Fashion is nothing if you don't know how to behave yourself. You know the old saying, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. Well, you can put a jackass in Armani, and it's still a jackass. This week, I am writing about how to behave at an office happy hour or after-hours party involving alcohol.
I think it goes without saying that managers, above all employees, should be very careful of their alcohol in take at office functions. You should never put an employee in the position of having to care for, or worry about you. The last thing in the world you need is to have an employee pouring you into a taxi at the end of the night, or worse, bailing you out of jail on your DUI in the morning. God forbid alcohol should cloud your judgment to the point that you end up telling that intern from Marketing just exactly what you'd like to do to her in the privacy of your office. Managers need to follow very specific codes of conduct in the company of their team members, be it 9 a.m. in the office, or 9 p.m. at the bar. Whether you are standing in the office, or outside, you are still The Boss. Don't kid yourself that your employees are evolved enough to compartmentalize your behavior. Everything you do with an employee is on-the-clock. You'll remember that even Phoebe turned on Chandler when she went to work for him.
Obviously, I am fairly old school about most things. When it comes to alcohol, I don't think a manager should ever risk overindulging. That might mean not drinking at all. Your team members need to trust your judgment, and how you manage your liquor says a lot. If you choose to indulge, two drinks should be the max. Two is usually the number of drink tickets HR will hand out at wet events, and at two drinks a lightweight will be feeling all right, but very few people will be slurring and declaring their love.
Your bartime behavior will set the standard for most of your employees. Unless you want to take responsibility for seeing them all home safely, set the example you'd like them to follow. Also remember that your sobriety might be the only thing that keeps a drunken employee from driving. If for no other reason than that good help is hard to find, you don't want to send your team out into the night drunk as a cheerleader at senior prom. (Should you have an employee over-indulge, then take the reins. Call him a cab, or drive him home yourself, but do not let him drive.)
In short, if you want your employees to respect you in the morning, you've got to be respectable when you're with them in the night. I know it's no fun, but that's why you're getting paid the big bucks.
Lane Buckman has been in love with fashion since she realized that her first Easter dress came with matching gloves, shoes, and purse. Growing up in the entertainment industry this former beauty queen, model and actress turned corporate career woman understands that dressing for success is just another form of costuming. And, since she has run the size gamut from 2 to 18, Lane understands dressing a variety of shapes. She has written dress codes and conducted Business Style and How to Dress seminars for Fortune 500 and finance companies, boutique agencies, and an international non-profit organization. She gives her stylish Southern mother credit for teaching her everything she knows.