I'm in my mid-20s and recently changed careers. My new job is a great fit. I work in a small office with a boss in his mid-50s who seems to be an alcoholic. During my training (at our headquarters) he took me and several young female co-workers out and got really drunk. There have since been a couple of occasions when I've turned down invitations to go out with him, and later heard about drunken escapades. The office is starting up a happy hour book club, which seems like a good idea, but I don't want to be around my boss in situations involving alcohol. My co-workers think he's funny and like that he pays for drinks, so I'm hesitant to voice my discomfort. Any ideas?
—Prefer Coffee Shops
That your small office has a company headquarters is great news. You don't have to voice your discomfort to your boss or his enablers; you can simply send a letter (anonymous is just fine) to the appropriate people up the ladder explaining how alcohol is affecting the propriety and productivity of your office. Stick to the facts as you describe the episodes, and say you are concerned that having asupervisor who is sometimes impairedpresents a potential liability to the company. At work continue to stay professional and friendly, and politely decline to join them on their bacchanals—you don't need to make excuses for not participating in extracurricular binges. Also resist the temptation to suggest that opening picks for the book club should be Drinking: A Love Storyand The Lost Weekend.
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