Dealing with pressure to do drugs at work

Some useful tips on how to cope with pressure to do drugs at social occasions with work colleagues.

From advertising and finance to construction and mining, some industries have a reputation for different types of drug use, both legal and illegal. This can be difficult territory to navigate, particularly if you are starting a new job with a strong culture of drug use. Whether in the office or offsite, it s important to remember that even though the lines between professional and social may appear blurry; whatever you do, when you are with your colleagues it has the potential to impact your career for years to come.

So if your boss or your team are using drugs, why shouldn t you?

Well for starters, there s the possibility you could do or say something while under the influence that you’ll regret later. Every other week the Australian media has a field day with a new scandal involving a disgraced young NRL or AFL player, which shows just how easily behaviour caught on camera can be the undoing of a promising career.

Another thought worth considering is the potentially detrimental effect on your ability to do your job the next day. It could impact the quality of your work or even the safety of others. There are other, more obvious consequences to consider too, like the effect on your health or possibly ending up with a criminal record.

You might have realised a while ago that saying no is not as easy as your high school health teacher made it out to be. So here are some thoughts to consider when dealing with pressure to use drugs with your work mates.

Own your decisions

Chances are if you re reading this, you already have mixed feelings about using drugs with your colleagues. If your decision is made well before a compromising situation arises, and you have an action plan, it will be much easier for you to remove yourself from that situation, and others will pick up that this is not something worth pushing with you. Remain firm and trust in your own convictions.

Try to avoid awkward situations

This is easier said than done, but if you know things look like they are heading in a direction you are not comfortable with, then it s always better to make a swift and early exit. You might think you re missing out on some important bonding or insider knowledge, but in reality you’ll be ahead of the game if you show up feeling fresh, ready and able to work the next day, rather than exhausted and worried about something you did or said the night before.

Stick to your guns

Some situations are unavoidable, so the clearer you make your position with your co-workers, the easier things will get. The first one or two times you refuse will be the hardest pills to swallow (pun intended!), but after a while, people will understand that it s not something you get involved in and it will get easier. You don’t need to be preachy or self-righteous to make your point, just briefly and firmly stating your personal position should be enough, and after a while they should get the message.

Remember it s your decision and no one else’s. The better prepared you are for a work related social situation where drugs are on offer, the happier you’ll be with the decision you make.

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