does it look unprofessional to have an energy drink at my desk every day?

A reader writes:

I’m about to start my first real office job soon. I’m in my mid 20s and still working on my degree, so I’m a little worried about seeming immature. I have an unfortunate habit of drinking one or more energy drinks per day. Ignoring the health aspect of that, will it look bad if I am drinking an energy drink at my desk in the morning?

I feel like it shouldn’t matter, other sources of caffeine like coffee and tea are perfectly normal after all, but at the same time it’s hard to picture a can of NOS or some such on the desk of a working professional!

This is such an interesting question because it definitely should not matter! And my first instinct was, “No, it won’t matter.” But it’s also true that I would notice an energy drink in a way that I wouldn’t notice a coffee or a tea. Not enough to care, but I’d notice it. And if I saw you had one every day, I’d notice that too. It wouldn’t matter at all — drink what you like! — but you’re not wrong that when you picture “polished professional,” you don’t picture a can of Red Bull on their desk.

There are probably people who would see a daily energy drink (or especially multiple daily energy drinks) and think, “This person isn’t managing their health/sleep very well” … which is ridiculous because coffee is outright sponsored by most offices … but we’re into optics territory now, and optics often aren’t logical. Even with people who think that, though, it’s not likely to influence their opinion of you in any real way that’s likely to impact you at work.

So I think where I land is: If for some reason you need to put an unusually high premium on appearing as polished as possible, the daily energy drinks might be something to reconsider. But if you’re in more typical territory of “I’d like to appear reasonably professional without turning myself into a work robot,” then you’re fine. Drink what you want.

(Interestingly, though, I wouldn’t recommend taking an energy drink into an interview. That’s because your interviewer has few so data points about you so the ones they do have can easily count for more than they should.)

And finally: some offices stock energy drinks in the kitchen for employees to drink. If you’re in one of those, I would give it exactly zero more thought.

{ 446 comments… read them below }

    1. Cait*

      Was thinking the same thing. Worst case, if you’re worried about how it’s perceived, pour it into a mug or opaque bottle to disguise it.

        1. Emily*

          This was my first thought too. If you’re worried about optics LW, pour the energy drink into some type of portable coffee mug (I feel like there is a better word for this, but it is escaping me). My office, like most it seems, provide coffee, but some people do bring coffee from home in their own portable mugs (or who knows, they could be energy drinks!).

            1. Cheeks*

              Travel mug or even one of those fancier cups that keeps drinks cold all day. It’ll just seem like you’re drinking kombucha!

              And for what it’s worth, at my architecture office no one would mind this at all. In fact it would be very understandable!

          1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

            At my receptionist gig, my bosses issued dark-tinted water bottles for optics, so when we had a beverage, it was in an Official Company Water Bottle. This reduced some of the perception of clutter at the reception desk, minimized whatever assumptions went with whatever beverage we were actually drinking, and added a vague aura of Company Approved Activities if we were chugging caffeine constantly.

        2. kicking_k*

          Oddly enough I have wondered about the optics of drinking bottled “iced tea” at my desk, decanted into a glass, which I occasionally do. Because it does look somewhat like beer, and it’s the UK, so drinking hot tea is far more common. I have an office on my own though so no comment has ever been passed!

          1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

            I have a big glass beer mug that I drink tea out of at home. Definitely got some funny looks when we went to WFH at the start of COVID restrictions, but my office is cool and also I didn’t drink it with higher-ups :)

            1. kicking_k*

              My husband does that too at home, but it’s a ceramic beer mug so just looks like… a very big mug. And he never does Zoom calls!

          2. Rosacolleti*

            Yes. We had someone 2-3 years ago that loaded the fridge up every day with a couple of them and we still refer to that regularly. He was a totally wired guy though…..

      1. Crooked Bird*

        A travel mug is perfect. Hides it completely, everyone thinks coffee. I drink all kinds of things in my travel mug. (No, not those kinds of things!)

      2. Mrs. Smith*

        When I was pregnant & working under an admin who seemed to equate sugar with sinfulness and dessert as a moral failing, I put my afternoon 6-oz dose of Pepsi in a coffee travel flask. My doctor ok’d it, it got me home without falling asleep at the wheel, kept migraine in check, etc. It was judgment I didn’t need to suffer through & neither do you. Drink your Celsius or Monster or whatever in a different vessel, avoid the issue entirely.

