Having a casual hang out with colleagues is always a good idea as it allows the reinforcement of a positive and friendly working environment. This in effect is the key to a more productive organizational structure.
However, it can also go horribly wrong.
As a PR professional, your colleagues are not restricted to your own firm but in fact can extend to people of the same industry, clients or worse – media. The key to interaction at leisure is to always remember – it is called happy hour for a reason. Means no shop talk! Here are some simple rules that can help you stay clear of potential conversations that may go sour.
- Avoid gossip
After a long day at work, you might let down your guard and steer the conversation to a negative place. It’s never a good idea to make happy hour into a place to vent about everything you hate about the workplace. This may help you vent and feel better for the time being but may not give the best impression about you to your colleagues.
Bitch sessions about work should stay restricted to limited friends or a spouse – anywhere else and you may as well burn your CV and stay stuck in your ‘sucky’ job for time immemorial.
- Watch what you say
Even worse than gossip are threatening remarks. Just as in the case of media, remember – you are never off-the-record with work buddies. Speaking out of turn or acting too smart may lead them to judge you. You want to keep your reputation as a competent, reliable employee in tact. Don’t give in your two cents into conversations just because you should take part. Nobody likes a know-it-all and it is completely acceptable to be a listener.
- Keep it kosher
Happy hour doesn’t necessarily have to mean the consumption of alcohol. It can just as easily be a relaxing coffee date with your work buddies. Just a light unwinding session to shake off the happenings of the day.
- Remember, it’s called happy ‘hour’ for a reason
Don’t linger, because you might end up making a casual relationship with work mates into an intense heartfelt debate. You don’t want to be the talk of the office come Monday because you disclosed too much. Keep it clean – keep it classy!