Dr. Paul Hokemeyer is the author of one of favorite features: Shrink Rap, which focuses on hot-button physical, mental and emotional health challenges that influence pop culture. The formula is simple: Paul writes a post on a subject of interest and then we get on the horn to delve deeper. Not this time. This time, the study was conducted by the Caron Treatment Centers, Paul’s New York office, and he brought the results to our attention. The topic – and here I am quoting the headline of the summary report  – “Drinking With Colleagues Over the Holidays Can Permanently Damage Your Reputation” (published October 2011).

Not to overstate the obvious, yes, the holidays can be joyful and jolly. Or they can be a very very awkward time of the year. TV and movies hold up a mirror to our foibles, which come out of the closet like the portrait of Dorian Gray, especially when mistletoe and booze mix.

Remember the way you cringed as you watched Bridget Jones in rare (and unfortunate) form at her office party? The recipe for disaster in that film was one part champagne, one part granny panties, and a generous helping of seriously hunky men. To put it mildly, our heroine was both shaken and stirred.

In a segment of “The Office,” “Secret Santa,” booze, flashing and gifts swaps proved to be (once again) a toxic combo. Then there was the time Elaine Benes of “Seinfeld” danced for co-workers at an office party to prove she could shake a shoe with the best of them. Turned out not so much. The incident was described as “a full body dry heave set to music.” And it went viral ’cause Jerry caught the performance on video. You wouldn’t want to be there or one of the crowd when the Sterling Cooper ad men and women of “Mad Men”  indulged in heavy drinking at an office bash and things got bloody.

Thus chastened we return to the Caron study conducted on line in the U.S. by Harris Interactive in September 2011 among about 1,000 adults 18 + employed full or part-time. Quoting some of the time-line results:

Of those who are employed either full or part-time and have seen someone under the influence of alcohol behave inappropriately at a work-related outing:
•    30 percent have seen someone flirt with a co-worker or supervisor
•    28 percent witnessed a fellow party-goer drive drunk
•    26 percent indicated a colleague or supervisor shared inappropriate details about themselves or a co-worker
•    19 percent witnessed someone arguing or becoming aggressive with a colleague or supervisor
•    Nine percent claimed co-workers or supervisors engaged in sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol

For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact
To go deeper into the findings right here and now, click the “play” button and listen to what Dr. Paul has to say.

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