Re: Guest Post - noontime drink

1

We have a monthly meeting that sometimes starts in the pub. Pub lunch, then back to the office for 2 hours of arguing. I guess about half of the people drink during the lunch, the other half not, but more because they don't drink at all rather than any compunction about drinking at work. It'd be unusual, even if the lunch drags on and we do part of the meeting there, for anyone to have more than 2 beers.

Personally, I never have more than a single beer during a working day, or I end up sleepy in the afternoon.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:02 AM
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I think I would be surprised by cow-orkers drinking at lunch. But I'm also not sure any of our customary lunch places sell alcohol. When I lived in NJ, I would sometimes see people drinking wine at lunch in the Insti/tute dining hall, although it was still really rare-- I think it was mostly the European transplants who were more committed to showcasing their Europeanness. Perhaps relatedly, people having beer or wine with lunch at the CE/RN cafeteria is reasonably common, I think.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:03 AM
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the European transplants who were more committed to showcasing their Europeanness

Toplessness was a bridge too far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:07 AM
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The only situation where people drink at lunch is after a morning court hearing or other unusual professional event, when it's expected that nothing much will happen in the afternoon. One glass of wine seems to be the limit.



Posted by: Unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:07 AM
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Outside of a reception or similar event, I've never seen people I work with drink at lunch. That said, we don't eat together often.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:09 AM
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When I was a young engineer, people at my lab would go to a bar sometimes (every couple of weeks?) for lunch and it was the culture to have a beer or two. But that was a unique place.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:12 AM
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Currently, I think it would be a little odd to have a beer with lunch during working hours, but I'm not sure anyone would give a shit. Wine would be more reasonable.

At the student paper, of course, people showed up drunk, high, hung-over -- you name it. And we would frequently repair to one of the nearby bars in the evening when it would have been downtime at the office waiting for the layout to finish.

At the stockbrokerage, I made it a point to end each of my tenures there with a 3 martini lunch.

At the alt newsweekly, we'd have drinks pretty much every time we went out for lunch. Those were some of the most productive meetings I've ever been to.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:19 AM
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I don't think I've ever worked in an office with a strong daytime drinking culture, although plenty with an after-work boozing culture. But among people in my workplace who do go to lunch regularly, and there are teams that do, having a beer with lunch would be completely unremarkable. Some groups here probably go to the pub a couple of lunchtimes a week.

* techy stuff, and education. Neither are stereotypical boozy lunch businesses.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:23 AM
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I worked at a place for a while where occasionally getting drinks with lunch was a Thing, but it definitely required an occasion, like a new hire or something. Having beers at Friday meetings was much more common. I have worked many (well, three or so) more places where a shared midday spliff was common.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:29 AM
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I don't think I could so the more involved parts of my job after a single beer and I know I'd have trouble after two. Attention to detail is pretty central to what I do and it goes away very quickly if I drink and don't smoke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:31 AM
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I don't think anyone would look too oddly on an occasional lunchtime beer, though it's not that common. Beer friday afternoon happens much oftener.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:34 AM
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I don't think I could so the more involved parts of my job after a single beer

Things like spelling two letter words?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:34 AM
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We usually don't drink at lunch, although when we go out for someone's birthday a few people will have one beer each. Since I supervise a large group at this point, in most cases I'm the most senior person at those lunches so I can generally do whatever I want.
There used to be informal drinking in the lunch room at the end of the week, with the beer/wine stored in the fridge in my office, but they now discourage doing that on doing that on company premises for liability reasons. There are still occasional company sponsored drinking hours at the end of the week.
On business trips, drinking at dinner is optional but common, and after dinner it is generally expected to meet at the hotel bar for at least two drinks per person.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:34 AM
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12: That to.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:35 AM
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We have a beer fridge in the lab but it mostly gets raided for special occasions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:48 AM
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Less puritanism than I would have expected so far, even leaving out non-Usian commenters. I suspect in some places a similar opprobrium as that associated with pregnant women having a single drop has descended.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:54 AM
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At my previous job in Corporate America, there was no drinking. A beer at lunch would not have gone over well, although I recall having a brew with a (non-management) colleague on one occasion.

Now that I work with a bunch of Europeans, there is wine at every minor office function.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 7:56 AM
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At the place I worked in NYC (small design firm), I gathered that Mad Men rules had once applied but now people don't drink. Even on the rare occasions when we'd all go out for a fancy lunch together, only one partner and I would order one beer each; everyone else stuck with iced tea.

