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How to Survive a Hangover at Work

This article is part of our Post Grad Survival Guide that we’ll be rolling out this summer. Join our email list to follow along all summer and email workretiredie@gmail.com if you’d like to guest write.

Last week, we discussed how to dominate office happy hours. Well, now it’s time to face the consequences of those actions and cope with the dreaded work hangover. Whether you’re back in the office or still working from your bed, Fridays are the official hangover day for office drones everywhere.

If you’re hungover at work, you have one goal: survive and advance. Here’s you get through the nightmare that is today and live to see another day.

The Official Hungover at Work Survival Guide

17 Faces Everyone Who Has Been Hungover At Work Will Recognise
You logging onto your Zoom call after blacking out on a Tuesday for some reason

1. Don’t Be Late or Look Like Shit

Look, I get it. Wednesday happy hour with your coworkers turned into K-town karaoke night and you woke up on your couch at 4 am with pizza and Bud Light all over yourself.  Every ounce of your being wants to hit snooze a dozen times, throw on a t-shirt, skip shaving or washing your hair, and roll up to your morning Zoom call as a shell of a human being.  

You need to resist this temptation and put even more work than normal into being presentable.

There’s two basic reasons why –

1. You are not mentally equipped to deal with conflict right now

The last thing you need in your weakened state is to get chewed out for missing a meeting or drawing any sort of negative attention to yourself.

2. You need a win early

Have you ever read that book “Make Your Bed”? Me neither, but I read the Wikipedia page about it and it’s a pretty simple concept. The theory is that if you start your morning by accomplishing one simple task like making your bed (which actually isn’t that simple if you live with your girlfriend and you have like 15 pillows and weird duvet things that have very specific way they need to be arranged but whatever) you’ve created momentum and structure and set yourself up for a day of productivity.

You are not going to be very productive today but taking a shower, getting to work on time, and wearing a collared shirt will fix your mindset, shake you out of your hangover doldrums and get you on the right track to not having a catastrophic day.

Pro-Tip: Take a cold shower

This will not only wake you up, but also will help reduce some of the swelling on your fat, bloated, puffy, disgusting little hangover face.

2. Provide Yourself Sustenance ASAP

Now that you’re awake and don’t smell like human shit, it’s time to give your body the fuel it needs to make it through the day.

Water

  • What’s it For?: Hydration and Cotton Mouth
  • How much should I have?: As much as possible without drowning your lungs or peeing yourself.
  • What if I don’t have it?: You’ll die

Coffee: 

  • What’s it For: Energy and Brain Juice
  • How much should I have: 3 – infinity cups. Really until you start to have heart palpitations.
  • What if I don’t have it: You’ll fall asleep at your desk or in a meeting and get fired.

Food:

  • What’s it For: Soaking up that booze in your tummy and natural energy
  • How much should I have: Keep it light. Go easy on your stomach.
  • What if I don’t have it: You’ll probably be fine but you’ll get tired and feel like shit.

Gum:

  • What’s it For: You smell like shit pall
  • How much should I have: Chomp that shit all day. At least 1 slice an hour.
  • What if I don’t have it: Not the end of the world just don’t talk too closely to people

Ultimately, you’re working towards your goal of taking 1 – 4 massive, sloppy, smelly shits. Pooping out the poison and the demons inside you is the only proven approach to beating the physical side effects of a hangover.

Be gone poison. You are not welcome here.

3. Face Your Demons

Whether you’re in person or at home, you’re going to want to hide from your boss and coworkers. Why not crawl under the covers for this conference call? Why not sit on the toilet with your head in your hands for 45 minutes? Why not just call in sick?

Because you’re not a loser that’s why. This is a blog for champions and champions play hurt.

We fake it until we make it. We raise our hand in meetings and piggy-back off our smarter colleague’s points, even if we think we’re going to throw up the second we open our mouths. We stay active in the team Slack and throw around GIFs and memes we stole from Twitter like it’s nobody’s business. We send unnecessary email updates to cross functional teams just so people know we’re actually online and definitely not on death’s doorstep.

Ultimately, you need about two hours of strength and courage to pretend to be an acceptable human being and employee so you can throw your boss and coworkers off your scent. Once you get through the morning, it’s time to take a long lunch and…

4. Find Your Nap Window

There is absolutely no shame in napping on the job. That’s why we have unions (I think.) After pushing your body to the absolute limit this morning (waking up, being present, and completing 2-3 tasks) it’s time for some well deserved rest.

If you’re working remote, obviously this is incredibly easy. The only challenge is making sure you don’t nap for too long and miss a call or end up groggy for the rest of the day. In the office, it’s a little harder but not impossible.

Book a conference room with no windows. Find a little corner. Go to that breastfeeding room. Go to your car if that’s an option. Lie down and close your eyes. Even if you don’t get some REMs in, you need this rest.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to actually sleep. You can lie down or sit on the toilet and watch an episode of New Girl on your phone for like 20 minutes. You just need a little time to yourself to regroup.  

Should You Allow Employees to Sleep on the Job? - HR Daily Advisor
My career goal is to get an office so I can comfortably nap away hangovers

5. Push Everything Until Tomorrow  

In the later part of the afternoon, the majority of your effort will be spent avoiding anything that requires actual brain power.

Here are some tips for pushing work until tomorrow, or even next week.

Meetings:

  • If you’re the meeting owner, just reschedule and say something vague like “pushing this to next week to accommodate schedules.” No one will question you.   
  • Otherwise, just simply don’t join the call. If anyone asks where you are, just say you’re “heads down on another project” and can join if the really need you (they don’t.)

Deliverable due EOD:

  • Use buzzwords to blame vague issues so no specific person has to take the fall.
  • Example: “We’re experience some unforeseen delays with our internal processes. We’ll have this for your first thing tomorrow morning.”
  • If you’re really ballsy, just send them an email that says “File Attached!” and don’t actually attach anything. By the time they notice, you’ve already signed off for the day and have bought yourself another 12 hours.

Emails that absolutely need to be sent:

  • Sure, you were supposed to circle back with that person today. Guess what? If you tried to type an email in this state, your brain would short circuit and you’d have at least a dozen career-ending typos. Just don’t do it and apologize tomorrow.
  • Examples: “Sorry, meant to send this yesterday but it got stuck in drafts!” “Apologies for the delay – yesterday was totally nuts for me!”

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