Help! I made a drunken fool of myself in front of a client at the races

Dear Aunty B,

I made a disgrace of myself with a client at Derby Day. I drank way too much and I told my client some very blunt things about how their business was run.

My client is a very attractive woman in her 40s and although I don’t remember doing anything really bad and I certainly wasn’t sleazy, I do remember telling her she was attractive and talented and she could do so much better than working for her boss.

I now want to crawl up in a ball and die. What’s worse is that a few of my senior staff saw me in that condition. I rarely drink to excess. My only excuse is that it has been a tough year and I have been taking some medication for stress that made the effects of the alcohol worse – not that I am excusing my behaviour.

How do I get back my reputation with her and my staff without sounding pathetic? And do I mention the medication? Fortunately I have the next two days off so I can think about it.

St Kilda

Dear Pathetic,

Oh for goodness’ sake. Take a chill pill. You didn’t feel her up or drag her off to bed or take your clothes off and streak across the horse track. You just got a bit pissed, said a few silly things and made a fool of yourself. Who hasn’t done that? And no, I am not sharing.

Here is what you do. You ring the client and say you are sorry. It’s as simple as that. Tell her you rarely drink and you unusually had too much. And no you don’t mention the medication, you great nit. Your client does not need to know that you are dosing yourself up to get through the day as they probably are too and it may well lead to a discussion on side effects rather than your next business deal. So apologise sweetly, swear you will never do it again, wait for her to accept your apology and then suggest a meeting to discuss a specific issue and include others in that invite.

As for your staff? Just tell them you hope they had a great day, ask them how the bottom line is looking and run through some new ideas and strategies.

More importantly, it is not okay to keep doing what you are doing when you are so stressed you need medication. You are going to work on two things. One is better stress management. How are you going to control the stress so it is not damaging your health? Meditation? Exercise? Counselling? Hobbies to switch off?

Second, how do you change your business so that it is working better and you are not so worried about it? Now that’s what you should be thinking about!

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

This Aunty B was originally published on October 30, 2011


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