Among the many jobs I've had over the course of my life, none was so bad as to require me to clean out greasy vent ducts or spend weeks on end doing quality control at a toothpick plant. On the other hand, I’ve never had a job in which I could feel entirely comfortable enjoying a beer while undertaking dreary and yet somehow important tasks in support of the team mission. This is in keeping with GAWD (Generally Accepted Workplace Decrees), where beer is cast as the villain.
I’ve worked a few jobs where people would routinely drink at work. One was a temp job in Syracuse, NY at a place that manufactured and repaired wooden pallets for forklifts. At lunchtime, in full view of the factory boss, several employees would have a liquid lunch consisting of beer and not much else. Even to me – an enthusiastic teenage beer drinker – it seemed only a matter of time before tragedy would visit the plant, resulting in some hapless, tipsy pallet-boy having his penis accidentally stapled to a rough-hewn board. Years later, when I worked at the Boston Phoenix newspaper, the writers would turn in their articles and then head to the Eliot Lounge* across the street to watch the news and drink a pint or two while waiting for the editor to call them back and discuss their pieces (and ask for changes). This was well before cell phones, so to reach a writer, I’d either call the bar phone and have them “send Frank back,” or else cross the street and alert him myself that he was up.
I’d thought the days of drinking during work had come and gone, until I biked over to the Modern Homebrew Emporium in Cambridge recently. Enthusiasm for beer and brewing-one’s-own takes the form of general good will and excellent service by the shop’s employees, who do business while sipping frothy brews of their own design at any old time of day. One can't help but wonder if we'd see increased economic productivity simply by getting behind a movement to bring homebrewing to the workplace.
Contacting some industry leaders in the next day or so to get some hot air under this balloon.
*(This reminds me that I watched “Operation Desert Storm” commence while having dinner in the Eliot Lounge, a civilized watering hole that was lost to history in the 1990s or so, and now is Uni Sashimi bar and/or Clio Restaurant.)