In my circles of friends, colleagues, and likewise, drinking alcohol is something fun to do as a group. Hitting happy hour after work, or doing a few rounds at the bar are common and acceptable things in most societies. But, what happens if you try to keep up this habit too often, or if you take it too far? Alcohol can easily become an addiction. Even if it doesn’t, it may ruin your career if you don’t watch out!

Does Drinking Affect Your Career?

If you are only drinking a few drinks at night, or saving your nights out for the weekend, you may not see any impact on your career at all. But, if you’re a lifestyle drinker, and you go out during the week or more than 2 to 3 nights per week, you can see a negative impact on your career overall.

You don’t even have to be drinking with co-workers to see the negative side of things, although this might not make anything better for you. After all, drinking too much at an office Christmas party is often listed as one of the worst things you can do for your career, because the potential mistakes you’ll make while you’re under the influence of alcohol.

Why Drinking Can Be a Negative Force for Working People

You can see the career negatives of drinking in a few ways. The most obvious way is that you might not be as responsible with your time or efforts. Drinking too much the night before work can make it hard to show up on time in your best shape the next morning. If you’re nursing a bad hangover, you may not even show up at all. If you do get to work and you still have a hangover, it’s going to be hard to put your best foot forward and do a great job at work, as you’ll find it hard to concentrate and focus on working.

Drinking too much can sap away a large chunk of the money you earn. If you’re spending more than about 1-5% of your income on alcohol, that’s not a good sign, especially in higher earning jobs. This number might sound low, but it’s only a small amount of money if you go out a lot or if you drink a lot in bars. The problem with spending a lot on going out and drinking is that it can make you more prone to poor career choices. You won’t be able to save as much if you’re constantly spending on drinking, so you are more likely to make short-sighted decisions that might seem like they’ll bring in more money.

Regular heavy drinking is also going to have a poor effect on your health. The worse your health is, the worse your performance will be at work. Low performers aren’t likely to get ahead in the world of fast-paced business and an ever-growing, replaceable workforce. Self-inflicted medical issues from things like heavy drinking are more likely to hurt your career than medical problems coming from non-intentional sources of harm.


These reasons may not be convincing enough to make you stop drinking altogether, but it’s best that you’re aware of the potential career negatives of drinking. Most career fields are not compatible with a drinking lifestyle, so you might find that what you consider to be a fun pastime is actually hurting your chances of improving your position in your work life.

If your drinking has become a more serious issue and you’re not sure you can stop it on your own, there are resources available to help you with that as well.