Is it ok to start smoking and drinking for networking

Anurag Singal
3 min readMar 12


Hello friends, we all want to grow in career.

We always wanted to be popular in school time and be surrounded by friends

In career also, we want that all our office colleagues also gel well with us.

So, during that process, we have the temptation to start smoking, drinking and consume hookah, so that we can do networking more smoothly.

This can happen in a B school campus, it can happen in an office, it can happen in a vendor-client relationship.

Whenever you smoke or drink alcohol with a person, then in the immediacy of the event, your interaction becomes warm because you are partners in crime.

So, when you put down your foot and say that I don’t do all these things, people will be like “Oh what a boring man, what is the point of being friends with him, he is only work-work-work person or doesn’t know how to enjoy life.

That temptation is a very strong temptation when you start feeling isolated that you are standing in a party and half of them are drinking, they have glasses in their hands and only you and maybe one or two of your friends are with you.

Some people say that lets at least drink beer, some say we will drink wine — it has only some alcohol in it, so that we can blend in with the others.

Some say, smoking is okay, a few cigarettes won’t matter much.

But these people miss out the larger point of view that these things become addictive over a period of time.

Then these relationships often end because they are co-terminus with your employment in the company. Maybe, vendor-client relationship stops, and still your brain wants that nicotine, the surge from the sip of alcohol, that kick from hukkah. Now, even without that networking relationship, your brain will keep asking for it because your brain has adapted it in the muscle memory. And then the long-term consequences of that for you and your loved ones

One thing that you must consider at this point is how strong will be your conviction when bosses say “Anurag, if you don’t drink, how will you make friends on the work front? How will be people confide in you over alcohol when you spent a few hours after office over alcohol”. You have to out your foot down and say — “Fine, I don’t want to grow so fast in my career”

If you like doing this, it’s a separate story. But to justify this on the pretext of networking, that otherwise I will be isolated, that otherwise I will be an outlier, is absolutely not justified in my view.

And I have seen ’n’ number of people in my life who have grown in their career, without all this. They have sent a clear message to society that they will grow in their career on the basis of work, on the basis of their professional relationships. Addiction-based after-work relationships work wonders short run, there is a dopamine driven relationship. During my training sessions, I suddenly notice there is a special bond of solidarity between two people. I ask them — Do you smoke together — and they say “Yes”. How did you recognize. And I reply — Of course, that is how psychology works.

In the long term, it is not true that because of these addictions, you will be able to succeed more, will get more avenues for networking. The base of enduring relationships cannot be so shallow. Deep relationships are forged when you help people in times of need, when you counsel them etc. There could be multiple reasons why people start respecting you, appreciating you and make friends with you.

In essence, what I am saying is that, don’t justify your walking on this path only on the pretext of networking. I have so many people who have joined large corporates and justified drinking, else how would they survive there — who feel they will crack deals in Investment Banking & Consulting over drinks, who join marquee B-schools and start on this path, saying “I have spent so much money to come here. How will I become one of them, if I don’t smoke and drink together.

It is this alibi that I have a reservation against. Because, for short term gains, you are bracing yourself for long-term impact on health.

What are your views on this