    2. Llama Wrangler*

      Yes, this – especially if you get a tall cup that it can fit it all in at once. Something opaque so people can’t see the color also helps. (This is what a colleague did to minimize comments – and people definitely commented more on his Monster habit than on other people’s coffee habits.)

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I think part of the challenge is that energy drinks are specifically marketed as being high energy, good for pepping you up for something big. The words I tend to see in coffee marketing tend to be “smooth”, “bold”, or “morning”, and it tends to be beautiful or peaceful. Which kind of disguises the fact that coffee has more caffeine per ounce than just about everything else on the market, including energy drinks.

          1. elle *sparkle emoji**

            A few niche brands have ingredients like creatine or supplement-type ingredients, but that’s also partially for the image rather than any office-performance-enhancing effects. The important active ingredient in energy drinks is still caffeine.

        1. coffee*

          I stopped drinking energy drinks at work after I had to sit through a senior manager talking about the salt content of my energy drink. My other coworkers also commented on it, which they never did about everyone’s coffees.

    3. Vince Esposito*

      If I’m pouring it into my mug, how am I supposed to conceal my office wine?

      1. Heidi*

        Two identical mugs. Keep one in a drawer while you’re drinking from the other.

        1. Just Another Cog*

          Hmmmm. I actually had an employee who drank a 24 oz Monster in the morning and refilled her can with vodka at lunch to work on in the afternoon. We fired her when she got a DUI driving the company car home one evening. Otherwise, no one had a clue she had been doing this for quite some time.

        2. Reluctant Mezzo*

          Most cabernets are the same color as diet cranberry juice. Just sayin’.

          1. Lee*

            I am amused by the question, coming from a place where Rip’Its and Monster energy drinks are consumed by the case. I would hazard it’s all down to your organizational culture.

            1. TeaCoziesRUs*

              I sent this article to my husband – as his office is entirely fueled by Monster, Red Bull, et al. :D

        1. allathian*

          Hehee! After I completed my internship in Spain, I invited my Spanish friends and closest coworkers to the apartment I was sharing with a bunch of other young people for kalimotxko and tapas. The coke was more expensive than the wine, as I bought cheap plonk in what looked like milk cartons from the European Wine Lake.

          1. TeaCoziesRUs*

            Mmm… Cola-Weissen – the only palatable way to drink an entire glass of beer. :)

            (half Coke, half hefeweissen. Taught to me by a bartender and beloved by me as a young 20-something – with no desire for beer – as a way to fit in in Germany. :D)

            1. kicking_k*

              I’ve served some “Mickey Mouse” (cola shandy) in my bartending days, but I can’t imagine it would make beer nicer, and I don’t like beer either!

    4. Tio*

      Or a tumbler, there’s loads of cool ones where no one knows what you’ve got in there

      1. Kacihall*

        they make tumblers that specific fit cans in them. at least, the one I bought my sister fit White Claws, but I assume they make sizes to fit energy drink cans as well!

      2. elle *sparkle emoji**

        I agree, a tumbler seems like a good choice to me. Especially if you choose a plain one like a yeti vs some of the more patterned options. They will keep the drink cool and don’t have the same flashy packaging as some energy drinks.

      3. specialist*

        I want to admit having actually done this in a really stupid meeting. Nobody could tell and it kept me calm. I paired it with bread and butter for dinner. I don’t recommend doing this in all but a very rare circumstance.

    5. Shynosaur*

      I would find someone drinking a cold beverage out of a mug to be so much stranger than someone drinking a Monster every day lol

      1. Nomic*

        We have an ice machine in our office, I keep either ice water or pour a coke into it every day.

      2. Nina*

        Sometimes you just grab the closest drinking vessel and it happens to have a handle. Not the end of the world. My favorite cup at the moment is a Nescafe jar I put a wire handle on – it was free, and it holds 800 mL. In college I had a 1-L pyrex beaker that I crocheted a beaker cosy for, and everyone loved it.
        Do you know how hard it is to find a commercial mug that holds 800 mL of liquid? Once you get one that works, you drink everything out of it.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          My go-to is a 1-quart mason jar. I need to find a handle for it.

          1. Nina*

            I grabbed a reel of fence wire (New Zealand, it’s called Number 8 wire here, not sure about US) and made a kind of cradle that holds the bottom of the jar and then loops up to circle the neck of the jar, and the loop is the handle. Took about ten minutes.

