My boss is a lush! When she is sober, she is respectful and appropriate – like a pillar of society – but get a few drinks in her and look out! All decorum goes out the window and she starts letting loose with nastiness you wouldn’t believe. No one is immune from her barbed tongue and she shreds the people we work with. Unfortunately for us, she likes to take her employees out for lunch and she’s got it in her head that it’s ok to drink during work hours as long she’s not at work – maybe she was a lawyer in a past life, always spotting the technicalities? Her comments are so bad we can hardly look people in the eye when we return to work. What can we do to zip her drunk, loose lips?
–Valanda, Charleston, SC
The influence of alcohol on a relationship is always complex. Since you are not in a position to ask your boss not to drink alcohol, my suggestion is that you avoid situations in which alcohol might be consumed. If you boss wants to go out for lunch, suggest a place where alcohol is not available for sale, or order in. In those situations where you absolutely cannot avoid your intoxicated boss, I recommend that you avoid engaging your boss on any of the inappropriate subjects that she might wish to raise. This means staying silent when the subjects arise, or changing the subject as soon as the time seems right. If you do decide that you want to broach the issue with your boss – a risky undertaking at best – never bring up any troublesome issue when a person is under the influence. For the best response, always wait until the person is sober.