With the holiday season approaching, many professionals look forward to cutting loose with co-workers at end of year company parties. These events can be great opportunities for networking with colleagues, clients and higher-ups. However, when professionals are drinking alcohol they often cross a line into appalling behavior that may irreparably damage their reputation, their employment status and the reputation of the brand of the company that employs them, according to a national survey sponsored by Caron Treatment Centers.
Caron Treatment Centers, a non-profit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment, found that of those employed full or part-time who have attended work-related outings, more than half (52%) have seen someone under the influence of alcohol exhibit inappropriate and even dangerous behaviors during a work-related outing from flirting with a supervisor to driving drunk.
“We are living in stressful times and many people turn to alcohol at parties to reduce anxiety and escape their daily pressures,” said Harris Stratyner, PhD, a leading addiction psychologist and Regional Clinical Vice President at Caron’s New York office. “Unfortunately, many people struggle to manage the amount of alcohol they consume and put themselves into compromising situations that could permanently damage their reputation. In many cases, this behavior is a sign of a more serious problem, such as alcoholism, which requires immediate professional treatment.”
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Caron Treatment Centers from September 13-15 2011 among 1,034 U.S. adults aged 18+ employed full or part-time, of which 870 have ever attended a work-related outing.
Of those who are employed either full or part-time and have seen someone under the influence of alcohol behave inappropriately at a work-related outing:
- 30 percent have seen someone flirt with a co-worker or supervisor
- 28 percent witnessed a fellow party-goer drive drunk
- 26 percent indicated a colleague or supervisor shared inappropriate details about themselves or a co-worker
- 19 percent witnessed someone arguing or becoming aggressive with a colleague or supervisor
- Nine percent claimed co-workers or supervisors engaged in sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol
The increasing popularity of social networking has raised the stakes even higher, as embarrassing and inappropriate behavior can be captured and shared with others online. These reputation-damaging moments can be uploaded to YouTube, Tweeted or posted to Facebook within a matter of seconds and can cause long-term damage.
Furthermore, among those employed full or part-time who saw inappropriate information or photos of their co-workers or friends on social media, more than half (56%) observed repercussions for this co-worker or friend professionally or personally due to the inappropriate information or photos becoming public. In fact, 36 percent indicated that person’s reputation in the workplace was damaged and nearly 20 percent said it raised concerns with family and friends.
“Many people use social networking sites to document their lives in real-time, including work events,” said Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, a leading addiction psychologist with Caron Treatment Centers. “A one-time mistake that might have been witnessed by a few and quickly forgotten can now have substantially more consequences because a person’s behavior can be recorded and shared with others and relived with the click of a button. In a time when job security is more vulnerable than ever – I would encourage individuals to seek help for a drinking problem before their reputation is irrevocably damaged.”
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