Beware of Alcohol and the Open Bar!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … unless you are looking for a new job and are stressed out about how you are going to pay your Visa bill after the holidays. Either way, beware of alcohol and the open bar!

Holiday time is upon us. Every year we attend parties and gatherings and celebrate the season. It is a wonderful time of year.

The season comes with many parties that include the “open bar.” Every year the rookies take advantage of the open bar as if they are back in college and someone has stumbled upon a great beer special. They drink to excess while the veterans sit by and watch. It’s normally better entertainment than the band or DJ. It’s what happens later when they are pouring you into a cab, that stays with you for years to come.

An open bar is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. I don’t care for buffets. I think they encourage us to abandon self-control, over eat, and graze instead of dining.

If you don’t proceed with caution when it comes to drinking, the stories will be talked about, to your face and behind your back, for a very long time.

Many people lose their jobs due to behavior at company holiday parties. There is nothing wrong with having a sip of the spirits but excess and over-indulgence comes with a price.

Everything seems like a good idea when we have been over-served. Inappropriate comments and conversations seem to look like a great idea after a couple of cocktails. One minute you are enjoying a nice glass of wine with your boss and the next minute you are spewing all the reasons why your job stinks and dirty dancing with the receptionist. The intoxication can be a sneak attack and cause significant embarrassment in the morning.

Here is some advice on how to deal with an open bar:

  • Drink a glass of water in between each drink
  • Slide a club soda with a lime in between each drink.
  • Order a wine spritzer instead of a glass of wine. A spritzer is half soda and will not allow you to get intoxicated as quickly.
  • Stay away from shots and straight hard alcohol like martinis if it is going to be a long night.
  • If you are going to drink hard alcohol, have one and go to club soda.
  • Know your limits and ask a non-drinking friend to let you know when you have had enough. Respect their opinion when they say you’ve had enough.
  • Make sure to eat at the event. Often, we get caught up in conversations and cocktails and forget to eat. This is a big mistake.

No matter how badly you would like to have a heart to heart with your boss, don’t! It will never come out the way you would like it to, and “a drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts!” You may extend a sincere apology but the next day but your boss will remember what you said. Be the one that chooses to show some restraint and control. It will be remembered and viewed favorably in the future.

Colleen Harding is a certified etiquette and protocol instructor and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Programs and packages available for children and businesses.