Posted in The Work Place


On the first day of my HR role at a small consulting company, I noticed this bottle on the desk next to mine. Channeling the HR equivalent of Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls (“I’m not like a regular mom, I’m a cool mom“), I looked the other way.



Then, I thought about duty of care/health and safety/risk management/wellbeing etc, and I took my usual circumspect approach to dealing with such issues: when the guy was away from his desk, I whispered to his neighbour, “PSSSSSST. What’s the go with the vodka bottle?”

I was reassured by a number of people that it contained water, and they all laughed a jolly laugh at my sort-of concern. Then I asked, “has anyone actually checked?” And the laughter stopped. So, I put myself in the danger zone and checked. (The bottle was full of water.)

I was torn between admiration for the guy using a Vodka bottle for his water, and concern that I might just have to check it every day, in case he was mixing things up. (I didn’t, and he wasn’t, although he left the bottle behind when he exited the company some months later. And it was never used again…)

So, today’s tip is to stay hydrated at work. And, if you’re going to use a vodka bottle, or a bleach bottle, or a bluebottle to serve up your water, make sure you (a) declare it to HR, (b) are not drunk at work, and (c) are so good at your job that no one second guesses what’s in the bottle.


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