Social Question

FluffyChicken's avatar

How do you feel about people who go to work "under the influence"?

Asked by FluffyChicken (5511points) June 29th, 2011

It seems like a pretty common occurrence for people to go to work drunk or stoned, and some of them seem to manage quite well. If the person is able to conduct themselves professionally while stoned, or otherwise under the influence, is this OK? If it is OK then obviously it will depend on what the person’s job is. What kind of jobs is this ok for if it is ok?

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52 Answers

redfeather's avatar

Kinda gross. Unprofessional. No matter how they conduct themselves. If they’re goin to work drunk, and that’s usual for them, that’s a functioning alcoholic. There’s a problem.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@redfeather is it only gross if the person is using alcohol, or is it also gross if they are using marijuana?

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’m not sure how common this is… where do you work?

Once a person reaches about 23 or 24, this kind of behavior should more or less stop. Do what you want on the weekend or in the evenings, but don’t bother the rest of society with it.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@Mamradpivo I work in a hotel, but it is not a common practice there as far as I can tell. I do however know people who often go to work stoned, and in previous jobs have had coworkers like that.

KateTheGreat's avatar

I definitely agree with @redfeather.

As for weed, I smoke it quite a bit. However, I would not trust ANYONE that was under the influence of it while they were working. It strikes me as very unprofessional and it’s something you should do in your own time.

tedibear's avatar

I think it’s extremely unprofessional. I don’t care if the person can “function” or not. I want them to function to the best of their ability. And I doubt that happens if they are drunk or stoned. (Please note, I would have to leave out the use of medical marijuana because I don’t know if that would make the person function better since they’re not in pain. Of course, if you’re ill enough to need that, are you okay to work? I don’t really know.)

TexasDude's avatar

I would fire them if I was their boss.

There is a time and place for pretty much everything, and the workplace is not the place to be under the influence of recreational chemicals, legal or otherwise.

Cruiser's avatar

Fired on the spot. No if’s and’s or but’s!

Seelix's avatar

Definitely uncool. I’d fire an employee who came in drunk or stoned, regardless of what kind of job it was. It’s not only unprofessional; it shows a major lack of responsibility.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m sorry, but impaired is impaired. I“d fire them, too, I don’t care how “functional” they think they are, they’re not doing their best work for me.

rOs's avatar

First, I’d like to point out to @Mamradpivo that 23 or 24 year-olds should be smart enough to hide their recreational drug use from people who look down on it. Do you really think it is always obvious when someone is high? It isn’t, trust me.

What difference does it make if the mind-altering substance is illegal, or prescribed by a doctor? Who are we to tell someone what is right for their own well-being? If I was boss, I wouldn’t say “anything goes”, but I wouldn’t make someone take a piss-test either.

As long as they’re on point, it shouldn’t matter. stop imagining this when you think of someone who smokes, it’s that kind of prejudiced thinking causes division in people. There are good and bad versions of every type of person, why punish the former for the latter’s mistakes?

Aethelflaed's avatar

It’s not really professional, but I also understand why they do it in retail and restaurant jobs. The mind-numbing boredom of having nothing to do can make otherwise responsible people to do irresponsible things. And I’d much rather get worked up over a surgeon who operates stoned than a hero sandwich maker forgetting my spicy peppers.

@rOs Great answer.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@rOs : I agree, as long as they’re on point, it shouldn’t matter. And you’re right, you can’t always tell. But give us a bit of credit, here. We don’t imagine the hippie thing (some of us did the hippie thing) but I’ve known a lot of people who would swear that no one could tell when they were high. Even just a little “relaxed”. Guess what, we can tell a lot of the time.

josie's avatar

They are cheating their employer. Cheaters are assholes. Assholes are lower than dirt.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@josie How is that stealing? Also, no human is lower than dirt.

Plucky's avatar

I do not think it is ok. I don’t care what the job is. To come to work under the influence is very irresponsible and unprofessional.

Obviously, if the other co-workers don’t know or notice (including myself), then it isn’t much of a problem. But if I find out about it, and I were boss, I’d certainly talk to the person (if this was the first time). Depending on that information, I’d take appropriate action. I’d definately fire the person on the spot if this was not the first time – also, if they in turn expressed violence (or other abusive behaviour) towards me with little desire to change ..they’d be fired.

If I were not the boss, depending on the above circumstances, I’d certainly talk to the boss. If need be, I’d do it anonymously at first without mentioning names.

