Saturday, January 6, 2018
The PR culture of drinking is one that runs deep in a very strange, ill-talked-about manner. Every party seems to have some sort of open bar. Everyone wants to 'go out for drinks.' Some agencies have beer kegs. Some agencies keep bottles of scotch, vodka and the like on-hand. Some people drink at their desks. Some go out as groups, and they drink. Beers all round. Drink hard. Drink deep. Feel the group love. Feel wanted. Feel taken in. Instagram your cocktail. Celebrate vague inebriation - even working while inebriated. Be proud of that time that 'you all got blasted.'
For the new PR initiate, this is a really exciting time. You're important enough to get free drinks. You're a VIP of sorts. And alcohol is a really, really cheap status symbol - especially when it's not paid for - to make you feel as if you've 'made it.' I mean, come on, nobody unimportant gets free things, right?
It's scary, though. You'll go to a few parties and not pay for drinks. And because they're free, you'll let loose. And that same letting loose leads to the same painful hangover you might not have had since college. Or worse still, you may be continuing said habits from college - the drink's free, so drink up. That hangover hurts. But maybe not so bad. Maybe not bad enough to teach you a lesson. Maybe not bad enough to get you in trouble, but bad enough that you'll hurt in places and swear you won't drink again.
But you will. It's free, after all.
A lot of people will be on your case to drink. It's alright. You can still drink. You should drink! If you like to drink that is. If not, you shouldn't. If you feel sick, stop drinking. If you feel like not drinking, stop drinking. If anyone pushes you to drink, say no. Yes, I realise this all sounds a bit like high school or college, and that's because it is. The difference is that these are people that you will work with when you're sober and can judge whether you get money each month. Just don't bother doing it if you don't feel like it. There's no glory to being drunk to the outside world. Nobody reads your status update from the side of the pool with a cocktail and thinks "heh what a great guy," they most likely think "wow, what a dick."
If someone's pressuring you, go home and get some rest. It's scary that there're people who may tut at you and say that you're "being a pussy" for not staying out late and drinking heavily. But in the general scheme of things you will not get ostracized if you don't get drunk. Or even if you don't drink. I've worked with people who liked to drink, and at first I was scared that if I didn't get really, really drunk I'd be left out somehow. I have come to realise there's no reward for it, and for the most part the pressure to drink is internal - the idea that the group will leave you out if you're not up for it. Nothing happens if you're not a drinker. Nobody stops working with you.
And sure some people might not invite you out to the bars, but who cares.