Why is it appropriate for the boss to drink?

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
You see it all the time on television and movies. Powerful people like mayors, police commissioners, government department heads, CEOs etc all have bottles in their office and take a drink or two during the day. I have seen in real life because I supported our corporate jet department and there were always several bottles on board.

So why is it ever appropriate for the boss to drink during working hours? If I were to have a bottle in my desk, or my boss and probably my boss's boss we would be called into HR and most likely be fired if we did not remove the bottle.

So why is it that at some level it is OK to drink on the job?

I used to work for a small company. I had great respect for the owner. There were certain rules in place that all employees needed to follow. He made a point of following those same rules. Funny the drinking rule was put aside one day a month. At least after work. Each month he would have a major blow out for all of the employees. Booze and lots of great food including some rather expensive shrimp cocktail. It was a great place to work. ;)
 

joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
4,401
You mean you haven't watched Mad Men?

Aside from lots of these guys being alcoholics (who else could function midday on a couple of drinks?), my experience is that these activities take place mostly on the marketing side (including top brass) of a company. You see, they were all frat brothers in college, and drinking is how they learned to communicate. A good salesman usually has a rather large entertainment budget, because drinks = sales.

And there is always this: In vino veritas. Getting your 'adversary' drunk is a good way to learn his true intentions.

Early in my career, I worked for a boss who was quite a drinker, and all the top level managers (including myself) were encouraged to drink heavily at lunch, on the company dime, of course. I was the lunchtime teetotaler -- it was simply impossible for me to function as an engineer after a few drinks. Believe it or not, I lost some respect for this. But I made up for it at dinner by participating heavily -- in addition to bringing along some excellent cigars for my boss.
 

joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
4,401
I just found this in Wikipedia:

Benjamin Cooke said:
Round, round with the glass, boys, as fast as you can,
Since he who don't drink cannot be a true man.
For if truth is in wine, then 'tis all but a whim
To think a man's true when the wine's not in him.
Drink, drink, then, and hold it a maxim divine
That there's virtue in truth, and there's truth in good wine!
Pretty much explains it.
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
So why is it ever appropriate for the boss to drink during working hours?
It depends on who you ask. The only employer I ever had that drank on the job is dead now...because of drinking too much! He was such a pain dsescribing how get to a job by telling me things like, "Go to Joe's Bar and Grille and turn left. When you get to ABC Liquors, turn right." Absolutely useless information for a person that doesn't drink!
 

JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,259
It depends on who you ask. The only employer I ever had that drank on the job is dead now...because of drinking too much! He was such a pain dsescribing how get to a job by telling me things like, "Go to Joe's Bar and Grille and turn left. When you get to ABC Liquors, turn right." Absolutely useless information for a person that doesn't drink!
A friend of mine, another Chief Petty Officer, could direct anyone to anywhere in downtown Manhattan ... via a walking bar tour. Unfortunately, he left this planet about 20 years ago ... not from drinking.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,397
So why is it that at some level it is OK to drink on the job?
It's not, anymore, at least in the corporate world.

When I started my career over 30 years ago, guys would go out for a long lunch on payday (every other Friday). It was tolerated but not really respected, and the top guys mostly didn't participate. In other words, it was a fading custom even then. It was completely gone within 5 years of that, along with the bowling and golfing leagues (and the entire R&D department!).

That's just an anecdote from one company, but as I traveled around and visited many companies around the country throughout the last 30 years, I never ran into an environment where drinking, especially on the job, was considered acceptable. At one site in Wisconsin, it was actually a very big deal to re-introduce having a beer with lunch on Fridays. It had to be approved by top management, which happened to be HQ'd in Denmark at the time.

In all my interaction with top management, and I've had plenty, drinking was never in the office or on the job, but restricted to social events such as schmoozing customers, company Christmas parties and such. I never ever saw a CEO with a bottle in his desk. I think that's an anachronism used by lazy writers.
 

joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
4,401
In all my interaction with top management, and I've had plenty, drinking was never in the office or on the job, but restricted to social events such as schmoozing customers, company Christmas parties and such. I never ever saw a CEO with a bottle in his desk. I think that's an anachronism used by lazy writers.
In my industry, a full wet-bar in the sales manager's office is still a standard feature. Granted, it is a small industry, and they're all good ol' boys.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,397
Yes, my experience is limited to publicly held (i.e. large) companies with shareholders, boards of directors, OSHA inspectors, legal departments and such. I'm sure it can be very different outside that world.
 

Glenn Holland

Joined Dec 26, 2014
705
I used to work for a large transit agency and federal law required all safety critical employees (drivers and mechanics/technicians) to take an alcohol and drug test.

However, upper management was exempt from testing. Interesting that all of the decisions that created most of the safety risks were made by upper management. A prime example of how executive decisions made with the stroke of a pen or sending an email can be as dangerous as someone behind the wheel of a vehicle or pulling a wrench.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
oh how I miss the days of going to a trade show then at night taking out customers and turning in receipts with thousands of dollars from drinks/dances at the strip club.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
Along with a $million P.O.

Priceless.
Heck half the time the "customers" were the guys in the booth next to yours...
No one cared back then.. I've seen $15,000+ receipts from one night at the Cheetah club in ATL..
and I'm only taking back in 2003 or so.. oh how times have changed...fast
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
There was a restaurant I would go to in town that had a bar. I would see the same construction worker there slamming them down all lunch hour each time I was there. It would be a shiver up my spine for his fellow co-workers thinking that the guy could be a heavy equipment operator.
 
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