Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I enjoy a cocktail or a cold one. I’m Italian, so of course I had my first sip of wine at the age of four. My brothers are big whigs in the beer industry (love my Krombacher!) and I can personally account for a rise in sales of Hendrick’s Gin.
One can easily say that I love to drink, but I love my job even more. The two just don’t mix. My job revolves around “the party,” but I should never be “the life of the party.”
As event professionals, our job is to produce the party, not partake in it. We have a long list of responsibilities, which include, to our team, to our suppliers, the venue, our client, and to their guests.
We need to stay clear, focused and diligent. And let’s not forget, the alarm is set for early the next morning to get up and do it all over again.
So, let’s talk about the Mad-Men era of liquid lunches that changed drastically in the ’90s. That’s when mixing business with entertainment was taken off the table as an acceptable expense for income tax purposes. I remember the former owner of a renowned restaurant here in Toronto recounting stories of business tycoons and government officials whiling away long lunches over very expensive wines.
Believe it or not, things changed practically overnight as a result of the new government regulation, bringing with it a much more conservative approach towards drinking and business. Although today, we are seeing the influence of the Disrupters Era bringing in a gradual acceptance to “entertainment at work,” with beer fridges and ping pong tables becoming common place in many communal work spaces.
In my early days in special events, my love of drinking flaunted that I was “one of the boys,” which made networking in a male-dominated industry easier. When I became a business owner, my attitude matured because I wanted to be remembered as a professional who is always appropriate and contributing. I wanted to lead my team and set an example. For my business, drinking on the job wasn’t a winning strategy.
Our industry is bravely built by the hard work of so many small businesses. Unfortunately, many of these small businesses don’t have HR departments to deal with drinking policies and regulating disciplinary action for drinking on the job. Here we are again back to a reccurring theme in my blogs – self regulation.
Drinking before, during, or after an event won’t let you keep your job for very long, especially if you have to be on the job and on your toes the next day.
Event professionals (planners, venue managers, decorators, florists, entertainers, and, yes, audio-visual techs) everywhere take note: If the next event you produce starts feeling like your own private party, with a drink in hand, it may be time to consider a change in career.
Blog post by: Dana Zita