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When It Comes to Drinking at Work, the Rules Are Different for Women


Need proof that the Mad Men era isn’t totally behind us? Consider Dr. Peggy Drexler’s recent (really good) advice to women at work, published in Hello, Giggles:


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“As the ‘office bar’ gains in popularity, it’s still frowned upon for women to partake in office boozing. Drinking either at or for work has different implications for women than for men,” she writes.

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Why? Because alcohol encourages the lowering of inhibitions, which makes men perceive each other as bros … and women as, well, forgive the even-more retro slang, but floozies.

This is, of course, totally unfair. But Drexler’s point isn’t that women should have to feel more vigilant than men about getting into compromising situations at work, but that the reality is that they do. In other words, it’s not right, but it’s true.

“That doesn’t mean on-the-job drinking is a disaster waiting to happen,” she says. “Many women, especially those in traditionally male-dominated industries, value the ability to use after-work socializing — even the slightly tipsy kind — to get ahead. But the act does need to be approached carefully and with certain forethought.”

It’s not that you can’t drink with the boys; it’s that you shouldn’t get drunk. The good news is that neither should they, really. Everyone likes to tell stories about the person who jumped off the party boat at the last company function and tried to swim to shore, but no one wants to deal with the insurance hassles — or promote the guy who made them do all that paperwork.

Whether you’re male or female, the best advice is to keep it moderate.

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Are there different social rules for women at your office? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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