You may clock out by 5:00pm, but sometimes your workmates will invite you to socialise at a nearby bar to drink beer or dance. These fun outings might seem innocent, but you need to keep in mind the hidden dangers and benefits of s
By Rebecca Harshbarger
You may clock out by 5:00pm, but sometimes your workmates will invite you to socialise at a nearby bar to drink beer or dance. These fun outings might seem innocent, but you need to keep in mind the hidden dangers and benefits of socialising with your co-workers.
One major problem that can arise from drinking with your supervisor or colleagues is your behaviour after a few beers. The way you act could crush the professional impression they have of you.
After a few drinks, you are more likely to make an inappropriate comment since your judgment is impaired. â€œYou may portray a negative image to your boss if you overdrink or behave badly,â€ says Ruth Matoya, a counsellor at the Nakawa-based Healing Talk Counselling Services.
â€œHe may get another picture of you that interferes with the way he treats you.â€
Does this mean you should decline an invitation to drink with your boss? No, such an invitation is an important opportunity to bond, network and elevate your status at work. However, order one beer and sip it slowly, or order several sodas to participate in the function with a sober mind.
You may also consider socialising without drinking. Watching football and movies with workmates, or playing games like basketball and volleyball, can make your view of your nine-to-five job brighter.
Ruth Senyonyi, a psychologist and counsellor at Bank of Uganda, suggests that companies and departments should organise regular events where employees can have their choice of drinks and leave at their leisure. Apart from making a bad impression, there are other pitfalls to avoid. It is important not to blow your monthly budget, since going out with co-workers can increase the temptation to buy them drinks and snacks. Be conscious of how much money you carry to such events.
Also, the time for going out with workmates is the time you are supposed to be with your family. Spending more hours away from your family might not be wise since you spend most of your time at work.
However, there are benefits of going out with co-workers.
â€œYou get to know friends outside the work environment,â€ says Matoya.
MAKE THAT OUTING USEFUL
- Avoid telling inappropriate jokes. The humour might seem harmless, but save the comedy for your friends outside the job.
- Spend time with everyone, not just your closest work friends. Use social events to get outside your normal comfort zone.
- Rather than chatting about the latest office policy, or worse, gossiping, talk about your hobbies and interests. Good topics might include the news in todayâ€™s papers or a recent book you read, new movie or new restaurant.
- Listen to what your co-workers have to say, rather than dominating the conversation. No one wants to talk with someone who will not let them get a word in.
BE WARY OF YOUR IMAGE