Are there any tips for choosing professional-looking water bottles? This is perhaps a mundane question, but with an extremely youthful face, long hair, and a newly-minted JD, I’m trying very hard to avoid any hint of ‘intern.’ I occasionally worry that my current metal bottle — complete with the name of my law school — really serves as a visual reminder that I just got out of school (it often ends up on my desk). On the other hand, I’m proud of my alma mater. Is the answer to trade it in for something completely nondescript? Are certain types more common among professionals? Are designs/logos that reflect some aspect of one’s personality completely out? Thanks for any thoughts you may be able to share!
Hmmn. First, congratulations to M for trying to get her daily water. Fancy water bottles have a lot in their favor — you avoid some suspect chemicals from plastic water bottles (such as BPAs), and they’re easier to clean and reuse. And I’ll admit, in my law firm days I used a simple stainless steel water bottle to carry water to and fro my office (similar to this one from REI). (I always drank out of a plastic cup — easier to throw away, less to clean — so the water bottle was really just my pitcher. One pitcher filled about three plastic cups of water, so it did help me cut down on trips to the office kitchen for water.)
Now: was I unprofessional to use a water bottle? Is M being unprofessional by using a water bottle with her law school logo? I honestly can’t imagine how, just by carrying a water bottle, it’s unprofessional. Even looking at some of the “sippy cup” type of water bottles (such as this one) it’s hard to imagine being in a professional environment with someone and thinking something like, “of COURSE she has a water bottle like that,” or “God, did no one tell her that kind of water bottle is unprofessional?” I suppose, if really hard-pressed, I could see it being unprofessional if she were
- loudly gulping down water during meetings
- drinking from the mouth of the water bottle, thereby smearing her lipstick and possibly spilling on herself
(Or, fine, if you use a water bottle cozy or water bottle holder like the one pictured.) Which might lead me to two suggested rules. A) Unless it’s a super long meeting (e.g., multiple hours without breaks), leave the water bottle in your office, and B) only use your water bottle as your pitcher, and drink out of an office-provided cup or mug instead. But, that said, I think even that might be taking it too far. So in general, I think a clean water bottle is fine, so long as it’s within common bounds of decency — it doesn’t depict nude people, reference drug culture, etc, etc.
Readers, what do you think — do you judge people based on water bottles, or other office drinking habits? Have you learned any business etiquette around this kind of thing?