Originally published December 11, 2020.
Oh, man. Remember before Covid how you’d work at your job and occasionally there would be a happy hour event? Some places have it very regimented. For instance, I worked at an office that had happy hour the first Friday of every month. That was even better because the company paid the tab. But sometimes it’s just a group of people who all happen to work at the same place agreeing to meet at a bar and have a few after work. Happy hour can also be one of the best situational beers you can ever have.
I, for one, miss work happy hours. Happy hours are weird because you really only know most of these people because you work in the same place. It’s a time when you can learn things about each other. Phil in accounting only drinks frozen daquiris. Sheila in HR followed the Grateful Dead around in the 80s. Mike, the new guy, played minor league baseball. Kathy in sales is part of a throuple. It’s fun learning about people.
But what makes learning even better is the continued mystery. If you have a friend who is part of a throuple, for instance, you’re probably gonna learn a lot more about how their living arrangement works. But if it’s just Kathy who you only see at happy hour or in the break room? Nope, you’re not gonna learn much. However, it’s better that way. It’s good to have some distance from your work buddies because you spend a huge amount of time around them and it’s just better to not know everything about them.
That said, you and all your coworkers have a significant shared experience. This is the best catalyst for the happy hour. The best happy hours—the happiest hours, if you will—happen after a big event. Maybe your company is being audited and everyone has been working hard to prepare for it. Or maybe you just worked a Black Friday shift at Best Buy. Perhaps the CEO got arrested and perp-walked out of the building as a news crew filmed it. Whatever the big event, it leads to the best happy hours.
The point is this: Work happy hours are great. They have also likely been nonexistent during Covid. There’s no telling how long it will be before happy hours are common again, and even then the first several will be awkward. Some folks still won’t want to be in a crowded bar, others will hate the mask requirement or temperature reading or whatever the bars do after they are back open but before they are back to pre-Covid freedom.
So happy Friday! Even if you’re working from home, even if you don’t care that it’s Friday, even if you don’t drink, try and recreate that end-of-a-long-week, kick-back-and-relax feeling today. It’s been a long year and we’re two weeks out from Christmas. It doesn’t matter if you’re limping, it only matters that you cross the finish line.