Pi Attitude Zone: Self-Gratification

A Third Martini? That’sh Myyy Business...

Anyone here remember the good old days of the ‘Three-Martini Business Lunch’?  Probably not, since we’re harking back to the 1960s and 70s.  If you were actually there at the time, all those martinis have probably blurred your memory anyway. 

It’s now hard to believe that heavy drinking was once a widespread business ritual in countries like America and Britain.

Pi has already pointed out that unrestrained drinking is generally on the wane, even in “binge Britain”; (see older Pi blogpost entitled “The Party’s Apparently Over” in the Pi Archive).  Those Brits fortunate enough to have a job these days are unlikely to put their employed status at risk by coming in to work hung-over. 

Despite being a country where alcohol-fuelled business lunches and workplace hangovers were once considered acceptable, corporate America has more recently turned its face against the demon drink, at least in the context of job-interview etiquette.  A recent study from Wharton Business School and the University of Michigan examined American employers’ perception of drinking in the context of a job interview over lunch or dinner.  Candidates who asked for a cocktail or a glass of wine with the meal were consistently considered less intelligent than those who stuck with water or a soft drink.  This did not change even if the recruiting interviewers themselves were drinking something alcoholic.

In a whole range of experiments, it emerged that Americans in business generally see a direct link in their employees between drinking and stupidity.  If you imbibe, they think you must be an idiot.

This puritanical and dismissive philosophy may be missing something important, however.  A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Illinois confirmed that employees who indulge in a drink or two during work hours generally do indeed lose some focus on the task in hand, but they can simultaneously become more creative. 

This explains why there are often drinks cabinets on hand in Silicon Valley startup companies.  The odd tipple can be just the thing to trigger a winning innovation.

Zone: Self-Gratification Country: Multiple Geographies Product – Business / Professional