Hey Advicesister Alison: I drank too much at my office party. I thought I was just having fun, but I guess I made a spectacle of myself. Some of my co-workers put it all over social media. I’m not the only one who got wild and crazy, but I am young and hope to move up the ladder. Also, the mean comments on “social” are devastating me. I’m worried about my reputation and my job. Is there any way to fix this?
Alison Answers: Every year I answer this same question from someone freaking out about drinking and losing control at the office party. This is the 2021 version. If it’s any comfort, you are definitely not alone. Hopefully, you’ve learned your lesson. Let me give you some advice to help you through this.
First, don’t panic. Think things through (which you obviously didn’t do last night). You’ve already mentioned that you weren’t the only one. That doesn’t excuse your behavior. But unless you stripped down to your underwear and pranced around with a lampshade on your head (hopefully, you didn’t) many of your colleagues probably were having “fun” too and don’t remember what they did last night either.
I’ll get to the social media issue further down this Q&A.
It’s Not Really A Party:
Office parties are work functions and they’re not parties at all, really. The office party is a command performance. Next time remember that you are still on the job and on view. This goes for conventions and events, and any venue where you’re representing your company.
Worse For Women:
A man might get a bit tipsy and out of control, but he’s a guy so most people think he is just letting off steam. However, there is still a double standard for women. If you are young and hoping to move up the career ladder, you can’t lose control. The key is to stay in control while appearing to have a fabulous time, therefore…
…Don’t Drink If You Can’t Handle It:
My advice is not to drink at all if you can’t stop at just one. You already know if this applies to you. If it does, one drink becomes several, and then bad things happen.
Remember that you are at a work function. But the same rule applies to any social situation. If you can handle alcohol well, still have something you have to sip and not guzzle. I normally order a scotch or bourbon. These are stiff drinks that you can’t wolf down like a pina colada.
Better yet, just order tonic water with lime or lemon (looks like vodka). Or ask for cranberry juice or coke which could possibly contain alcohol (you get the idea).
There are times when someone is going to insist on getting you a drink. Mostly you can refuse by saying “I’m on medication (or the Paleo diet).” Who would argue?!
The 50/50 Strategy:
Another strategy is to tip the bartender and tell him or her to give you only half of what they’d normally pour in your drinks. Then drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol you consume.
None of this might seem as much fun as getting wild and crazy, but again, it’s a business function. And, if everyone else is getting sloppy, it’s actually a bonus to see just how stupid your co-workers look when they’re acting like lunatics.
Seriously, Social Media:
In this era of “selfies” and social media, we often attribute way too much importance to ourselves. If someone films you without your permission, they are being insensitive jerks. But as far as I know, if it’s a public or office function and being used on personal social media, it’s not illegal to so do. Face it, if there are photos or videos of you in a compromising position the camera doesn’t lie. You put yourself there.
If the people posting your likeness on social media weren’t really trying to be malicious, they should remove the post if you ask nicely. Your co-workers don’t want you to lose your job (I’m assuming: and that’s an entirely different Q&A). As far as the nasty comments, only true losers waste time saying mean things about someone who obviously is not “all there” at the moment.
I agree that it’s tempting, but don’t react to the comments or engage anyone making them. Take a tip from celebrities, many of whom just don’t read comments about themselves at all. Remember the old saying: “sticks and stones might break my bones but words can never hurt me.”
If you are mostly worried that the social media posts could be really damaging to you, work it out as best you can with the posters or take it to another level. I’m not a lawyer and can’t advise.
But otherwise, don’t say anything to call more attention to yourself.
However, if someone brings up your wild and crazy act (the office meddler will do it just to see your reaction), just say “it was a great party, wasn’t it? Then shut up and go back to work.
That’s what all of you are at the office for now that the party is over.
Has this ever happened to you? What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Like, Comment, and Share the post.