DEAR AMY: I’ve worked for nearly 18 months for an organization I love. I’ve known the head of the organization for more than 10 years. Although I report to someone about four levels down from him, it is still a pretty easy-going, non-hierarchical place, and he is exceedingly approachable at all times.
Many folks within the organization have told me it’s a hard-partying group and, a few nights ago, I found out for myself.
I had way more to drink than I planned, and found myself in a conversation with the head of the organization, during which, I think, I was an ass. I wasn’t sexually inappropriate or anything, but I made fun of the way he presented his speech earlier in the evening. Most of the conversation is a blur, so I don’t know what else I may have said. I don’t think he acted offended and my sense was we had a good time, but still – really?
The next day, I told a close colleague, who was there and also hammered, and she said something along the lines of, “Wow, why would you say that?” Well, because I was drunk! She reassured me that he probably didn’t care and said we were all having fun.
I wrote him a short but strongly-worded apology email. I said I was a royal idiot, and that I talk too much when I drink. I said I was offensive and boring, and that I am mortified.
He immediately wrote back and enumerated each of the things I had said by saying I was none of those things and that he had enjoyed talking with me. He thanked me for my work for the organization.
But I still feel like I made missteps at every point of the way.
Of course, getting drunk in a work setting, regardless of the culture, is not a good idea. Bee-lining for the boss when drunk, also bad. But once it happened, should I have just kept it to myself, or was the apology a good idea? I fear now that the apology may have made me come across as insecure.
DEAR CRINGING: When I first started working in newsrooms, it was the tail end of a crazy, boozy era, where alcohol flowed freely after work and at company-sponsored events. This behavior then screeched to a halt, riding (I presume) on a wave of sexual harassment lawsuits. But it seems that the cocktail culture has again infiltrated the workplace – especially at younger companies. In fact, I know a millennial working in a technical field who was actually asked to name her favorite cocktail – at her job interview. In my opinion, there is just no right answer to that question.
Your story perfectly illustrates the hazards of drinking among colleagues, especially if, like me, you get a little loud, obnoxious and karaoke-crazy when you’ve had too much.
You did the right thing; your boss responded perfectly. Keep in mind that another colleague might not react so well to your behavior – and that there are many profound personal and professional hazards to being drunk with co-workers. Go forth with the determination to be more circumspect in the future.
DEAR AMY: A car mechanic told my daughter that he would fix her car for free, if she slept with him. This saddened me and I shared this with my husband. My husband continues to take his business to this man and it annoys me. I would prefer our money go to someone who respects women.
Am I wrong for feeling this way?
DEAR UPSET: It would be nice if you were married to someone who respects women, too. Solicitation and bartering for sex might be illegal (depending on your daughter’s age and the context); it is definitely unethical, rude and wrong. Talk about the makings of a poor Yelp review!
Good mechanics may be hard to find, but your husband should not put a price on a family member’s dignity, or reward this jerk by ignoring his behavior. I can’t imagine why he would want to continue to patronize this business.
DEAR AMY: “Uncertain” was trying to weigh her options – professional opportunities and an urban lifestyle, or life with a guy who didn’t want any of these things.
Robert Townsend, author of “Up the Organization,” said it best: “Good jobs are scarce and men are a dime a dozen.”
DEAR READER: Townsend’s wisdom is not really true, but sometimes it feels true.
Email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.