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Happy hour doesn't have to be a cocktail for disaster

Author: LaGeris Underwood Bell
Published: May 6 2013

The business world is as unpredictable and as volatile as an earthquake. In the not too distant past, employee loyalty, hard work, and dedication were steps up the corporate ladder. Today, making it to the top of that ladder means navigating through a maze of networking activities.


A downward economic spiral and a general scarcity of jobs have made corporate competition more ferocious than ever. For millions of bright, ambitious people, networking means socializing, which usually involves drinking. Because the legal limit is so low, it is very easy for someone to risk a DUI. But it is still possible to socialize with colleagues and clients without becoming a drunk driver.

5 Tips to Keep Happy Hour Happy

1. Beware the Company You Keep. Who do you really need in your network? That is the question! The key is to be selective. Resist the temptation to show up at every happy hour and every other event where liquor is flowing as freely as conversation. Spend your time and attention as wisely as you spend your money—on key players at only the most important events.

2. Show Up on a Full Tank. Always make sure to eat before social and networking events where there will be alcohol. Filling your stomach before you arrive is a clever pre-emptive strike against over indulging and becoming a drunk driver. Graze on finger foods throughout the evening and sip non-alcoholic drinks to avoid exceeding the legal limit of alcohol. And by all means, order your own drinks.

3. Prepare a Plan A, B, and C. Preparing to court a prospective new client or celebrate a new contract? Expecting to go bar-hopping with colleagues? Before you plan how to start your evening, plan how you’re going to end it. Plan A-Take a cab to and from your destination. Plan B- Ride with a designated non-drinking driver. Plan C-Rent a hotel room ahead of time and park your car there to avoid driving to another destination after drinking.

4. Pace Yourself. Self-impose a two drink limit on alcoholic beverages, regardless of how long your evening might become. In between the two drinks remember to graze and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

5. Say Good Night. Don’t feel pressured to outlast your colleagues. Make up an excuse, invent another obligation, concoct a family emergency—do whatever it takes to make a quick but graceful departure. Remember, whether you ask a DUI CA judge or a DUI MA attorney, neither the courts nor your employer will sympathize with a drunk driving arrest.

Don’t Get Trapped In Your Own Net-work

Networking is par for the course in career development, but company schmoozing is not grounds for dismissal of a DUI. Driving under the influence is dangerous to the public and devastating for your reputation and career. Plan ahead and avoid ruining your own and other's lives.

If you find yourself caught in your own networking trap, contacting a DUI attorney as soon as possible is the smartest move you can make. This is the only way to minimize the damage and ensure that all of your rights are fully represented and protected.

LaGeris Underwood Bell offers this article to rising stars in corporate America striving to navigate the mine-field of company socializing without detonating their careers. With more than 14 years experience dealing with drunk driving cases, a lawyer like DUI MA attorney Jack Diamond, can help defuse a dangerous situation before it goes too far.

Photo Courtesy: Mountainhiker

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