How to Use the Office Happy Hour to Grow Your Career
Work + Life Balance

How to Use the Office Happy Hour to Grow Your Career

by Jessica Howard
Photos Lauren Kallen | August 18, 2015

THE OFFICE HAPPY HOUR IS THE PERFECT PLACE FOR A BUSY CAREER WOMAN TO MEET NEW PEOPLE AND MAKE A STELLAR IMPRESSION. 

Good for you! You’re putting yourself out there with your coworkers and you’re going to this week’s happy hour. You can even kill two birds with one stone: sip on your favorite cocktail and grow your career! {Click to Tweet

By attending your office’s happy hour, you’re developing relationships with your colleagues and even upper management. But it’s not all about drowning your sorrows or rehashing the latest office drama over drinks. There are ways to utilize these after-hours conversations to boost your career.

By attending your office’s happy hour, you’re developing relationships with your colleagues and even upper management. 

Here’s how: 

TALK TO SOMEONE NEW

We all know the people we constantly work or chat with around the coffee machine, but happy hour is the time to chat with someone new. {Click to Tweet} Strike up a conversation with that person you see in the halls, but don’t really know. Ask them questions—what they do at your company, who do they work with/for, what are their career ambitions are, and what do they like to do in their spare time? You never know who that person knows. Heck, they might even share your love of cooking, reading presidential biographies, or training for marathons.

And remember, you already have something in common: your workplace!

Related: Dealing with the Playground Mentality at Work

TALK TO HIGHER UPS

It’s a happy hour, so mingle! You don’t have to sit and have an hour-long conversation with one person. After you have had a decent gab fest with someone new, move on and talk to the highest level executive there.

After you have had a decent gab fest with someone new, move on and talk to the highest level executive there.

This will be great one-on-one face time for you, and will show that you’re willing to talk to anyone. Ask her how she feels about where the department/company is headed, and throw in your thoughts, as well. She may share your opinion with her colleagues, and give you insight on how to get more involved.

Related: How to Stand Out From Your Workplace Peers

SHARE YOUR IDEAS

No matter who you’re talking to, if you start talking about a subject that lights a fire in you, share your ideas. {Click to Tweet} If you stumbled upon a conversation about the location for your next company team building exercise and you had a great experience somewhere, say it! You’ll get instant feedback and maybe even approval for you to plan the next event.

Be aware that office etiquette still applies, so don’t throw anyone under the bus—but now’s your chance to brainstorm and share ideas in a much more comfortable, laid back environment.

Now's your chance to brainstorm and share ideas in a much more comfortable, laid back environment.

Related: How to Manage Being Friends With Your Boss

BUY A ROUND

Everyone loves someone who is generous. If there’s a small enough group there—and you can truly afford it—offer to buy a round of drinks. If someone says no, don’t pressure them. This will have an opposite effect than you intended. 

Obviously you can’t do this at every happy hour, but if this becomes a regular event, your group will most likely start taking turns. Everyone is more likely to help out someone who has done something nice for them previously.

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Next time a group of your coworkers stop by your desk around 5 PM, tag along even if you’re tired. You never know where your newfound camaraderie will take you. And at the very least, you’ll have more fun people in your network!