Do I have to drink to fit in?
New hires at accounting firms land in what may be a completely new culture. After a hard week or month of audits, some people look forward to spending time with their families, but given the number of young bucks and does in a large Big Four office, heading down to the local bar(s) will also be a popular option.
One CA student is worried about this phenomenon, particularly at formal firm-sponsored functions, asking "you think it will be a problem if I don't drink at the cocktail party due to religious reasons? I'm just worried they'll think I won't "fit in"?"
This is an easy answer - no, not at all.
In any mature firm people will understand if you have personal reasons - be they philosophical, spiritual, practical ("$15 for a mixed drink, what?") or simply rational ("no, I'm driving").
Having said that, there's always a wrinkle: as you can imagine, I'm sure there are cliques of people who never
escaped their frat boy days, and there'll be individual offices or departments might
harbour contingents of crazy boozing yahoos - but even hard drinking auditors are
professional enough to respect people who will just have a glass of
tonic water instead.
And if they don't respect you and your beliefs, they're not very professional to begin with. Start preparing your file for reporting them to the local Disciplinary Committee if they're ruining the good reputation of CAs in their professional functions as well.
I doubt it'll ever come to that, but feel confident knowing that you have extreme tools at your hand to deal with extremely stupid people.
And the stereotypical drink-fest party you might imagine are less likely, at least during recruiting season, given how many firms have co-ops and interns who may not be of legal drinking age. Deciding not to drink when you're trying to make a good first impression is also excellent judgement, even if it's not for religious reasons, so this shouldn't be a big concern.
If you do find a company that doesn't like you because you won't drink, ask yourself *would you really want to work there?*
Assuming it's a Big 4 firm in a larger city, they're very cosmpolitan and diverse and know people from different cultures have different traditions - perhaps in smaller (or American?) towns the culture is different and you'll need to make a "practical compromise" to make yourself feel comfortable without abandoning your beliefs. Get yourself a "mocktail" like a virgin Caesar or whatever other beverage you want minus the liquor.
In any event, you'll be fine. Relax.