Real business deals are struck while caring for an ageing parent

There was a time when my business meetings would usually be followed by many hours in the pub. This was always with the excuse that drinking — heavily — was the way to bond or to make the business relationship more personal.

In Asia, especially, when my job was to convince local managers to accept a new IT system, the long after-hours drinking session was both ice-breaker and deal-maker.

Years have passed. Many years. Not only has my job changed, bus also my approach to drinking. (Or maybe drinking’s approach to me.)

I had a business meeting today that illustrated the change perfectly. There were three of us in the meeting and each of us has one surviving parent. For two of us, the health and mental state of that parent is a concern. The third in the group feared a similar situation will not be long in coming.

As we wound down the business side of things, nobody suggested a trip to the pub. Instead, we shared stories of resentment, guilt, and feelings of hopelessness around our parents. And care homes. We laughed, too.

No drinks. And certainly no hangovers.

Just a closer personal link and a deal done.