Swirls: drinking like ‘Mad Men?’ Don’t even think about it – not even wine

If you've watched "Mad Men," then you known that just about every other office or business scene in the hit cable series includes a drink. Not wine, of course. This is the early 1960s, when Tom Collins, the Old Fashioned and the Martini reigned. And the hour of the day hardly seems to matter. Fast forward to 2010.  mad menThese days, when was the last time a colleague suggested a drink in his office, or even a glass of wine at lunch? With that in mind, I read with interest about a study of current views on alcohol among managers in the business world. Their attitudes have, indeed, changed since the days when their fathers were doing business over cocktails back in the ‘60s.

Two researchers, Scott Rick of the University of Michigan and Maurice Schweitzer of the University of Pennsylvania, looked specifically at how the managers viewed job applicants who ordered a glass of wine (it happened to be the “house merlot”) during a dinner meeting. In their study, presented to the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, they asked more than 600 middle managers to watch a video depicting a series of mock interviews involving a  manager and a prospective hire. Depending on the scenario, the manager ordered either the merlot or a Coke. Even if the manager went for the merlot, the applicant was seen as less “intelligent, scholarly and intellectual” and less worthy of being hired if he, too, ordered a glass of wine. So, enjoy the cocktail culture on “Mad Men,” but stick with Coke when it comes to jobs and work in 2010. (More on the study from Reuters.)


  1. What if the applicant ordered a more intelligent choice of wine than the "house Merlot"? [shudder!] If you order what I order, I'll think you are just sucking up to get the job. Demonstrate to me you know good wine - perhaps even suggest to me a better choice -- and I might think you are MORE "intelligent, scholarly and intellectual".

  2. Thanks for the comment. I agree that "house Merlot" was probably not the best choice for their exercise inasmuch as there must have been at least a few sophisticated wine drinkers among the hundreds of managers who screened the video. Seen anothe way, perhaps one would not want to work for a boss who ordered the "house Merlot."