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Clear your Personal Calendar in your First Week

By: Paul MacKenzie-Cummings - Updated: 29 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Work Job Career Colleagues Flirting

During your first few days and weeks you will be trying your hardest to create a favourable first impression and most career advisors will recommend that you keep your personal calendar free during your first week in the event that you will be asked to join your colleagues for a quick drink after work.

We all enjoy a wee tipple after a long hard day at work. But how much is too much?

Here’s some advice to help you keep a clear head and ensure that you still have a job to go to the following day.

Don’t flirt

Fraternising with the opposite sex is something that should be reserved for night’s out with your friends. Flirting with your new colleagues will almost certainly give the wrong impression and could make for a rather uneasy working relationship in the office. Even if the attention is coming from the other person, make sure you don’t leave with them because we all know where that can lead after a few too many drinks.

Avoid Getting Too Happy Once Happy Hour Is Over

It’s easy to lose count of how much you’re drinking and sometimes you may feel the pressure to ‘keep up’ with your colleagues – especially if they keep getting another round in. Learn to pace yourself and don’t be afraid to decline the offer of another drink. After all, you can’t afford to have a hang-over whilst sat at your new desk, popping paracetamol like its going out of fashion on your second day of work.

Late Night, Early Morning

Do you use your car to go to work, or does your job involve driving? Depending on how much you drank the night before, you may still be over the legal limit. Younger motorists are nearly twice as likely as older drivers to take the wheel while still over the legal alcohol limit from the previous evening.

Alcohol has the nasty habit of remaining in the body for a surprisingly long time, with four pints of strong beer taking about 13 hours to clear the system.

If Invited, Then Go

Some people believe in the ‘don’t mix business with pleasure’ mantra. Whereas I am a partial advocate of this philosophy I also acknowledge that there are occasions when we all have to attend functions and events with our colleagues so as to keep up the appearance of being part of the team.

Sometimes peer pressure gets the better of us and some of your new colleagues may feel aggrieved if you don't want to spend some of your unpaid hours with them. Force yourself down the boozer with good grace occasionally, and make up a good long-term excuse why you can't go regularly.

After-work drinks can be fun and make for good working relationships. They can be used as a way of developing ideas, understanding how the company operates, what the office politics are. And you may find that you develop good long-lasting friendships or even increase your promotional prospects.

Indeed, a study by Stirling University has even discovered that a drink with colleagues after work smoothes the path to promotion and that all-important pay rise.

You're not going to advance your career by distancing yourself from your boss and colleagues by avoiding the pub entirely but, equally, you certainly won't help it by being there all the time. Regardless of how popular you are or how many times you leap at every opportunity to meet up for a drink, avoid being seen as a soak by your bosses.

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