Unexpectedly Intriguing!
21 June 2007

The company picnic is an event held every summer by thousands of employers to show their appreciation of their employees. And what better way to build team spirit than by assembling the company's employees together for several hours at a remote outdoor location on the hottest day of the year for the sake of feeding them inexpensive hot dogs, hamburgers and potato chips?

Did we mention that this celebration is almost always scheduled on a day the employees would normally be off-work?

So there has to be a powerful motivating factor for so many employees to attend the company picnic every year. We don't really have any evidence to support this, but we personally believe that powerful motivating factor is "free beer."

But that leads to an ethical dilemma. Since you as an employee are going to be observed in this activity by both your bosses and your co-workers, it might not be a good idea to have as much beer as you can drink, even if it is "free." After all, you might end up saying or doing things that will come back to haunt you in more ways than we can count.

So how many beers should you have at the company picnic?

The good news is that Geek Logik author Garth Sundem has already balanced the important factors that can affect your decision of when to say when in a mathematical equation. Our tool below puts it all together for you and finds where you should draw the line.

Job and Consumption Data
Input Data Values
Your Tolerance Level.
How many drinks does it take to push you over the edge?
Your Boss's Tolerance Level.
How many drinks does it take to push him or her over the edge?
Number of Drinks Your Boss Is Likely to Consume
How much do you like your job?
(1-10 with 1 being "McJob" and 10 being "dream job")
Your Current Standing with the Company.
(1-10 with 10 being "I unloaded overstock of down parka to the Masai at a markup.")
Innings of Softball Played
(Convert other painful recreation, such as number of karaoke songs sung or minutes of retirement speeches listened to, to equivalent "innings".)
How alert do you need to be tomorrow to troubleshoot the fallout from today?
(1-10 with 1 being "tomorrow is a holiday," and 10 being "tomorrow I arbitrate Middle East peace talks.")

Your Personal Limit
Calculated Results Values
The Maximum Number of Beers You Should Have

Garth Sundem explains the dynamics of the math behind this tool:

The most important factor is how many drinks the boss has - if he is doing tequila shooters, this releases many of the constraints you might otherwise feel. Additionally, if you don't have to be alert tomorrow or if you don't like the job much anyway, you might consider tying one on.

The complex variable in this equation is your current standing in the company - to exceed your recommended daily drink allowance, you need either very strong standing (because your reputation can handle it) or very low standing (because at that point, who cares?), with those in the middle of the spectrum maintaining sobriety.

Keep in mind, the number you get from this equation is only a suggested maximum, and, like the speed limit, you are not compelled to actually meet this maximum. And speaking of driving - this equation assumes that someone sober is driving you home.

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