Drinking is such an integral part of Kiwi culture, whether it’s beers by the barbecue or beers in the boardroom after hours. Any excuse for beer’o’clock, really. I’m constantly getting alerts notifying me to the fact that someone I know has joined the I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a New Zealander Facebook group. Sad, but telling.
Epic drinking stories are a sign of pride, to be told and retold and elevated to legendary status. We had drinks this week for a colleague on his last day. Out came a story about literally crawling home after a particularly raucous evening at work (not long after joining the team…) I’ll admit I’ve had a few benders in my time, but not for a looong while, and me falling asleep at the end of it is about as exciting as it gets – I don’t get rowdy, I just get incredibly drowsy. I’m the most boring drinker EVER.
I actually kind of dread work drinks, because after a couple I’m hammered enough to call it a night. That’s why I generally stick to juice or something similar…because it’s REALLY obvious once the alcohol takes effect.
But sometimes it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable being the odd one out, you know? Sometimes people think you’re uptight or boring, and it’s ten times worse if you’re already feeling awkward. I tell myself that choosing not to drink really doesn’t affect how others perceive me, or my career, but it feels like sometimes being a team player means being a drinker.