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“What’s up with the water?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why aren’t you drinking.”

“I don’t drink.”

“Never?”

“Never, not anymore.”

This was going nowhere quickly. I was already frustrated with my new business partner and his behavior, but I took a few deep breaths.

“I haven’t had a drink in over 18 months. If you’d like to have another SE like you last one, I can have a beer. If you like me to show up to meetings the way I have been, it’s best for me to have water.”

His last systems engineer had a problem with the bottle and I knew it. He had been let go because of his habit of showing up to customer meetings intoxicated. I hoped that he’d get the message.

“Why do you count?”

I looked at our customer who sat across form me and could see that he sensed the tension. I could see that he was a bit uncomfortable.

“What do you mean?”

“Why do you count?”

I had wondered whether or not my new business partner was clued in to my sobriety. I’d taken the job about three weeks prior and I was keenly aware of the fact that he’d talked to a lot of people that we both knew. I was also keenly aware that I’ve been public about my sobriety and that a simple google search would reveal a twitter account with links to this page. I was fairly confident that this line of questioning was coming from a place of knowledge of my status.

While I’ve always been quite comfortable with my sobriety and I’ve been open and honest about it, I didn’t advertise it in the interview process — that didn’t seem prudent. I kept it under wraps and planned to share it at the appropriate time. This was not the appropriate time and I was getting irritated with it.

“What do you want me to say?” Continue reading