We drink a lot at my current place but typically wait until the work day has wound down. We got an email from opposing counsel on a Friday afternoon noting that it was "beer o'clock" and he wanted to leave the office.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:03 AM
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16: I remember walking by the new Federal courthouse one December evening and seeing a group of employees having an Xmas party. There was more than one bottle of wine per person, and a whole bunch of them had already been opened.

Apparently the Geo/ogy dept. at the U of MN is grandfathered out of the mostly dry campus policy. So they have a beer bust in their offices every month to make sure they get to keep the privilege. I've rarely seen a group of adults more into sustained heavy drinking than grad students generally.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:03 AM
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Do you mean to say that some people drink at lunch and some do not?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:04 AM
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It can't be true. This is a good contentious subject for a post.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:05 AM
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Myself, I have at times had a drink at lunch. Other times I didn't. Some people are drinking all the time, others not at all, and most fall somewhere in between. Drinks are less common at lunch than at dinner, for sure, and also more common on the weekend. I find it all quite fascinating.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:08 AM
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I did once work for an old school guy who had a drink or two with lunch nearly every day. I hardly ever ate lunch with him but he would probably have been fine with my having a glass of wine.
This wouldn't happen in any of the other law firms where I have worked. At the current firm, the first year where there was no office Christmas event at all we (the staff) went for our own lunch on the next to last day and had a defiant glass of wine.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:10 AM
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Somewhere there is a photo of my then-boss (he got shuffled to a different group, not canned) drinking directly out of a novelty gallon-sized bottle of Cutty Sark in his office. There's a pretty strong culture of people working late and drinking while they do so.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:10 AM
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No drinking at lunch at my current job; very occasional at the law firms I used to work at. Very occasional was limited to some, but by no means all, impressive lunches with clients, summer associate lunches self-consciously showing off what fun we were; and occasional "fuck these people we work for, lawyers are allowed to drink at lunch, right?" lunches with other associates during high-stress/workload periods. But pretty much never just because ordering a glass of wine with lunch was a normal thing to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:10 AM
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(That was infelicitous -- his leaving my group had nothing to do with the Cutty Sark; someone else left and he moved to fill that person's shoes.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:11 AM
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It's supposed to be champagne in the shoes, not scotch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:13 AM
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I had lunch with a client on Tuesday, and had two pints of beers. I was surprisingly useless for the rest of the afternoon; the beer was some sort of microbrew and I think must have had unusally high ABV.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:16 AM
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I say we all go get a lunchtime drink and liveblog it!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:17 AM
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Not me, I'm home sick nauseated and headachy. And not even because I'm hungover. (Stupidly, I'm feeling incredibly guilty about staying home. I could have dragged myself in late -- I'm not really incapacitated -- but there's nothing urgent going on so there was no real reason to. And I do feel like hell.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:20 AM
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(I also told the client that the reason I often don't get their work done faster is that I'm "lazy". I think they thought I was joking. But in retrospect that was probably a stupid thing to admit.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:21 AM
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28: My father was a NY architect in the 70's and 80's, at the tail end of Mad Men drinking habits, and they had a semi-explicit policy that no one did any designing after lunch. Afternoons were for meetings, but anything involving making the buildings not fall down happened in the morning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:23 AM
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Maybe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:23 AM
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33 to 31.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:23 AM
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It's stupid that I feel guilty for staying home when I'm sick but not incapacitated. It's called sick leave,* not at-death's-door leave, but you wouldn't know if from the culture in a lot of workplaces.

*For those of us lucky even to have it. (What?! say the European commenters, aghast at this fresh evidence of American barbarism.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:26 AM
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they had a semi-explicit policy that no one did any designing after lunch

Isn't there something in Herodotus about a culture that has a rule never to implement any decision made while sober until it's been discussed while drunk?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:27 AM
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I have sixty sick days saved. I should probably call off next time I have a cold.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:29 AM
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36. The Persians, no less. Discuss any proposition drunk, then review the decision in the morning when sober. If it still seems like a good idea, implement.

Complete fabrication, obviously. I heard the same thing said of the Kikuyu in the 1960s.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:33 AM
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36: And vice versa, per Larry Gonick.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 8:34 AM
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Official policy at my current employer is: (1) no consumption of alcohol on the premises unless served as part of a company function (which happens fairly regularly late on Friday afternoon); (2) no impairment on the job (the definition of which is left vague). It would be highly unusual for anyone to have a drink at lunch, but it wouldn't be scandalous. By contrast, I have worked at clients where any consumption of alcohol during working hours was grounds for termination.

