When you work at a full-time job, long-term freelancing group, or even when you’re a lowly intern, the concept of bonding over a Happy Hour with your co-workers is normal. As the weather gets warm, there’s nothing I love more than the idea of a cocktail in my hand and basking in the sun. Although you might be weary of the idea of Happy Hour with coworkers, it’s actually a great opportunity to network and bond with people in your department. You'll realize most of your coworkers have a life outside of the office! The key to a successful Happy Hour is moderation, monitoring, and making it out in time to keep a solid reputation. Keep these Golden “Do” Rules in mind and you’ll be successful.
1. DO: GO!
The stress of the day and work week can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Happy Hour is the perfect time for blowing off a little steam and getting half priced drinks. If your team invites you along for Thirsty Thursday, don’t be quick to rule it out because it’s a week day.
2. DO: Pace yourself! Order water in between every drink you order.
Alcohol dehydrates you. If you constantly stay hydrated you’ll be less likely to have a hangover and less likely to make bad decisions. If you feel weird or are being pressured about ordering water, order a soda or tonic. It will look just like a cocktail but it has no alcohol.
3. DO: Talk about life after work.
Everyone has a life after work. Even though you’re out with co-workers, it doesn’t mean that the only thing you can talk about is projects, reports, and budgeting. BORING! Make sure to open up a little bit and show off your personality! Let your coworkers know that you aren’t just about the data you pull or the numbers you drive. Talk about your favorite work out classes, places you like to eat, etc.
4. DO: Remember they are still your coworkers.
Yes, happy hour can be fun and insightful. You want to open up and share your personality with your team so that they can remember your face with the name. However, make sure to keep your conversations light. There is such a thing as sharing too much! You don't want to be the main theme of the gossip train the next day with your scandalous activities. Remember to keep it HR appropriate!
5. Do: Put the Phone Away!
Muphy's law says "whatever can happen, will happen". While you're busy keeping it HR appropriate, remember to keep it personally appropriate too. When alcohol flows, texts/phone calls/emotions can flow, and it's best to just put the phone away. Don't be that coworker that's crying in the corner from the conversation they're having with their ex while intoxicated, or be the coworker that's glued to their phone and can't hold a conversation in person. I am a firm believer to just put the phone away.
The moral of the story is to use your best judgment. Think of yourself as a brand and how you want to represent yourself to your coworkers. If it can hurt your career, it’s best not to say or do it. You never know who has their phone out taking photos either, so it’s best not to worry about being publicly shamed a photo away.