Working with a Hangover for Beginners
So you celebrated the Fourth a little too hard, and now all the fireworks are inside your skull? Sounds like you need a lesson in working through a hangover to…work through a hangover.
Hangovers are a necessary part of life (well, an interesting life). Their very existence teaches us a very important lesson about the nature of mankind. Some time, long long ago, the first man to ever drink alcohol must have woken up the next day feeling like he’d been trampled by a mammoth and then subsequently swallowed by a saber-toothed tiger. Instead of rationally classifying this new beverage as “poison,” he shrugged, thought “worth it!” and made some more.
This is the spirit that we must embrace when dealing with hangovers in modern society. Now we here at Man Cave Daily have already given you one guide to handling your hangover like a Viking but that guide dealt primarily with the days when you’re not expected to be anywhere and can spend the whole day recovering.
This guide is for those mornings when you wake up, covered in club-stamps and sweating lighter-fluid only to realize that you’re due at work in 15 minutes.
By following these simple steps you can ensure that, while your day won’t be pleasant, you’ll at least still have a job at the end of it.
Disclaimer: This advice applies only to minimum wage, crappy jobs. If you’re a doctor, airline pilot or fire-fighter please do not follow any of this. Look out instead for my forthcoming article “So You’ve Turned Up, Still Drunk, to Open-Heart Surgery.”
We covered this briefly in the other piece but, if some of my co-workers over the years were any indication, it really needs to be repeated. There are those that think that the shower is a necessary casualty of war in the hungover morning rush to work but these people are mistaken…and pungent.
Trust me on this, no matter how late you’re running or how little a difference you think it’ll have, make time for a quick shower. In my experience most bosses would prefer you to turn up ten minutes late and showered to arriving on time smelling like a brewery fire.
Remember, your body is trying desperately to get rid of all the poisons you put in it the night before your sweat-glands represent the path of least resistance. Don’t think a quick spray of Axe body spray will do in a pinch. Hungover sweat is immune to most deodorants, industrial solvents and exorcisms. A five minute shower before leaving the house will not only wake you up and make you look a tiny bit more presentable but it will dramatically increase your popularity with the people you work with.
Actually do some work
Ok, so you’ve clocked into work and, thanks to your shower, you can almost pass for an actual human being under a poor light. Now you have to make it through your shift without drawing unwanted attention from your manager or supervisor. Your first instinct is going to be to hide and try do as little work as possible and, while I can respect that spirit, it’s actually the worst thing you can do. Most managers will spot this a mile off and inflict terrible revenge.
No, what you want to do instead is to find the most boring, menial and repetitive task there is and spend the day doing that. Every workplace has a job that nobody enjoys doing: things like cleaning the stockroom, filling in bureaucratic forms or hosing down the porn stars between takes. Grunt work.
As soon as you get into work start into one of these jobs, it may seem counterintuitive but it will actually save you energy in the long run. Managers are usually so happy that these tasks are getting done that they’ll leave you alone. Yes, it’s boring but you’re brain isn’t really in any condition for any truly intellectually challenging work anyway. Best of all, these jobs don’t involve dealing with people, which is actually the most difficult thing to do when hungover.
Space out your breaks
It’s always tempting to take an early lunch on days like these. Just so you can get some coffee into you and throw-up in the peace and comfort of the staff bathroom. This is a short-sighted tactic though. Yes, it breaks up the initial part of the day, when you’re feeling the most pain and nausea but it overlooks the sneakier more subtle aspect of the hangover that comes later: The weariness.
Just because the initial awfulness of the hungover has passed doesn’t mean your suffering is over. No, once your body overcomes the headaches and nausea it realises that passing out after 15 tequila shots doesn’t actually count as sleep and tries to remedy this problem.
The weariness isn’t as objectively terrible as the post-waking experience but it makes those last couple of hours of any work-day stretch to what seems like infinity. If you space out your breaks you can you divide up this eternity into easier to manage chunks, refuelling with coffee and junk food to get you through the next leg.
“But, wait!” I hear you cry “My job doesn’t allow me to choose what I’m doing for the day or when I take my break. All that stuff is assigned by the manager.” Well, narratively convenient reader, that’s where teamwork and paying it forward comes in.
Teamwork among employees is an essential part of the smooth running of any business and that extends to when one of the employees accidentally spent the night before his 9 hour shift downing Jager-bombs. This means that you cover for your buddy who’s still got Sharpie all over his face from last night’s party and take his shift on the returns desk (a death sentence if you’re hungover) on the unspoken agreement that he’ll do the same for you some day.
It’s a sacred bond between minimum wage workers everywhere that when the boss asks where your co-worker is, you don’t say “He’s decorating the loading bay with last night’s Taco Bell,” you say “Oh! I think he’s helping a customer take stuff to her car.” It’s Good Samaritanism mixed with a bit of good old fashioned mutually assured destruction and that’s the sort of attitude that this great nation was built on.
I suppose, theoretically, you could avoid all of this effort and pain just not drink on a school night. But then what would you do with the money that you earned? Save it?
Don’t be ridiculous!
Richy Craven is an Irish freelance writer and semi-professional idiot. You can check out more of his stuff over at Cracked, A Series of Terrible Decisions or keep up with his ongoing quest to find gainful employment on Twitter.