At my French employer, a glass of wine was almost de rigeur if you went out to lunch, and not uncommon if you ate in. At my blue collar summer job in Germany, there was beer for breakfast. What's more, it was provided by the employer (you had to pay for it at cost, but it was right there in a vending machine in the break room).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:01 AM
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||

My colleague's wife (also a colleague, although not in this department) finally passed away last night.

I'm thinking that as a new widow in his late 60s who enjoys cooking and is capable of cooking, getting him cooked meals can be left to other people? And that a better form of support might be to start having him over for dinner every two weeks, or so, to help with the isolation?

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:20 AM
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My condolences to your colleague and his family. Having him for dinner seems like a great idea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:31 AM
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My father's prime environment was the 3-M lunch. That's when the important stuff happened in the 40's to 60's. The mornings and after were for getting the peons working on the details.

That never did work for me, I fall asleep after a bit of wine.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:33 AM
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When I worked with in-house attorneys in Cambridge, MA, there was frequent lunch drinking and I had to quickly learn to drink stouts so I wasn't judged for being a weak girl who couldn't drink beer. Here in Utah some people will drink beers at lunch and I expect people would be judged for drinking more than one beer or cocktails.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:35 AM
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In the places I studied/worked in England, having one at lunch was expected, whatever company you were keeping. Having two was basically ok. Around the holidays we would sometimes polish off a bottle of something before 11am. Things were nearly as liquid where I worked in Belgium.

Somewhat to my surprise things are a bit stricter in Berlin. Booze with lunch would not at all be looked askance at, but it isn't generally done, at least not in my workplace.

When I did a job interview for a post-doc at Douchebag American University a while back they took me out to dinner at the end of the day and ordered motherfucking Cokes or water or other such bullshit like barbarians. For dinner! I'd been getting progressively more sour on the job throughout the day, but that really sealed the deal from my end.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:35 AM
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32: In the engineering offices I've been a part of, drinking at lunch is rare and limited to one for special occasions.

35: I have the same whispers in my ear; I agree that it's foolish to go to work sick (and spread infection), but my office cultures have always encouraged showing up and working as best you can.

40: By contrast, I have worked at clients where any consumption of alcohol during working hours was grounds for termination. That was true at my wife's old workplace.


Posted by: MooseKing | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:50 AM
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I would feel weird having a drink at a work lunch, and just as weird not having one at a work dinner.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:55 AM
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a better form of support might be to start having him over for dinner every two weeks, or so, to help with the isolation?

That sounds like a great idea.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:55 AM
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We are allowed to have a drink at our official holiday lunch, which we pay for ourselves anyhow. A coworker and I occasionally split a small sake when three of us go out to the Japanese restaurant down the street. I think that's about it for actual drinking, though people joke at least weekly about wanting or deserving alcohol.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 9:57 AM
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I often have a drink when I go out for lunch to a sit-down restaurant, but that's the rare part in itself. At this job, there's a cafeteria for lunch (no drinks there except Friday afternoon), and at my previous job, we all went out, got food, and brought it back to the office kitchen to eat together. So there really wasn't the opportunity for drinking at lunch.

(It wasn't much different when I was full-time telecommuting, actually. I occasionally had a drink with lunch if I went to a pub for lunch, but that was pretty uncommon compared to staying at home or getting something to go.)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:06 AM
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A drink with an office lunch would definitely lead to raised eyebrows. Our department culture is most comfortable for a bunch of squares. One of my favorite aspects is that we seem to all have taken harassment training to heart, and people won't ask nearly anything that could be construed as a personal question. As a moderately private person, I love that and volunteer as little as possible.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:16 AM
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Somewhat to my surprise things are a bit stricter in Berlin. Booze with lunch would not at all be looked askance at, but it isn't generally done, at least not in my workplace.

You're in an academic workplace, right? It certainly wasn't that way when I worked at the Berlin office of [grant program named after U.S. senator]. A drink with lunch would have been fine, and it took only the flimsiest of celebratory excuses to crack a bottle of Sekt at the office. And the financial director was fairly lit a decent amount of the time which, sad to say, was probably not as much of a problem as his terrible sexism.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:23 AM
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41: See if you can find out if there are any frustrating things you can help with. He might be able to cook well but hates the shopping for the ingredients. I could handle pretty much all the practical stuff but had no clue about ironing; those shirts are still hanging in the back of the closet.

