Post # 1
Bees, I don’t know where to post this.
I work in academia and there is a colleague that was out of work for a while to as she said “take care of personal stuff”. She said she was going to a clinic but didn’t tell why.
She has been back for 2 months now.
Today i went to her office, which she shares with another colleague, whom I was looking for.
And when I got there she was drinking from a bottle of vodka! She quickly put the bottle in a bag (those reusable from groceries stores, but I saw it!!!!!!!!
She was obviously shaken and I was worse!
I am still shaking!
I do’t know what to do! Id din’t say anything, she neither. I went back to my lab and the person I was looking for saw I was not ok. I told her what happened. But now I don’t know if I should have or if I should tell my supervisor?
Is it a “it’s not of your business thing”??? I don’t know how to deal with this… I like the girl and I want to help but I am not even sure I am ‘allowed” to say something to her?
Post # 3
This is a tough spot! If she is drinking on the job, yes, you should mention it to your supervisor, especially since she could potentially endanger others drinking while working (you mentioned lab, I see mixing chemicals and explosions/gasses). Also, being part of a university (assumption based on the mention of academics), I would think this is highly against poilicy.
If she was hiding the alcohol, I would highly doubt she is willing to admit she has a problem, and she will likely get very defensive about it. Everything in her actions (and history) point at alcoholism to me, and while you may not want to get involved, she could be dangerous to herself and others if not confronted in some way.
Post # 4
I would have laughed about it, turned around, and walked off. Not my business, don’t want to get involved.
Post # 5
OMG what a weird situation she put you in by doing that! If she’s not a good friend or close acquaintance, I suppose I’d ask myself, could she harm herself or others (students?) by drinking on the job? If not, yeah I’d try to forget and not mention it to anyone. Poor woman, that’s sad. 🙁
Post # 6
I’m a big believer in dealing directly with the person. We don’t know for sure why she was off work, or what type of clinic she was attending.
We do know that you saw her drinking from a bottle of vodka on the job.
I would approach her and say “I am very concerned that I saw you drinking from a bottle of vodka on the job.I need you to report yourself to the supervisor or I will have to do that for you. I am willing to go with you if you could use the support.”
She may be very upset, deny everything- who knows. She may also be eternally grateful (some day) that she was caught soon and an intervention taken, if she in fact was in rehab.
Post # 7
Post # 8
@julies1949: I absolutely agree. Give her the option of asking for help instead of being backed into a corner, threatened and blindsided. She needs help regardless of whether she seeks it or not. I wouldn’t let it go though, as you have now been involved in this situation.
Post # 9
I honestly can’t say how I would respond. I’ve worked in jobs where having a drink at lunch or even during office hours not at a meal was no big deal. Of course, they were highly social jobs. Hell, once we had a ton of beer left over from a charity event, and the only place in the office to store the cases was under our desks. So, yeah, a person who visited might wonder why we all had about 2-4 cases of beer under each desk. And, yeah, sometimes as things got closer to quiting time, we’d go grab a leftover drink out of the fridge and take a break in the front room.
So, while the context of my work situations sounds vastly different from your work environment, OP, it just goes to show how much you need to think about any form of context whatsoever. The hiding, to me, indicates the biggest issue. Whether it’s a sip of vodka or a bottle of beer, if drinking is accepted in the workplace, then she wouldn’t need to hide. If you do report her, make sure you give the full circumstances surrounding the incident and why you felt it was inappropriate.
I also remember when I started a job and one girl who came on board the same week came up to me freaked out because she saw a bottle of wine in the desk drawer of her supervisor. She thought it meant her boss was hiding liquor that she would drink on the job. I pointed out that we were in DC at the time where most offices had a relaxed view on such things, and that since it was a bottle of wine that she probably didn’t want just anyone to grab up, it made sense to hide it in her desk until whatever special event inspired her to open it up. So, yeah, just because alcohol is hidden doesn’t always mean bad news, either. It’s just a matter of context.