The 400-plus employees of the company I work for will converge on Portland later this week for the annual company meeting. The meeting gives us an opportunity to re-connect with the company’s mission and meet co-workers from other offices and cities.
No company meeting would be complete, however, if not for alcohol. Not saying it’s necessary — it’s not — but alcohol always finds it’s way into these types of things. Thursday night, we’re slated to go bowling and will enjoy an open bar. Best guess is a few people will enjoy the open bar a little too much and compromise themselves, personally and professionally.
(Before I go on, I want to explain why I remain so cryptic about where it is I work and what it is I do. I have the utmost respect for my employer, first off, and a lot of what we do is highly personalized consultation with students in higher education. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) disallows me from sharing some of my best stories from work. Where I work, specifically, shouldn’t matter to you. But for the sake of storytelling, think of my employer as a young, liberal, new age company, where witticisms are constant and most of the employees attended liberal arts programs.)
Yesterday, my team of 20 was advised to be mindful of how much we consume. I thought this was obvious, as the CEO and president of the company will be present. Then again, I bartended for two years. Now and then, one of my co-workers would outdrink every patron in the bar. The point is common sense often evacuates once the first drink is poured. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. Everyone knows it. Yet, it still always happens!
What I’m trying to say is one way or another, someone’s going get boozy and lose their job Thursday, and I’ll have to bear witness. The more ethical question is do I bring my Flip? Do I capture the moment? Do I put it on YouTube or send it to my manager so he can produce a PSA for next year’s meeting? (Tentatively titled, “How to Not Drink Eight Martinis and Get Fired.”) Call me a killjoy, but I’d rather drinking be axed from the itinerary altogether. It’s like our higher-ups are putting 400 people in a room with a little red button that’s unlabeled. Someone’s going to press the button.
I’ll be going another route Thursday night. A few years back, I discovered drinking three or four cans of Sugar Free Rock Star was way more fun in a social setting like this. As a drinker, I tend to get quiet and become overly fascinated by people-watching. With energy drinks, I become uncorked. I experience superhuman strength, all of my jokes are the stuff of legends and everyone just seems to like me better. So, essentially I get drunk off of Sugar Free Rock Star.
But, I get to keep my job. I might not sleep until fall, but at least I’ll be employed. Come Friday morning, that’s more than some can say.