I’m all for giving people second chances. Everyone has problems and makes mistakes. Many people sincerely deserve a second chance; but some people are just assholes and deserve to be treated as such. I believe the situation in question includes both types of people. It’s usually not that difficult to tell which type you’re dealing with.

josie's avatar

@FluffyChicken If someone is not giving their best, they are stealing efficiency and time, and if they are impaired they are diminishing skill. These are the things that employer is buying with their salary. If they are giving a shitty product, it is no different than if you sold something knowing full well that it was defective.
Lower than dirt is just an expression of derision, as you well know. Asshole is probably more descriptive.

woodcutter's avatar

I can spot someone stoned pretty easily. It might take a few minutes but I will bust them, it’s pretty easy actually.
People fuck up more when they’re high, its obvious. When people fuck up they are using more time to undo the goof, which is the same thing as stealing time from the company.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@josie So by that definition, any way you are being inefficient is stealing. If you are tired and can’t give 100% on that day, you are stealing. If someone doesn’t quite understand something and needs to be taught a second time, then according to your definition they are stealing, and therefore lower than dirt. Jesus.

although I agree it is a pretty shitty thing to do to knowingly impair yourself when others are depending on you

woodcutter's avatar

There’s a difference between going through a learning curve and using up a little extra time for the short term, and impairing yourself and wasting time every time. It really gets dangerous when an impaired worker is in a company vehicle, or running potential dangerous machinery that needs complete concentration. With some companies a drug test is the first thing they do after an accident or injury.
I guess some workers get bored with their jobs and getting a buzz makes it bearable, but still

Blackberry's avatar

Im with ros and aethe. It depends on the job; and most jobs are important, but some arent and its ok to have some fun to pass the time (sorry, on ipod).

Blondesjon's avatar

What if the stoner worked in a head shop?

What if the drinker was a bartender?

I personally don’t work under the influence of anything but I’ve known a few that do and do it well. I also know a great deal of people who don’t work under the influence of anything and are still worthless as fuck.

Quit broadly generalizing about something that should be decided on a personal/situation/work record basis. Isn’t there some religious/political/santa claus thread you’re late for?

woodcutter's avatar

Birds of a feather stick together. I have personally been the recipient of back stabbing and other slanderous action from dopers. If there is one who uses on the job there are probably more. Dopers don’t like others who don’t imbibe with them, they are often viewed as a threat. It may be harder to socialize with the non user and is just plain inconvenient for them. So they may resort to getting the non user in trouble by lying about them to the boss. Especially if the users have seniority their stories will carry more weight. They really want the straight guy out and his replacement to be like them.
Now before you tokers get your knickers in a twist this is a generalization but it happened to me for real. That’s why I have little respect for you if indeed you are the type that would do this to other workers (who just want to go to work), which is really the only reason for being there…right?

Blondesjon's avatar

@woodcutter . . . If that happened to you and you couldn’t explain to your boss that the others used then I infer that your boss was a user too.

Now what sort of job did you have where the dopers rose to such heights of power, you know, since they were just a bunch of stupid dopers?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I know a girl who often came to work stoned. I found it very unproffessional. I think she thought she was cool, others just thought she was a twat.

rOs's avatar

@woodcutter, woodcutter, woodcutter….you may have read into this a little too much.


Slandering, conniving, lying, cheating the system and preferring others just like them? You are not describing smokers, you are describing people of poor character. These sloppy people do not represent the culture I’m defending.

Birth control made 3 of my ex-girlfriends bat-shit crazy, but that doesn’t mean I now think all women on birth control are imbalanced bitches. Those girls were twats already. I’m talking to you too @Leanne1986.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@rOs The girl I am talking about was a different person when she came into work stoned. When she wasn’t stoned she was ok, not the most proffessional in the world but not unbearable. When she was stoned she caused a lot of trouble at work. I can only go by this one person and I know that not everyone is like her but it had a negative effect on our work place.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Leanne1986 . . . you can get that effect 100% of the time from an unbearable dipshit

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Blondesjon Yes, you can but in this particular situation the girl was an unbearable dipshit when she was stoned and just about bearable when she wasn’t. If someone can continue to function well whilst stoned then I don’t give a shit what they do but this girl was not one of those people and so I’m not going to claim that I was ok with her actions/decisions regardless of how judgemental you think I may be because of that.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Blondesjon . . . That’s cool but I would like to point out that “just about bearable” still means unbearable.

This tells me the girl was a dipshit whose dipshittery was enhanced by her choice of chemicals.

rOs's avatar

@Blondesjon, right you are sir. Does everyone handle liquor (which is way worse than pot) the same? I think not. Same principle for everything else.

Blondesjon's avatar


Ooops! Sorry man. I just started working 3rd shift and I’m not used to being drunk by 11 in the morning yet.

who am i kidding? sure i am. i’m just a dick. wheeeeeeeeeeee . . .

