WOMEN
01/09/2013 03:53 pm ET | Updated Jan 09, 2013

Women And Alcohol: Does Mixing Drinking With Work Help Or Hinder Your Career?

Two things about drinking in the workplace have changed since the Mad Men-era standard of downing five glasses of scotch before noon.
1) You would probably be fired if you attempted to work sloshed.
2) It isn't just male professionals drinking on the job anymore.

In this era of greater gender equality -- and less workplace debauchery -- is it helpful or detrimental for women to drink with their colleagues? This is the question the Atlantic's Alexandra Chang posed on January 7th.

Chang said she rarely drinks at work events and "tend[s] to avoid situations where drinking is likely to be happening" but worries that she's missing out on potential bonding with her coworkers as a result. A friend of Chang's who also passes on alcohol at work concurs recalled that one female colleague wouldn't even talk to her until she attended a work-related drinking event. Chang suggested that the pressure to drink may be greater for women working in male-dominated fields like finance and technology.

But the consequences of drinking may also be greater for women, she noted. If women who choose office sobriety run the risk of missing out on coworker bonding, they also avoid the potentially negative consequences of having one drink too many. (After all, no one wants to make a fool of themselves in front of their boss.) Leah Epstein, founder of the website Drinking Diaries told Chang that mixed-gender workplace functions hold extra concerns for women. "A woman drinking with a group of men in a work-related situation could cross into flirtation and the sexual. She might be stigmatized," Epstein said.

Do you drink with work colleagues? Take our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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