Once, many years ago when I was just starting out in business I traveled with a group to do a due diligence on a company the firm for which I worked was acquiring. There were about five of us and the group was led by my boss, a dignified older gentleman who was nearing retirement. To my mind, John was the embodiment of business excellence.
That evening we gathered in the hotel lounge for drinks. I, being in my 20s, ordered a tequila sunrise. I noticed that John gave me a bit of an unusual look when I did.
Later he took me aside and said, “never order that drink again, at least not in this setting.” He explained that it was déclassé and made me look unfit for the career to which I was aspiring.
He explained that I need to learn to drink scotch or other whiskey neat or on ice. I may order a martini. If I am feeling especially casual, a draft beer is fine. Never, ever order a drink like a tequila sunrise again.
I remember being a bit taken aback and even a little insulted. I thought he was being a snob.
At that point, I had a decision to make. I could ignore him or I could take his advice to heart.
I ended up following his advice. If I wanted to swim in the waters men such as he swam, I would need to adopt appropriate practices. I became a scotch drinker and, after a time, became quite fond of it. I think he did me favor by guiding me that day and in the following months.
Should I find myself at the Bahama Mama Cantina during Spring Break, I will, without hesitation, order a Hurricane, or any other drink that catches my fancy but, when traveling in certain circles, I will continue to follow the advice of my business mentor of many years ago.
Did I betray my class? Was I a yuppie social climber? Thoughts?