Drinking Together Can Lead to Greater Success — So, What do We Do With This?

“Having beer on the conference table adds to a relaxed and fun air in our Think & Drink brainstorms, encouraging people to share their ideas more freely–making the meetings more productive and enjoyable.”

Well, this is quite a finding, isn’t it? According to e a new study, described in the Fast Company article The Correlation Between Drinking With Coworkers And Success: New Research Sheds Light On The Relationship Between Drinking And Climbing The Social Ladder by Samantha Cole, it’s a good career move, and a good corporate policy, to drink together more.  (The quote above comes from the article).

What do we make of this?

What do we do with this?

First, what do we make of this?

I remember reading Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam years ago. He described how the decline of bowling leagues was a signal of changes in our society. In the past, people went to work, and then after work, would go bowling together. Bowling leagues provided a place to be together, get to know one another, have a few beers, “hang out…” The bowling was the “excuse.” The time together was the key.

(I remember a successful youth minister at a church some 30+ years ago. His group was very alive, and growing in number. Teenagers wanted to be in his youth group! His strategy—a lot of bus trips together. He said it did not much matter what they did when they arrived at their destination. What mattered was the time in the bus together).

Being together matters. And this article describes that being together, with drinking going on, adds a dimension that seems to enable more creative thinking, and fewer inhibitions about sharing thoughts.

And, the people who drink together just seem to move up the ranks a little more successfully.

From the article:

Even outside of the college and millennial-led startup world, professionals feel the pressure to fit in.

So, going out with the group to get drinks after work is a way to fit in. And, maybe more importantly, not going to get drinks with the group is a sure-fire way to be “left out,” and not part of the “in group.” Thus, not going out with the group can have bad ripple effects in any career advancement pursuit.

Now, what do we do with this?

Here’s what I think. First, for the non-drinkers (and there are a lot of good reasons to be a non-drinker!), still go out with the group. From the article:

remember that you don’t have to drink. If you need to hold a glass to keep your social nerves from jittering, make it a soda. If you choose to pass on the booze, be confident about it.

But, back to the youth minister I knew. The trick is time spent together. And, in an era of few bowling leagues, maybe going out for drinks is the new substitute.

I think the time together, with people from work, is the key here. And, if you don’t take advantage of those opportunities, you will, in fact, be left out, out of the loop, and ultimately be left behind.  So, don’t view the “going out for drinks” as unnecessary.  It in fact plays a critical role in the pursuit  of success.


And, this observation. This is again why “contract workers” are so left out – pretty much a “second class” citizen in the workplace. They would have trouble “fitting in” at the evening watering hole, wouldn’t they?


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