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Enhance Your Career By Consuming Alcohol (With a Giveaway!)

This article was written by in Career and Work, Giveaways, People. 20 comments.


Beer TapsI linked to this article, but I wanted to focus on it when I had a chance. That chance is now. An article from Inc.com, a resource for entrepreneurs, says that drinking alcohol can help your career. Sounds too good to be true? Here’s how.

Regular drinkers make 10% to 14% more money than those who do not drink, according to the study… The study also concluded that men who drink socially — defined as visiting a bar at least once a month — earn an additional 7% more than those who do not.

Socialization and networking are the reasons why these data appear, not specifically due to the alcohol itself. Business often takes place outside the office. In a small company, socializing with the CEO is a good way to relax the constraints in the office that stop people from acting naturally. The atmosphere, and perhaps the alcohol, can help to break down a social wall.

At SmartPak, [a small company,] managers are encouraged to take their employees horseback riding, bowling, or out for the occasional happy hour.

Here’s a question for discussion: Is this unfair to non-drinkers? Also, does your company encourage socialization at locations where alcohol could be involved implicitly, explicitly, or not at all? How big is your company? Share some stories.

One commenter will be selected to receive a book unrelated to alcohol but related to investing and personal finance, The Big Money: Seven Steps to Picking Great Stocks and Finding Financial Security, by Fred Kobrick and Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior, by A.J. Frost (both hardcovers).

Published or updated October 5, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Accumulating Money

I think these types of statistics are pretty silly. As you mention, the act of drinking alcohol will not enhance your career or increase your pay. It’s the other things involved so the correlation is just wrong.

I could just as easily say that if you want to make a lot more money, buy a yacht, because studies say that yacht owners make a lot more money than non yacht owners.

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avatar udandi

In my experience, not every non-drinker is uncomfortable attending the office happy hours or parties where liquor is available. Some are social while drinking a coke, not a rum and coke!

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,535 (Platinum)

AM: It doesn’t make the correlation wrong, but there is no cause-effect relationship. In general, those who live in Connecticut are wealther than those who live in West Virginia, but you’re not going to get richer by moving to Connecticut. You’ll get richer by doing those things those who live in Connecticut do (if the same resources are available).

It’s the socilization and networking that’s important, and alcohol can help to smooth things over and create interpersonal bonds. I’m not saying drinking is a good thing, but going out with your boss once in a while, and being interested in what your boss is interested in (even if it’s alcohol) can be beneficial to your career.

Anyone with any stories? I want to hear about deals made during happy hour… or people who made fools of themselves…

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avatar 2million

The real value in my mind is the network. The old buddy club in large corporations is so valuable to getting things done. I have been out drinking with bosses and bosses’ bosses developing my network. It works, but its not the only way to get it done.

I go out to lunch, or play golf, or take business trips with other people. Anything that gets you outside the office and makes you more connected in some way has a similar effect. However drinking is a very common thing that allows us to loosen up and get connected pretty quickly – here’s to beer!

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avatar ib

i guess my career progress is dead then…..
now i understand why.

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avatar ChrisCPA

I think these stats make perfect sense. Not only is light drinking good for your health, but good for your career!

Two beers a day keeps the doctor away & increases your pay…

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avatar Anonymous Man

I think it IS the alcohol, at least where I work. The only people who get raises and promotions are the ones who come to work too heavily sedated to realize just how much of idiots their bosses are!

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avatar Madame X

Yes, I think the social component is key! If they surveyed those who get drunk at home by themselves every night, I suspect their earnings would be lower!
I think Udandi is right that you can show up and participate without drinking alcohol, but there can sometimes be pressure to get drunk. I used to work with a group of guys who didn’t really trust me until I started going out drinking with them, and there was a lot of prodding to have another round, or for everybody to do shots. It was all in a friendly spirit but it could be hard to try to keep your own drinking limited in that kind of atmosphere.

I think it’s natural for people to want to have this kind of social activity but I’m sure it does sometimes exclude people– if someone was a recovering alcoholic, they might have a hard time. Smoking is a similar thing– if you don’t hang out with the smokers you miss a lot of gossip, but most people won’t willingly stand outside and breath second hand smoke just to keep up with their coworkers.

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avatar Mike

Your value to your employer usually involves, to a high degree, communication skills, and more importantly, their confidence and comfort with you as a resource. If you have a few drinks with someone, you get a different perspective on them, and you may become more comfortable that you know their strengths and weeknesses. This in turn will allow them to feel comfortable more fully utilizing your skills. Thus you are more valuable to the employer. I think it is actually valid that if you participate in a social activity like going to happy hour, you could become more valuable in that way, so I don’t think this fact is unfair. (BTW, please send me the “Big Money” book.

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avatar Doobie

You had me at “alcohol” and “giveaway”, but lost me at “Elliot Wave”. Unless, of course, that’s one of them new fancy Zima-like beers. Actually, that would lose me too. Pass.

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avatar Sparky

I agree that there is definitely a social aspect to the drinking. At my job, the boss gets drunker than anyone and probably is too wasted to notice who is drinking and who isn’t.

