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The Effect Of Alcohol On Careers

Alcohol quote from thomas Becon

It strikes me as strange that I am writing a blog entry with such a title.

I am quite partial to a nice bottle of wine.

I enjoy my single malt collection upon occasion.

I have been known to have a beer to go along with a barbeque on a hot Summer evening, or after a game of soccer.

I’m a social person, and a glass in hand with good company is definitely on my list of things I enjoy.

Having said that, I lost a brother to alcoholism when he was 46 years old.

My wife and I have a foundation that supports an addiction centre and I have been fortunate enough to spend some time talking to people who had been through that program, and were trying to put their lives back together.

I heard the story of the high flying sales executive in the high tech world who let drink affect his life.  The company did not make it and nor did his marriage, he ended up on the street homeless and in need of help.

High flying careers seem to attract drink.  Liquid lunches used to be very normal, multiple drinks after work is still common.  You see them in bars everywhere, smart bright-eyed young executives on the rise with access to expense accounts and having fun.  It is very alluring, and if you keep it in perspective it can be fun.

The problems come when the alcohol becomes a habit, or worse an addiction.

The young, bright-eyed executive gets to be not so young any more.

The weight gain is steady and as the bloom of youth disappears the skin ages, the eyes become not so bright and the slurred jokes become less funny.

What might have been acceptable in the “Mad Men” era is no longer acceptable.  Societal norms have changed … we no longer tolerate discrimination, smoking in the office or excessive drinking.

“The first thing in the human personality that dissolves in alcohol is dignity.”  Anon

We do not want our companies to be represented by people that are less than professional.

We want conversations with our clients, stakeholders and employees to be intelligent, not slowed by excessive alcohol.

Every year I take a 4 week period (at a minimum) where I will abstain from alcohol completely.  It is my way of ensuring that it is not becoming too important in my life, and that I can go without alcohol, on demand.

When I talk to our new staff before company events I will tell them that there will be alcohol, and that if they want to drink that is fine.  However, they are company events, and so they should act accordingly.  They should not make a fool of themselves and they should be ready to work and contribute the next morning, not hung-over and moving slowly.

Some companies have a no alcohol policy and I can understand that.  Our culture is a fun culture, but a professional one, that says its OK to have a few drinks just don’t go nuts.

Alcohol ruins lives.  On a smaller scale it ruins careers.  Don’t let the “fun factor” of a few drinks get away from you and affect your life negatively.

“Wine makes a man better pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.”  Samual Johnson