Aethelwine's avatar

I’ll admit, there were a couple of times when I worked as a travel agent and I went home at lunch on a slow day and took a toke or two. I returned to work and gave travel advice and booked a few trips, just as I always did. Jesus Christ people, I wasn’t flying the plane! ;)

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Blondesjon Oh, she was a dipshit alright but my point is. If she can’t do her job to, at least, an acceptable standard when she is stoned then she shouldn’t be coming to work stoned. End of. I’m not going to defend her right to do so when she obviously couldn’t do the job she was paid to do in that situation. I’m not saying that no one should do it but I think people need to take some responsibility for themselves and be honest about whether they can do their job under the influence. If you can and there are no complaints from colleagues or customers then fine. Like I said, I can only go on one experience but I never said that everyone handles substances in the same way.

That’s cool but I would like to point out that “just about bearable” still means unbearable. How did you work that out?If she’s “just about bearable” then she is bearable surely?! Wow! Too many “bearables” in one sentence.

rOs's avatar

I think the point has already been established:

If you can’t handle your shit, its time to quit.

Also, if you are “just about” asleep, you’re still awake.

OpryLeigh's avatar

But, if you are “just about” awake, you’re not quite asleep.

rOs's avatar

touché (either way, arguing semantics doesn’t change my point)

OpryLeigh's avatar

Or mine. Although, I don’t think we disagree on the main point anyway!

woodcutter's avatar

@Blondesjon There were ex cons, (construction crew) Didn’t say they were stupid. OK a few of them were stupid. Those (who rose to power were simply there before I was hired), and have managed to be clever enough to not alert his boss that they use. The boss had to have known in fact its a wink wink deal when the help is using meth or crack because they__think they are getting more work out of them__ Each work place is different but you go ahead and snitch on the druggies and watch what happens, if you dare. There is no such thing as anonymous snitching the snitcher will be found out.
If you are lucky enough to have co workers who are ok with you not wanting to join them then there may be a workable solution. But you will always be thought of as sort of the bastard child of the crew.

redfeather's avatar

@woodcutter snitches get stitches.

woodcutter's avatar

@rOs woodcutter, woodcutter….you may have read into this a little too much…......... Explain that please. And just what is the culture you are defending? Why is it your duty to defend them, or anybody? Do they need defending like some form of endangered species? Not all users are cool like all the ones you know. None of us get to pick who we get to work with, it’s a crap shoot whether you get to work with an even keeled employee… and some insecure and paranoid prick who has allowed his habit to expand to the point that it defines them. These are the ones that will take any action they need to to keep “the life” and the job that enables them to keep “the life”. You defend this type too or just the ones who are “cool”? And do you think a business owner- the one who cuts your check is really blessed to have such an efficient drug user that may make him look bad if you are busted someday?
It’s not like job applicants are sorted into those who can be OK when high, and those who will make life a pain in the ass for the rest, when high. It is assumed they aren’t going to be high at all while at work. I really don’t think employers are making any considerations for users at all when hiring.
It was never really made clear in the question^^^ which drugs, and which high, or which under the influence this was about. It was you who made the assumption everyone was automatically thinking pot.
The average work day is 8, 10 hrs each day more or less. On a scale of 1 – 10, how hard would it be to just hold off until you got back home to light up? 1 being “its no big thing I can leave it at home, and 10 being I have a one hitter in my pocked 24/ 7 and I hit it a few times a day.
I f you have ever had to be around crack users at work then you know what dicks they can be, or any other “under the influence” trip. Here’s the thing. when people are on their own time they have the ability to leave the area if a user is making them uncomfortable, but at work, they are trapped, they just can’t leave. They need that job. Leave your smoke or whatever at home dude, it shows how strong, responsible and disciplined you are. If you can’t do that then you are just plain weak.

woodcutter's avatar

@redfeather exactly, sometimes worse

rOs's avatar

Try not to assume too much about my motives.. I’m defending a person’s right to make their own decisions- responsibly. I don’t support addiction.

woodcutter's avatar

If they are getting high at work on a regular basis, it kind of seems like addiction. If they are a functioning employee it’s because they have done it so much, their body and mind have built up a tolerance to the point they can still do passable work stoned, or at least are clever enough to reel themselves back in when they start to drop the ball. It takes a lot of practice to do this and a lot of practice to deceive others successfully in the long term. Some will be stoned so often, it comes off as normal to others. That’s when you have made the grade, I suppose, to a stoneworthy employee. Such a high station in life to aspire to…being an addict.

woodcutter's avatar

@rOs You claim to be defending a person’s right to make their own decisions responsibly? If I’m reading that right, it still looks like you believe it’s a persons right to be high at work, as long as they are being responsible. Is that an oxymoron I’m seeing there?

