• Single, professional, higher income, educated men and women may be more at risk of alcohol abuse
  • Having a drink with friends or co-workers can be great, safe fun if you keep to your limits
  • Know the details of your employer's alcohol policy
  • If you work in the hospitality industry, receive thorough training on how to deal with intoxicated people

'Traditionally, men drink more than women in most societies where alcohol is consumed'

Both men and women have been found to consume more alcohol as their incomes rise. Research in the US suggests that women who drink more than average are likely to be single, divorced or separated; have no children; have an advanced level education; and to be employed in an occupation dominated by men. Research from the UK has reported similar results. This means that successful, independent, modern women often drink more than their mothers and grandmothers.

When having a drink with colleagues or for business functions, remember that your body reacts to alcohol differently than your male colleagues. Be careful not to match the men drink for drink because alcohol may affect your system more quickly. Take care of yourself by eating a meal and drinking plenty of water if you plan to drink alcohol.

For most people – both men and women - the experience of moderate alcohol consumption is a positive and pleasurable one. Knowing your personal limits and talking to your doctor about what level of drinking – if any – is right for you is good advice for any responsible woman.

Employer alcohol policies

Does your employer have an alcohol policy? Many governments are encouraging employers to adopt a clear policy on alcohol and many are doing so.

Once it was acceptable to have a drink at lunchtime, but it is common now for employers to frown upon or ban alcohol consumption during the work day. They may also set a limit on how much alcohol is acceptable for an employee to have in their bloodstream during working hours. So, if you drank to excess the night before, you may be over the limit the next work day and put your job at risk.

Drinking and work just don't mix. Some employers, such as airlines, may have a zero tolerance approach and insist that staff have no trace of alcohol in their blood during working hours. People who drive or operate machinery for a living will find that rules about alcohol are stringent, and any breach may break the law. Health workers, the police, military personnel, and those caring for children are among other professionals who are subject to strict rules concerning alcohol.

Working in the business

A career in hospitality can be great fun, but it can be challenging at times. Sometimes you will have to say 'no' to customers who may not like it. You should receive thorough training on how to deal with people who are intoxicated and/or aggressive and how to defuse these types of situations. If things get difficult, you should hand the situation over to management or, if in a management position yourself, to the authorities.

Keep in mind that drinking and work don't mix – be sure to know and follow your employer's alcohol policy and be careful when having a drink with colleagues or at a business function. Remember that respect and decorum go a long way for men and women alike in the business world.