes a drink for her co-workers that consists of rye, an orange slice, and “spoonfuls of powdered sugar,” which sounds like the worst Old Fashioned ever. “Spoonfuls of powdered sugar”? That couldn’t be more wrong.
Anyway, the Post reports that “drinking in the office isn’t just good for employee morale—it also might boost the bottom line” and references a study done by “researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago [who] found that slightly intoxicated participants were better and faster at creative problem-solving tasks compared to their sober counterparts.” So, what’s the problem then? If drinking boosts both office camaraderie and productivity, how can there possibly be any downside? Well, over on The Atlantic Wire, Jen Doll offers a counterpoint to the idea that imbibing at work is a foolproof plan to achieve professional glory. In fact, Doll thinks that “drinking in the office sort of sucks” and that it leads to things like “in-office hangovers” and that it’s actually a trick devised to get you to stay at work longer, thus robbing you of a chance to “head off into the quivering moonlight to meet some friends down the block,” which is a thing some people do. Let’s pause for a moment to think about the words “quivering moonlight” before continuing. Done? Ok, then.
Doll does have a point. Drinking in the office is not all fun and games. Just like drinking in real life is not necessarily all fun and games, although most of the time it is. But as someone who works in a somewhat non-traditional workplace, where drinking occasionally (frequently) occurs, I think it’s worthwhile to consider both sides of the drinking in the office coin. The most important thing to remember, in all of this, is that you never want to be your office’s Roger Sterling. I mean, is Roger Sterling charming and fun? Sometimes! But he also renders himself obsolete by only drinking and never actually working. And so, he is therefore the saddest character by far, worse even than Pete Campbell. Because one day, Roger will disappear and no one will even notice, except that everything at the office will suddenly be more efficient and productive. Plus, there’ll be more bourbon for everyone else, because he won’t be keeping it all for himself. Anyway, here are the pros and cons of office drinking.