After-work drinks could lead to no more work


When I was in academia, my department's Christmas parties were an annual festival of drinking, dancing and fun. There was the feminist theorist whose flailing elbows and knees made her a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor, the conservative lit professor who would hit the grad students up for weed, the Irish poetry guy who would pour alcohol down everybody's throat, and the linguistics specialist who hit on anything with a double X chromosome. All in all, the yearly debauch was a time to let the hair down, embarrass oneself, and store up ammo for a year's worth of gossip. In short, it was a blast.

On the other hand, all the people that I just mentioned were tenured, so was damn near impossible to fire them. The rest of us had to content ourselves with moderate drunkenness and, even in the deepest pits of our alcoholic haze, had to keep one eye on the department pecking order, being sure not to insult the wrong person or let the barbs show too much in our jokes. It was an intricate dancing game: if you didn't drink enough, you were branded boring and condescending. If you drank too much, well, let's just say that there's such a thing as being too fun.

In light of the department Bacchanalias of years past, I was very interested when I came across CareerBuilder's latest drinking survey. It sounds like my department isn't the only working group that gets down. On the other hand, it also sounds like they aren't the only ones who live to regret it.