When I worked in Corporate America, summertime meant a few things. Company picnics was one and manager outings was another. Both of them usually involved a discussion about serving alcoholic beverages. The decision to serve alcohol was based upon three things:
- Whether or not we had the budget for it
- Senior leaderships views on drinking
- If someone had done something stupid at the last event
Most of the time, employees were responsible and serving alcohol was not an issue. In fact, I once worked for a theme park that was owned by a beer distributor…as you can imagine, not serving the product was really not an option. But non-alcoholic beverages were available for those who didn’t drink.
I learned a very valuable lesson working for that company.
I used to go to every event and grab a beer because I thought it was important to show people I was a cool kid. There was only one little problem. I didn’t like beer. At all. So I would walk around with this beer in my hand and pretend to be enjoying it.
Then I realized I was only hurting myself. If I didn’t have the guts to say, “I’m not drinking” then how was I going to handle the co-worker who was stealing from the company? Or the executive who was harassing employees?
It made me realize a few things:
- Be yourself. If you want a drink, OK. If you don’t, that’s fine too.
- Don’t hide behind a smoke screen. The more you hide, the easier it is to create additional smoke screens for yourself. Eventually, you tend to lose yourself.
- If you feel the only way you will be accepted by the cool kids circle is to do something you don’t want to do, get some help. That might be a book, audiotape, workshop or some kind of coaching.
Just whatever you decide, do what’s best for you. And always be responsible.
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