Maybe a nightclub isn’t an ideal place to take colleagues anyway. Or maybe you’re a disciple of Jeremy Corbyn, who wouldn’t do something so sexist as drinking after work in the first place (the Labour leader recently claimed that after work drinks were discriminatory against mothers). With a Thursday or Friday night drink a current political minefield, what are the rules for getting it right?
Should I go?
There’s a fair chance that you don’t actually like drinking with colleagues, but as we’re all too aware, end of week socialising is quasi-mandatory, and an essential part of networking for career progression.
Most will go out at least once a month, but there’s always one who rejects every invitation. Eventually the offers will stop coming. It’s fair enough that some colleagues have prior commitments and undoubtedly others aren’t interested in socialising, but that lack of interest can lead to the impression that you’re not a team player. If you don’t drink, you can always suggest a different activity.
Choosing a location
For although it may come as a shock to some, drinking isn’t a necessity when it comes to after-work socialising. There are innumerable alternatives, especially in London – from the zany, like treasure hunts and wall-climbing, to something more conventional like a meal out.
For those more inclined to go out and drink, choosing your venue depends on how well acquainted with your company you are: if you’ve just started a new job, perhaps don’t suggest a strip club or a trip up the Shard – find a middle ground.
This is a tricky one. If you do end up going for drinks, are you buying rounds? If so who buys the first one? Hesitating could make you look like a scrooge, as will insisting on buying your own. As a general rule, the one who insinuated the venture should buy the first drinks, followed by his or her guests returning the favour. And besides, people tend to arrive in groups, so if you get in first you could avoid a costly second round.
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Don’t get too drunk
Downing a pint might be funny in front of your friends, but your boss might not feel the same way. Pace yourself to stay safe. It’s also probably best not to be the one who turns up with a tray of Jäger Bombs. Not the first time anyway. It depends on the tone of the night – is everyone staying out late? Or will you be the one who wants to keep partying when everyone else has home on the mind?
It’s 10pm: everyone is relaxed enough to unshackle the chains of work. With lowered inhibitions and devoid of anything else to talk about, you’ll learn a lot about your colleagues’ personal lives. This can be useful, but don’t be overfamiliar. Waking up to Facebook friend requests from colleagues should be avoided. Your work and home life should be akin to church and state – try to keep them separate.
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Tales of the night
A good night out always ends up as a story to be told again. With friends it doesn’t matter so much, but with colleagues there’s a thin line to tread: step carefully and your night will be a tale for the ages. But stumble drunkenly to the other side and the story will be tragicomic, with you the protagonist. Just remember you have to go back to work on Monday, sober.