          2. Fedpants*

            I used to bring my iced coffee to work in a mason jar (pint size) because it was the only easy to wash, leak proof vessel I had (I ride my bike to work, so most leak-proof travel mugs are not cut out for that life). after a few weeks, my new boss: “fedpants…what brown liquid are you drinking out of a mason jar at 9am, hmmmmmm?”

            1. Splendid Colors*

              The most popular travel mugs in Arcata when I was at Humboldt in the early 2000s were upcycled spaghetti sauce jars, and the labels didn’t have to be completely removed…

            2. Elitist Semicolon*

              I bring my milk for cereal in a small pint-size canning jar, because I have learned the hard way what will and will not spill in my bike bag. :/

          3. Seeking Second Childhood*

            So very many on various mail-order sites from Amazon to Etsy. (I was shopping for pitcher lids recently, and the results all jumbled together.)

          4. goddessoftransitory*

            My husband has a mug like that–brown glass “jar” with a wooden wraparound handle. He’s had it forever and loves it.

          5. TeaCoziesRUs*

            I’m almost certain I’ve seen them at Walmart in the canning aisle – if you’re US. :)

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              Yup! But he has had that thing for literally EVER–since before we met–so I don’t know where he got it.

        2. kicking_k*

          My cousin is an amateur potter and has made some BIG mugs… but not all of them are perfectly balanced for holding, alas.

      3. metadata minion*

        If I just didn’t see steam coming off the mug, I would assume it was a hot beverage that had gone cold, like at least 50% of what I end up drinking at work ;-) If the mug had ice in it or something, I would think it was slightly odd but just in a “huh, interesting” kind of way that I wouldn’t give any further thought to.

    6. ariel*

      My office is full of tumblers with lids! Mischief managed. Your office probably has a recycle bin for the cans, and hopefully it has a lid for extra chill.

      1. She of Many Hats*

        I’ve just received my 239th branded beverage container from the latest corporate event or promotion. Give it a week and you’ll find have at least three of them to choose from for hiding your energy drink.

    7. Drago Cucina*

      I will often pour my Diet Pepsi into a metal water bottle to avoid getting “the look”.

      I drink at least 64 oz of water a day and am over 60. I get to decide what I drink. But, I also know that it carries a different perception than coffee.

      1. Gemstones*

        Wait, what perception does drinking soda bring? I don’t really drink much soda, but it would never, ever occur to me to second-guess someone drinking soda in the office or ordering it at working lunch or something.

        1. Duckles*

          Don’t kill the messenger, but there’s a stereotype about secretaries and Diet Coke, whereas business professionals drink water/seltzer/coffee/tea IME.

          1. YaBetterWerk*

            My entire executive team cranks out Diet Coke like the true addicts we are. All of the financial and legal teams that I work with keep buckets of it stocked in their conference rooms for our meetings.

            Maybe that stigma used to be there, it sure isn’t now.

          2. kicking_k*

            Interesting, and I thought people might be judging me for my five or six coffees a day…

            I have a colleague who loves Diet Coke and I accidentally knocked it over on her once. I think she’s forgiven me.

        2. Drago Cucina*

          There are my fellow older people (I won’t use the B word) who have no problem with people carrying around a coffee cup. A bottle of Diet Pepsi? It’s not seen as business-like.

          It’s the same attitude as younger co-workers who lecture me it’s unhealthy to drink a soda in the morning while drinking their mocha frappuccino, with caramel and whipped cream.

          1. TeaCoziesRUs*

            Yup. 40-something here and can vouch.

            Then again, when I was in the Army (as a brat /kid), I was taught never to trust someone who doesn’t drink coffee… yet married a man who can’t stand it. :D

        3. elle *sparkle emoji**

          People can be weird about the sugar in full-sugar sodas and also the artificial sweeteners in diet coke(“But the aspartame gave rats cancer in this study that I didn’t actually read!”). Obviously, people shouldn’t have to deal with judgment about their work-appropriate drinks but if there’s a soda busybody in the office, it can be easy just to change containers.

    8. PlainJane*

      Exactly. Just get one of those solid colored water bottle/coffee thermos things and it will look like you brought some coffee to work.

    9. Artemesia*

      I’d do that, because to a lot of people an energy drink looks immature — so would having a coke at 8 am. Pour it into a mug.

      1. BasketcaseNZ*

        I have many a time bemoaned the fact I don’t drink coffee, and coke doesn’t seem “appropriate” at 9am.
        Particularly back when now-10 year old was much smaller and a very bad sleeper, while I was back at university for a graduate degree.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          You and I are one! I have never liked coffee or tea but stick to sugar water like the giant hummingbird I am.

