How happy hour can add new ‘spirit’ to your career

Mar 06, 2012
By evening time at the office, we have all been guilty once or twice for being the “clock-watcher.” 4:58…4:59…(coat on)…5:00, and out the door we go. Some employees choose to go home, while others drive to their local office happy hour hangout. Fellow employees are ready to relax after a long week or work day and swap stories, usually work-related because that’s what most attendees can relate to, while having a beer or a glass of wine and maybe even some appetizers. Without even recognizing it, these employees are gaining an edge on others that choose to miss out on this hour of camaraderie.

Making connections and networking with fellow employees can add refreshment to your career. The added bonuses that come with the relaxing setting of conversations outside the office really can boost your mindset about your work life. Having friends, connections and people you can rely on from different departments in the office can add to the excitement and motivation to get to work in the morning and carry on with your efficient and effective work tasks.

According to careerbuilder.com, experts believe that everyone from the office should occasionally attend happy hour…especially because you never know who will be there.  Maybe that CEO or partner that you’ve been trying to impress, but don’t know how to get his/her attention might join in. Carol Spieckerman, president of Newmarketbuilders, a management consulting firm, says showing up for office social functions -- even occasionally -- signals you're a team player and helps you control your reputation at work (careerbuilder.com).

As everyone knows, your daily life as you get older never actually leaves the high-school-type environment. Always saying “no” or making up excuses to skip happy hour can leave employees’ minds to wander about your personal life, and even make them think you don’t like them - which in turn could make them not like you. Even if you have a busy home life, or maybe even a second job, showing up once in a while to the office happy hour can give your peers a look into your good character and who you are outside of the office. Dropping little pieces of personal information is okay, but keep it appropriate; a conversation about your child saying the darndest thing is more appropriate than complaining about your recent break up.

Whether you order Miller Lite, Cabernet, or Diet Coke, it’s your choice. There is no need to feel pressured to order an alcoholic beverage; no one will be judging you, just as you should not judge them. If you have alcohol, keep a keen eye on how much you are drinking, and keep your mannerisms and conversation topics appropriate for the audience. And needless to say, save the tequila shots for a night out with your friends.

If happy hours aren’t your thing, next time an invitation goes out give it a try. Your fellow employees will be glad to have you there, and you just may gain a little more ‘spirit’ towards your career.