Unhappy Hour

By Robert Goldman

May 30, 2019 5 min read

The famous business consultant Alexander, Lord Tennyson said it best: "In the spring a young manager's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of happy hours."

It's true! Seeing the weather warm up and the direct reports freeze up, even the dimmest bulb of a manager realizes that their loyal team wants to frolic like butterflies and, while they're frolicking, drink like fish.

Welcome to happy hour.

Hanging out with your co-workers in a lovely garden or a grimy dive bar is a great way to spend an afternoon, especially when your manager is the one picking up the tab. But as wonderful as free mochatinis can be, danger lurks.

No one knows the risks better than Megan Broussard, whose recent posting on The Muse website schooled me on the "5 Situations to Avoid at Office Happy Hour."

How can you avoid making an afternoon of team building result in a walk of shame the next morning?

No. 1 on the list is avoiding "The Gossiping Gabbys."

The Gabbys have dirt on everyone in the office. You'd like to be part of what appears to be the office in crowd, and you're certainly ready, willing and able to throw shade on your co-workers. So, what's the problem?

The problem is that the Gabbys have worked side by side for years and spend most of their time together gabbing about the strange weirdo in the office. In case you can't identify the strange weirdo, it's you.

When you do find yourself in the company of the company's hardest-working gossips, "it doesn't mean you have to be rude or make some dramatic, self-righteous exit — just politely excuse yourself to the ladies' room ... " Broussard writes.

This is an excellent solution, unless you're a man. On the other hand, when news spreads about your decision to burst into the ladies' room, the entire office will have something new about you to gossip about. And they'll forget all the other weird stuff you've done.

Another situation you want to avoid is a "One-on-One with the Office Flirt."

Broussard is right to advise you to just say no to this "cute, charismatic, funny, and suave" individual "as soon as he tries to pull you into personal convo."

She also recommends that you watch out if the flirt is "dating that redhead on the 14th floor." This is especially true if your building doesn't have 14 floors since in that case, the flirt is cute, charismatic, funny, suave and a Martian.

Since even the unhappiest happy hours include drinking, you are advised to remember that "alcohol is a depressant." This depressing newsflash is intended to not only warn you against crying into your beer but also to avoid the sad stories of others at the party, especially your manager.

Having a manager open up to you rarely ends well.

"I know it may seem a little harsh not to provide a listening ear," Broussard writes, "but trust me, if you're on the receiving end of divorce drama, your over-sharer will likely distance herself from you back in the office tomorrow out of utter embarrassment."

Or, your over-sharer could be grateful to you for pointing out that blaming their spouse for marital problems makes no sense, as it is obvious to everyone that your neurotic, obsessive manager has to be the cause of the trouble, just like they are at work.

(Should this gambit not work well, excuse yourself to the ladies' room. Again.)

"Cheers with the Interns" is a definite no-no — even though yelling for shots may be designed to impress co-workers who don't realize that you "may only be a few years older than some of them, or you may want to be seen as the cool boss."

This advice not only applies to drinking with interns but "also to any junior staff working under you." Since the only staff who work under you are the cockroaches living under the break room fridge, feel free to yell for as many shots as the boss will pay for. Eventually, you'll be on the floor and the person working under everyone will be you.

The final situation to avoid is "College Humor." While your rowdy exploits at other happy hours may be legendary, "they're better left with those who witnessed them first-hand."

Brossard is correct when she says, "The name Wet Pants Pam you acquired after taking a dare to dive off the roof is not exactly how you want to be remembered in the office."

My only question — how did she know you're Wet Pants Pam?

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at creators.com.

Photo credit: sharonang at Pixabay

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