Aethelwine's avatar

@woodcutter Don’t cigarettes give a person a high (or at least feed an addiction)? How many millions of people get cigarette breaks at work, but you’re upset that someone may take a toke at home, before they arrive at work, to do the same work just as well as the cigarette smokers do?

woodcutter's avatar

@jonsblond That is such a stretch that its going to snap and zing you in the nose. We’re talking tobacco right?. What kind of tobacco causes impairment? Smoking tobacco is stupid but it doesn’t make one stupid. You assume too much that drug users do the same quality work as cigarette smokers? They get lucky sometimes, is as close to that claim that it is ever going to be. I think we all know that is urban doper legend that has been repeated so many times by the heads, they really think it’s fact, or at least factual enough for their purposes.
Lookit. If you want to take the leap and run your own business and let your workers toke up at work or 5 minutes before they get there go right ahead. let us know how that works out.
But if you are working on somebody elses time it is implied from the beginning that sobriety is expected. It’s their company and it is they who are assuming all the risks so they get to make all the rules. Seems normal to me that it should be that way. Getting high behind your bosses back is shitty.
There is an assumption that the workplace is a democracy. It is not. The only rights you get is safe workplace standards that vary from state to state. That’s all. They don’t owe you a job and they don’t have to keep people on their payroll they suspect are doping. Really, is it too much to expect from a worker to leave their party favors at home and come to work with a clear head?
Nothing wrong in my book with imbibing in whatever floats your boat when on your own time but that isn’t good enough for the hardcore users. They like to buzz at work too and buzz while driving on the same road as the one I’m on. trust me if a stoner lapses reality and fucks me up on the road and doesn’t kill me in the process there won’t be much left of that fucker by the time the cops get there.
I sure would like to know the origin of the claim that “being high makes us sharper”. It only makes them think they are sharper and more interesting, and that is just part of the big mind fuck it delivers. Imagine…all those super sharp doper workers who think they are hot shit while buzzin and give them the same exact tasks completely clean and sober. Will they suddenly get stupid without their “smart” drugs? Fuck no. About the only impediment to being on the beam is maybe the temporary withdrawals from the interruption of what they were using but they will be doing better at the same tasks. But you won’t get that into their heads.
If you just have to bring the shit to work or hit the pipe right before going to the job there is big time denial going on right there. It’s coming to a head one day, Lady luck will only stick by a stupid motherfucker for just so long and the shit is going to hit the fan. The thing is… will it just affect the user or will they take somebody else down, or out when they screw the pooch.
I used to know a head, and he offered some surprising words of wisdom. And what he said was this- “when you get comfortable with it, is when you get caught with it”
I’m not anti drug as long as its weed and nothing else. But when i go up to a person in a place of business and expect some assistance from this guy, (gal), I don’t want to have my intelligence insulted by them because they had a nooner blunt and they are fumbling around and wasting my time because I have to explain things to them over and over to get what I went there for. My time is way more valuable than theirs ever will be and when they waste my time, they are costing me money, and when somebody costs me money I’m going to take it personally. There’s no goddamned need for it. So…do yourselves and the rest of the productive people a really big favor and smoke your shit on your time off. You will save a shitload of money to boot.

mattbrowne's avatar

I don’t view them as being drunk. I view them as being chronically ill and in need of treatment. It’s tough to share an elevator because then it becomes so obvious.

laurenkem's avatar

I can only speak to using alcohol while working. I once hired a man to paint the interior of my house. He was a friend and he had a drinking problem. First thing in the morning, that poor man’s hands would shake so bad I would tell him to go have a drink and then come back. After that, he did impeccable work and was a stellar employee. Functioning alcoholic? Absolutely. Did he deserve to be unemployable and penniless because of his illness? In my opinion, no.

Kraigmo's avatar

A lot depends on the person using the drug, and the drug that is being used. I go to work everyday blazed. Completely ripped. Red eyes and everything. And yet, in my office, the file cabinet with 50,000 names is 99.99% accurate in all respects. The thing was a disaster before i took it over. My production is high and my intake is high quality. I treat our clients with empathy, knowledge, psychological awareness, political awareness, social awareness, and legal awareness. My Stupid Mistake ratio is far lower than the average worker. (I think, from my observations anyway). None of this means i’m great. But it does mean that a guy who is completely cracked from smoking marijuana is providing superior service, compared to the general sober population. It should be noted though, that the Fluther population is not general sober stupid. The people on this website are obviously more intelligent than average, so perhaps everyone here can share my frustration with stupid, slow, scatterbrained people at work. I’m just a pot-head that happens to be the antithesis of a stupid, slow, scatterbrained worker.

As for my stoned red eyes, I’d cover it all up with Visine if I needed to, but our type of clientele would never be upset at such a thing, so I don’t need to hide it.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Kraigmo . . . 100% accurate.

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