    10. HotSauce*

      This is literally what I do. I have an insulated stainless steel cup that I drink water from all day, but no one knows that when I bring it into the office at the beginning of the day it contains a Monster.

    11. Ally McBeal*

      This. I drink Diet Coke instead of coffee for my caffeine fix; one Christmas my boss gave me a coffee mug with “Diet Coke” written on it as a gag gift. Have I ever actually used it for Diet Coke? No, because I like how the aluminum can pairs with that sweet sweet aspartame… but I COULD, if I were self-conscious about drinking DC out of a can. (I have often pondered the fact that my practice of keeping my DC cans in coozies could make it look like I’m drinking alcohol at 8am, but I work in a creative field and have no problem clarifying that it’s just pop.)

      1. Imtheone*

        Soda for folks who live elsewhere. Where I grew up, all soda pops were called, “a coke or something.”

        You’d ask a friend, “Do you want a coke or something?”

        1. Random Bystander*

          Where I live, the question is “What kind of Coke do y’all want?”

          1. Ally McBeal*

            Ah, I used to live there too. I was raised in the land of pop, then moved to the Atlanta area (where Coke is actually made but everyone calls it soda or specifies the specific kind of soda), THEN – confusingly – moved to the land of “what kind of Coke.” And now I’m back in the land of pop and keep forgetting I can say pop again :D

            1. i need to drink more water*

              I am from Atlanta and moved elsewhere (a city that happens to have a large Pepsi presence) and I always forget that I need to ask if they serve Coke or Pepsi products before I order because I hate all Pepsi products (except Mug root beer) and I don’t want to waste the money/calories on soda I don’t like!

        2. kicking_k*

          In Scotland it’s “juice” or “ginger”. Even if it has never been near a sniff of either fruit or ginger.

      2. A person in retail*

        When I was in law school a professor was giving me a little side eye and I eventually realized it was because I was drinking a 24 oz Rockstar. Even to me, that can looks like those large beer cans. He knew me and I think he knew I wasn’t really drinking alcohol in class, but it really did kind of look like it. Of course just drinking an energy drink in law school is nothing. A student with an energy drink is about as remarkable as a student with a backpack.

        Red Bull probably doesn’t have this problem, but I’d watch out because “OP appears to be drinking alcohol” is obviously a way worse optics problem than energy drinks.

        1. Festively Dressed Earl*

          Did that professor even remember what law school was like? Or did they still sell cocaine tonics over the counter in his day, instead of 5 hour energy?

    12. Melicious*

      I had to do something similar when I was pregnant. Coffee made me nauseous, but it would have been very noticeable if I had suddenly stopped drinking coffee. Orange juice in a travel mug.

    13. AC*

      I was thinking this too. I’m a daily redbull drinker and whenever I’m new to an office, I pour it into a tumbler cup with a lid and straw until I have a better idea of the vibe of the office.

    14. Ama*

      I have been known to drink soup from a takeaway coffee cup. Because, uh, sometimes I want to drink soup at 10am and people ask a lot less questions when your cup has a lid and they can’t see your beverage is tomato coloured.

    15. Tara*

      I’m a daily red bull drinker and for the first few months at my new job the mug was my solution! Once I felt like I’d proven myself I stopped worrying about the mug so much and let it become a fun personal quirk at the office.

    16. Allie*

      Yeah, I drink Pepsi instead of coffee and I put it in a travel mug most of the time. It just saves me the hassle of people bugging me about it.

    17. Inkognyto*

      Get a lidded insulted mug/glass for work.

      1) you can keep the drink hot/cool
      2) a bump by you or someone else will not spill it over paperwork, the keyboard, the desk/chair.
      3) it disguises what you drink, and just removes it from being an issue.

      Crank the can, pour it in, and don’t worry about it.

    18. JessaB*

      Thank you, this is the first thing I thought of, mostly because I’ve never worked in an office that did not want drinks in a spill resistant container anyway. And most of those drinks come in cans.

    19. Not A Girl Boss*

      I drink FitAid every morning, which is energy-drink-ish. It also tastes terrible warm. I bought myself a Yeti drink insulating sleeve (you might be familiar with this for beer, but they make energy-drink-shaped ones).

