3 Drinks, a Work Function and a Lost Promotion


It’s that time of year, work functions are in full swing, and our emotional intelligence (or lack of) can get us into a lot of trouble. Or at the very least, some awkward moments.

As the first drink leads to a second, then a third, conversations become extremely personal and honest as we unleash our subconscious mind. Before we know it, we are deep in conversation with our manager about why we deserve a pay rise or tell Susan exactly what we think of her.

We are on the home stretch of what has been a challenging and unexpected 2020. The exhaustion in our minds and our bodies makes the thought of saying goodbye to the year with a ‘bang’ sound like a great idea. For some of us, what better way to do it then at an end of year work function with a few drinks.

'Before we know it, we are deep in conversation with our manager about why we deserve a pay rise or telling Susan exactly what we think of her.'

It’s an interesting circumstance when the different personalities and people within our work environment are brought together, especially when they differ quite a lot from the type of people we would usually be social with. With alcohol flowing (frequently free) and in a setting that tends to not feel like work, our mind easily reverts to its behaviour and habits for the environment like this. We can easily forget that it is still work, we get extremely comfortable, our subconscious mind comes to the party and the appropriateness of our behaviour can become questionable.

Research shows that alcohol decreases all brain activity. Our cerebellum handles our coordination and due to this decrease in energy being sent through, we notice our balance and ability to physically do what we can normally due gets impacted. The temporal cortex also has a decrease in activity. This is the area that is responsible for creating memories and therefore explains why we often can’t remember all of the details the next day. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for rational thought and decision making and with a decrease in activity the conversation from our mind to our mouth is bypassing some logical analysis leading our communication to become very emotionally driven. We all know the problems that this can cause.

From this point, our personal brand, our reputation, any promotion and potentially our job is all on the line.


Often we hear people say that alcohol makes us say things we don’t really mean. This is not quite accurate. Alcohol actually let’s our subconscious and emotional mind take control with less of our prefrontal cortex helping to balance it out. We often refer to this as ‘losing our filter’. The message from our subconscious mind is no longer being ‘filtered’ for rational and logical thought process meaning we are saying exactly what our subconscious mind has been thinking potentially without self-regulation.

Let’s discuss 5 tips to ‘keeping our filter’ on and our personal brand unscathed at this years’ Xmas party.

  • Self-regulate or steer clear of people that trigger your emotions. Speaking the truth happens easier when our subconscious mind is tapped into and we lose that activity in our prefrontal cortex. If you have some frustrations, best to steer clear of those people.
  • Remember you are still ‘at work’. When the company is paying, has organised the event or are still visible, consider it ‘work
  • Know that others cannot ‘un-see’ or ‘un-hear’ how you behave. Your personal brand is on display and being tested! It is worth more than your technical skills. If you wouldn’t do it in the middle of day in the office, then don’t do it at the function.
  • Keep Hydrated and remember to eat! One water for every alcoholic drink and eat before and during.
  • Plan and pace yourself. Know your alcohol tolerance levels and decide how many you can handle before you go. Then pace yourself! Avoid glass top-ups as we lose track of how much we have drunk.

There is a reason for all of the parts of our brain and the activity that they perform. As soon as they are compromised or decreased, the ability to deliver the right output also becomes compromised. Be aware of the changes and leverage Emotional Intelligence to stay in control.

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