He might appreciate some company and help with sorting, donating, and tossing chores. Or not. IMX, it's all so very idiosyncratic any specific advice is likely to be wrong.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:31 AM
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I remember a morning meeting with a couple profs at a Polish university where after some pleasant professional and social chit-chat one of them pulled out a bottle of vodka and asked me if I'd do a shot with them. Not much of a choice, even though warm vodka in the morning really wasn't my idea of fun. It turned into several shots and there went my afternoon archive productivity.

And at my high school at one parent teacher meeting there was a debate on whether the school cafeteria should serve wine and beer to the students for lunch.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:35 AM
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As a moderately private person

...but only moderately private.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:38 AM
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52: Yeah, weird isn't it? I suspect this practice is fairly focalised, and doesn't have much to do with German/Berliner culture. No clue why, though.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:39 AM
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I always get the urge to call in sick when I look at all the sick time I have banked up on the HR website, even though that number is meaningless because exempt employees aren't supposed to document their sick time.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 10:41 AM
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53: Good idea. I was hoping you'd weigh in with some grounded advice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 11:06 AM
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48 and 53 seconded. To follow up on 53, I think a little concreteness can go a long way toward making it easier to ask for help (and maybe for him to figure out what help he'd actually like). Instead of the well-intentioned but deadly "Let me know if there's anything I can do," I wish someone had said, "I'd like to give you a hand. Are there any errands or grocery shopping I might do for you, or maybe help with some chores at home?"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 11:32 AM
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58: If you do contact him, be prepared for (or at least willing to accept) anything. The "stages" of grief aren't linear, they can hit in any order, circle around, hit again, and so on. Near as I can tell from both reading and personal experience, one can act "normal" quite quickly after a significant loss if it's necessary but one only starts to feel like oneself after close to two years, with the caveat being as usual, "it's very idiosyncratic".


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 11:36 AM
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59: Yes. Concrete, simple, and direct are very, very good. I sure wasn't up for more complicated thinking and parsing at first.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 11:39 AM
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On my business lunches, the rule is to follow the client's lead on drinks. If they order, then so will I. If they have another, I likely will as well. I had one client from a small town that I was sure would get wasted at our lunch in the "big city"--lunch drinks in his town are highly scrutinized, but he's a bit of a closet lush (in the good way, I guess)--but he had a meeting right after ours, so he just had water.
Which was disappointing.


Posted by: Mentioner | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 11:49 AM
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When I first arrived in Germany the year I taught there, my boss picked me up at the train station and took me to lunch. That I did not order a beer was apparently so surprising that he asked why.

I don't get out for lunch very often anymore and when I do, it's almost never somewhere that serves alcohol. Which is just as well. I've apparently hit that age where a beer or two at lunch renders me [more] useless [than usual] for the rest of the day. I'd definitely feel weird ordering alcohol with lunch with coworkers.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 12:28 PM
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I almost never order coworkers with lunch.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 12:30 PM
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If you do contact him, be prepared for (or at least willing to accept) anything.

Especially sexual advances.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 12:36 PM
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65 aside, I can't really take on whatever he asks for. He lives about 30 minutes away, and I'm massively short of energy at the moment. (But would genuinely like to have him over for dinner regularly.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 12:45 PM
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66: I don't think it's right for you take advantage of the situation just to get a personal chef, heebie.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 12:52 PM
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45 When I did a job interview for a post-doc at Douchebag American University a while back they took me out to dinner at the end of the day and ordered motherfucking Cokes or water or other such bullshit like barbarians.

This isn't the one Halford (IIRC?) was calling Douchebag University, was it? Whenever I got to go on interview-related dinners there I made damn sure to order whiskey or cognac in addition to the wine.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 12:56 PM
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68: If Halford was talking about Penn State, then yes.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:00 PM
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66: Dinners are good. I made it a point to accept invitations to avoid downward spirals. Other easy things like perhaps some info might be appreciated, such as where drops for clothing are. If he's in the zombie stage that stuff is useful.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:02 PM
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Nobody at Penn State drinks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:02 PM
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69: Oh. Different Douchebag U. I was thinking of the the one without the child rape.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:04 PM
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Duke?


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:04 PM
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No, the one in central New Jersey. It's almost like there are lots of Douchebag Universities!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:09 PM
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74: Binders full.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-18-12 1:11 PM
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