Ed. note: This post was originally published on February 7, 2012. We republish it today as a public service to the law students embarking on their summer associate adventure, where social event drinking and small talk are the name of the game. Good luck!
There’s a list that’s been going around the past two days that purports to be A Drink-by-Drink Guide for networking events.
Don’t get your hopes up. It’s not really drinking advice for legal networking events. It’s regular advice for legal networking events that happens to use the word “drink” — instead of “level” or “number” — to demarcate the five tips in the article.
It’s fine advice, especially if you are so awkward socially that you can cool off a hot craps table simply with your inability to execute a high-five.
However, as a functioning alcoholic (emphasis on FUNction), I’ve got some real advice on how alcohol can help get you through these painful and boring networking events without being so terrified of not getting a job that your scent of desperation makes everybody want to stand three feet away from you.
Here’s how to look cool and confident while knocking back a few without getting so sloshed you end up on Above the Law in the morning….
Stage 1 — Pregame:
There are some people who honestly like networking events. They like meeting people, are masters of inane small talk, and go without needing anything specific (like a job), they just go to network. F*** those people. F*** those strange humans who would rather prattle on about semi-professional BS right in the ear.
For most of us, the hardest part about a “networking” event is finding the motivation to go to a networking event. It’s painful. And it’s demeaning. Why should you have to go to some “thing” and basically beg for an employment opportunity while trying not to look like you are begging? Sometimes people who need the networking the most talk themselves out of going just because they can’t stand the fact that their lives have come to the point that they need to go to somebody’s party just to meet people.
A shot of whiskey will clear that right up. Every time you think you don’t want to go to the event, have a shot. I’m dead serious. Either you will work up the “liquid courage” to go and do what you have to do, or you’ll end up having a party by yourself. You can’t lose.
Stage 2 — What Your Drink Says About You
I swear, the next person I see show up in need of a job at a networking event only to ask for a beer, I’m gonna smack on general principle. You’re not in college anymore. If you want to be a lawyer, drink like a damn lawyer. Beer is for people who already have a job. Beer is for employers who are doing you a favor by listening to your pathetic hopes and dreams after they’ve had a long day of working for a living.
Scotch. A Martini. An uncomplicated cocktail. It’s not hard, people.
And don’t be one of those lightweights who walks around with a tall glass of water all night talking about how you “don’t drink” or have “had too much already.” That’s how you tell people “I can’t hold my liquor,” which is fine right up to the point where somebody thinks about trusting you with sensitive material. When they think about that, they wonder if the “can’t hold my liquor” guy is also the “I’ve had two drinks at a bar and now I’m spilling all the company/client secrets and OMG this appletini is delicious” guy. Even if you objectively can’t be trusted around alcohol, have a drink in your hand anyway. Have seltzer water in a tumbler so that it could be a gin and tonic. Remember….