What's Your Problem?

My teetotal boss has become impossible to work with...

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: My boss has given up alcohol for a month and has become incredibly difficult to work with. It has only been a week but already we're dreading seeing him in the morning and we're also having to forgo our lunchtime and after-work drinks in case of offending him. How do we survive another three weeks of this?

A: The short-term answer is simple: hang on in there. Another three weeks may seem a lifetime, but it isn't. In the longer term, however, you should be more concerned. A boss who is agreeable to work with only when he's liquored up is no great prospect.

The fact that he has now gone dry for a month might just mean that somebody has given him a fright - so it's possible that his month on the wagon is the first stage of a return to moderate drinking. For his sake - and yours - I sincerely hope so. All being well, he'll gradually become easier to work with again. However, if he continues to be impossible to work with, it will soon become apparent to your management.

And if that's the case, he's got a real problem - and I'm afraid there's almost nothing that lower-ranking work colleagues can do. It's such a serious and delicate matter that only his family, his doctor and his management are in a position to deal with it.

Meanwhile, just be as patient as you can and try not to put temptation in his way.

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