However, nothing in the article talks about the fact that those in higher stress jobs are also likely to be paid more. Lawyers for instance, are paid a ridiculous amound of money and are also one of the most heavily alcoholic professions. So do you get paid more because you drink or do you drink because you get paid more? Let me know because I’ll trade a bit of liver for some cash.

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avatar Jonathan

A Prost to seeing your boss drunk!

Actually, I’ve never seen my boss drunk. I don’t think he ever drank. But I have bonded with coworkers over alchohol. I’ve also seen my coworkers drunk, and they’ve seen me as well. Does that count? No deals were made, except maybe ‘let’s not tell others about this’

(No need to book me, I have both already too)

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avatar Jon K

My company has a very liberal policy about drinking. In fact, I just came home from a company sponsored happy hour. We are a small company (53 FTE) and mostly hire employees straight out of college, so the average age is quite young. Not to say younger people drink more, but I think young, just out of college, mostly single people with no kids are able to drink/socialize with fewer qualms about rushing home from work.

Tomorrow afternoon we are preparing for our annual user conference. This entails pretty mundane things- mostly preparing goody bags for the attendees- but the boss already told us he would supply the drinks.

The company maintains a general policy as follows: Drinking in the office is okay only after 5 or on special events like tailgate parties (yeah, we have those too). When with clients, we should limit ourselves to 1-2 drinks.

Is this unfair to non-drinkers? Well, I live in the South, home to devout Southern Baptists who think liquor is the devil’s elixir. But you know what, to each his own. We also have a Bible study group that gets together some mornings and for an occasional lunch. The company allows them to use the office conference room for their gathering. Again, to each his own.

To be honest, as one of the old-timers at my company (and I’ve only been with them 3 1/2 years- we’re just over the “start up” hump), I look at this as a good retention tool in a fast paced company. I mean, how many other companies generally have bottles of beer in the refrigerator?

Anything that contributes to “good times”, as long as it’s done in moderation, should lead to higher incomes. The simple truth is, people want to do business with people they trust, people they can relate to, and people they are comfortable around. Building these profitable relationships tends to work better with alcohol than soda.

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avatar Chris

Every company event that I have been a part of, alchohol has been an integral part. Actually, I would estimate that 90% of these events take place in a bar. It is the culture of the company (a profesional services firm), go out and drink, entertain clients.

I, however, do not drink. Not exactly by my own choice, but that is another story for another day. Nevertheless, this article shows a correlation between people drinking and higher pay. But I believe that the same correlation would be found even if alchohol was taken out of the picture. Most of this social drinking lets you get to know your co-workers and boss better and, lets face it, that is going to help your career.

So is it unfair? I don’t think that it is, becuase I don’t look at the study to show that drinking is correlated to higher pay. I look at the study to show that good networking is correlated to higher pay.

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avatar thatedeguy

I think that all that stats like that show is that most bosses like a kiss ass. That and crony-ism is alive and well. Friends are more likely to promote friends or at least drag them up the ladder with them.

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avatar Brent

Yeah…I’ve worked for some companies that are pretty well fueled by alcohol. It’s sad but true, and the boys club routine will always be there. It was in the sandbox in day-care and it will be when we’re in the old folks home too.

Now lets discuss the family lives of those drinkers who are at the top of the corporate ladders……I’ll stick to a solid family life, and reasonable income, and a few glasses of wine a week.

“I used to rock & roll and party every day, then it was every other day……now I’m lucky if I can find 15 minutes a week in which to funky” HOMER SIMPSON

Brent

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avatar Pete

In today’s society, the 9-5 work schedule is getting busier and busier and to get your boss’s attention networking outside of work is necessary. Who gets promoted is not necessarily the person that does the best work. It is the person who shows above average work and is well known by the boss (someone they know that they can trust). If networking is done over a drink, so be it. Yet, it can also be over lunch at McDonalds. It does not matter as long as you find a place where you get your bosses undivided attention. Because if you try to talk at work, there is bound to be a distruption. Then only time where I got my bosses attention at work was in a performance review where he had to hide in a conference room so he would not get a call (which happened anyways).

As for nondrinkers, I found that there was respect in their decision not to drink. And, it is up to them to decide not to go to a bar or to go and order a coke or water. Yet, if they decide not to go out after work, they shoud find other ways to network.

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avatar Emily

I’ve never been to an event sponsored by my current company that had alcohol present. But I work with a lot of older people.

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avatar Sam

Sounds like as good excuse as any to go out and drink! I like it I can now tell my wife well I can earn 10% more potentially by going out and drinking. I wonder if this stistic includes the amount spent on drinks or not?

I would guess as stated above it is more the social/networking aspect in effect. So going out drinking could be going out and having a soda with other people who might or might not be drinking since the social networking is the same.

The other interesting thing to note here is how much drinking influnces business decisions in other parts of the world. For example in Japan you probably don’t have a deal even though it was closed and signed if it was all done in the office. It take a little drinking to really seal a deal often.

Good read

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avatar Brian P

@JonK

Man, I am glad I am not your company’s attorney! The liability issues with boss providing booze, let alone allowing drinking on the premises, are scary…. but it might make for a more pleasant work experience.

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