Hungover at Work

concentration sleep

The story is always the same: a friend calls you up on a weekday, “Let’s go grab a beer and watch the game.”  Ten beers later and probably a few drunk-dials, you collapse into bed dreading the fate that you’ve sealed for yourself tomorrow at work.

You finally wake up to the alarm that you’ve snoozed 14 times.  Then panic sets in.  “Holy shit balls, I’m late for work!”   The first instinct is to call in sick.  It’s not a lie, you’re probably worse than sick.  Don’t feel discouraged about wasting a sick day on a hangover.  Everyone does it…

Fact:  In a study, alcohol abuse and alcoholism are estimated to have cost United States workers and employers nearly $71 billion in lost employment and reduced productivity.

If you simply cannot take a sick day, the survival process begins the second you step out of bed and walk to the bathroom.  Take a shower.  It’s a must.  Your clothes smell like cigarettes, your body reeks of whiskey fumes, and your mouth is… ungodly.  Scrub off the hand-stamp from the club, dead giveaway.  If you’re a dude, shave.  Only homeless people and Gandalf can get away with not shaving.  Another telltale sign of a hangover is the eyes.  If you come in looking like Rocky Balboa, everyone is going to know you got ripped the night before.  Put cold spoons on your eyes to reduce the swelling.

Finally you’ve made it to the office.  You’ve already had two people give you the ol’, “Looks like someone had fun last night!”  Bastards.  It’s hard to concentrate, you’re less productive, and sleepy as hell.

There are two schools of thought on how to get through a hangover day at work:

  1. Try to beat the hangover – Drink coffee, splash water on your face, maybe try to force yourself to throw up.  Caveday does not recommend this approach for one main reason.  Even if you’re able to do any work, you’re just going to fuck it up and do it bassackwards anyways.
  2. Minimal possible effort – The goal here is to just survive.  Do as little as you can get away with, avoid talking to people (especially customers), and steer clear of important tasks.

Unfortunately, both approaches are ineffective.  The office is the exact opposite of an ideal hangover recovery center.  You really should have taken a caveday.  Nonetheless, below is a list of tips we compiled to help you through your day.

Work Hangover Survival Tips


If you have to puke, take great caution.  There is no way to cover up the noise of a good barf.  When you’re puking, the one-and-only thing you’re thinking about is… puking.  It’s not, “let me keep quiet, then I’ll finish this puke up, and go finish my reports.”  It’s more like “Jesus help me!  Get this poison out of my body!  Arghghhgh!”  One suggestion we have is if you share an office building with another company, use the bathroom on their floor.

Concentration sleep

This is a classic that I’ve used in every office job I’ve had.  Please refer to the picture above for a well executed concentration sleep (CS).  The purpose of a CS is to give off the impression that you’re so engrossed in your work that you actually have to put your head in your hands and focus on this important document with all of your brainpower.  What you’re actually doing is sleeping.  Its genius, I know.

Lunch nap in the car

Another classic.  Don’t commit to any lunch meetings.  Tell everyone that you’re just going to grab something real quick and come back to work.  What you’re really going to do is drive your car somewhere, park under a shaded tree, and pass the fuck out.

The Mad Dog

Similar to the concentration sleep.  This tactic is used when you’re in a meeting and someone is presenting.  If you don’t pay attention at all, you will definitely fall asleep.  Instead, scrunch your eyebrows together and stare at the presenter, as if you’re deeply focused on the message he is giving.  You don’t need to absorb anything.  Just look like you care.  Make sure to break gaze every once in a while, because it could look like you want to fight him/her.

Extended bathroom sessions

It’s sick but sometimes I would just excuse myself to the restroom for 10-15 minutes just to sit on the pot and get out of the damn office.  In a hangover situation, the bathroom is a million times friendlier than a cubicle.

Delayed Hangover Effect

A lot of times, you may wake up feeling ok.  This is because you’re still drunk.  A hangover is more powerful than karma and it will end up catching up to you eventually.  For this reason, no matter how ballsy you feel, do not schedule or commit to any meetings or take on any tasks with deadlines the same day.

The Internet is your Friend

The internet was invented for bored and/or hungover people in the workplace.  Use it:  Facebook, funny cat videos, mindless blogs like Caveday, and IM chatting.

Actually Working

This is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.  For example, you sit near your boss and your computer screen is visible.  Pick brainless tasks like sorting email.  Simple tasks make you feel busy which helps to build confidence.

The Hardcore Approach

A professional drinker will be hungover on a daily basis.  The disheveled, hungover look becomes the norm so nothing looks amiss.  However, these tend to be the same people that never seem to get raises after performance reviews.

This guide has been written particularly for the office worker in mind.  For anyone who does manual labor, such as working in an autoshop or construction site… may God have mercy on your soul.

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7 Responses to “Hungover at Work”

  • shay thompson Says:

    This actually worked! I’m still drinking loads of water and I feel ten times better! I picked your suggestion over the others’ because all I have at work right now is water. Thanks everyone, though, for your answers and I’ll definately keep your suggestions in mind next time I’m “under the weather.”

  • Pharme984 Says:

    Very nice site!

  • Joy Says:

    I dig it

  • Daniel Says:

    Very nice site!

  • Kirk Says:

    I am a “professional drinker”, so I experience these problems every single day. I find smoking just a little bit of weed in the morning before work as soon I get up helps gets rid of the nautiousness, headaches and lack of appetite, followed by Visine drops in the eyes so your boss won’t think you replaced your eyeballs with red radishes, lol. I’m lucky I have access to a file room not many other coworkers have access to, so I can go in there to waste a few minutes as an alernative to going for extended bathroom breaks. I’m also very lucky my job isn’t as important as others, so I can hide in my cubicle and not worry about my boss coming to check on me. I even made it through a whole work day without talking to anyone before, lol. When I have to go to boring meetings, a play a game called “Boardroom Bingo” to keep me entertained & awake. Bring a notepad or binder, write a list of common words you expect to hear, then see how many you can cross off your list as they come up in conversations during the meeting.

  • Caveday Says:

    You, sir, are awesome.

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