In the Black(out)

Help. Blacked out with two new clients who are closer to my dad’s age last night after my boss left. I have no idea what happened ... but I do know that I do dumb things when I black out (think: Wolf of Wall Street). My boss has a scheduled follow up with them next week. My boss is not really tolerant of the “lifestyle” that goes along with the financial services industry. Do I reach out to them in the meantime?

Immediate next step – yes, call the clients.  Age doesn’t matter here, chemistry does.  Obviously you were all enjoying each other’s company long enough for a blackout to occur, so let’s assume those bonds will survive the harsh light of day.  You don’t have to cop to the blackout – you’re just calling to check in.  Something like: “I had a great time hanging out with you guys last night - hopefully I didn’t let things get too out of hand.” That’s an ambiguous enough opener - you should be able to get some sense of what the highlight reel may contain. If you learn some unseemly or unprofessional details about your behavior, sincerely apologize to the clients.  You want to be cool enough to hang with, but never to the point that you embarrass them, yourself, or your firm. Make that point crystal clear.  If you’re professionally and appropriately contrite, I doubt they’re going to call you out to your boss. On the other hand, if the highlight reel is embarrassing AND they loved it?  Proceed with caution.  Given your pre-disposition to blacking out, consider this experience a free pass, and keep your reins tighter the next time you’re hanging with them. 

 Longer term – Your boss (since they are in fact, your boss) has obviously achieved some success with a value system that doesn’t “tolerate the lifestyle” you assume to be a pre-requisite in your industry.  Please reflect on that fact and revisit some of your core assumptions.  You have a (hopefully) long career ahead of you. And it will present you with plenty of opportunities to achieve greatness, make huge mistakes, build or trash your reputation.  Let’s also assume you’re going to be wildly successful someday, which means you will be surrounded by rivals who may relish your demise.  Don’t give them easy ammunition because you were a sloppy rookie. If you know you’re prone to overindulgence, blackouts, or other behaviors that can be used against you someday, blow off that steam with only your most trusted circle. C’mon dude, button up.  Be smart.  Now go kick some ass. 

Bossy SkirtComment