      On the one hand, it helps hide the contents and melt more into the background of a desk, since it mostly just looks like a Yeti water bottle at first glance.

      On the other hand, I bring it to the gym with me, and one day after MONTHS of wandering around the gym with this thing, one of the personal trainers asked me “I’m sorry… I’ve just been dying to know… are you… drinking a White Claw every time you work out??”
      So… it may not entirely yield the professional look I thought it did.

    20. Atalanta*

      This was my thought as well. I have a coke first thing in the morning (my caffeine tolerance is legendary on my team) and I pour it into a coffee mug out of habit more than anything else. No one has ever said boo about it other than the jokes about me not blinking until 3 pm.

    21. Redcoat*

      I work in a cardiologists’ office, and I feel like it’s a weird look to be chugging an energy drink at check in so I have a pretty (opaque, because energy drinks have weird colors) tumbler that I pour it into.

      Bonus- it’s very clearly _mine_, so if I put it down someplace and walk away, I can easily find it again

  1. Chairman of the Bored*

    If you’re worried about it just pour the energy drink into a coffee cup, possibly even one with a lid.

      1. Set999*

        I think the problem with this, is that if I notice a fizzy, slightly off-color liquid, I’m not going to think water is in the bottle! The travel mug suggestions probably would work, though.

  2. gmg22*

    Another vote for just putting it into another receptacle — travel mugs are perfect for this purpose!

    1. Waiting on the bus*

      I would put it into a travel mug as most energy drinks I know have very distinctive smells. As someone who doesn’t drink energy drinks, I immediately notice the smell, even if the open can isn’t that close to me.

      If you want to keep it on the downlow, I recommend a travel mug or any other mug-like thing with a lid.

  3. Tatiana Forstner*

    A few years back I was actually the person with an energy drink everyday! I managed to kick the habit during the pandemic, just in time to start working from home haha.

    I will say, I had a coworker who thought that I had a can of beer at my desk everyday. He was a strange character and that’s definitely not a normal thing to think, but turns out he really thought I had a serious problem and just never said anything.

    So I guess, be careful of weirdos in the office?

    1. TootsNYC*

      I used to always buy apple juice at lunch, and I’d eat at my desk. I worked a job where I had to proofread other people’s work.
      Then one of the higher-ups came by and said, “I wish I could drink beer at lunch! I’d never be able to proofread. I’d make mistakes.”

      Yikes! apparently the bottle shape was a bit beer-like. I turned the label around so fast to show it was apple juice, and then I never bought apple juice again.

      1. Jessica*

        I caused comment once years ago by strolling into a graduate seminar (I was a student, not the prof) with a bottle of IBC root beer. For those who don’t know the brand (best root beer ever!), it comes in a brown glass bottle that looks EXTREMELY beerlike.

        1. Chirpy*

          Yeah, I’ve had that happen with Sprecher’s. Many good flavors, all in brown bottles….and as I almost never drink alcohol and especially not beer, I didn’t know at the time that Sprecher also makes actual alcoholic beer, not just root beer and ginger beer!

          1. Dasein9*

            A local bar carries these brands specifically for sober members of the community, so they can have a drink in hand without being conspicuous. If I drank one at work, I’d probably use a glass for just that reason.

            1. TeaCoziesRUs*

              Some of the best root beer I have found was in microbreweries in Colorado! Sadly, that’s not a trend in South Dakota that I’ve seen so far.

        2. elle *sparkle emoji**

          I’m a cream soda lover and while it typically comes in a clear glass bottle, the color is close enough to light beer that I’ve heard jokes about it.

          1. canuckanony*

            I’m lucky, in Canada, most of our cream soda brands are pink, so def not beer like. Unless you drink pink beer!

            1. Nina*

              Australian cream soda is pink too, but in New Zealand it’s usually clear, like (whispering in case any Americans are listening) lemonade.

              1. canuckanony*

                We’re the same as the US–what you call lemonade, is more like our Sprite or 7Up pops. Although to be fair, they’re supposedly lemon-lime. Then again I come from a country with bagged milk, so yanno, every one’s got their weird thing. :)

              2. Chilipepper Attitude*

                In the US lemonade is not clear! It is the color of lemon juice. Do you mean clear soda like 7Up?

                1. Nina*

                  I mean the drink that in New Zealand is called lemonade. Yes, Sprite and 7Up are types of lemonade.
                  American Lemonade is a completely different beast.

                2. kicking_k*

                  I hate to tell you this, but the UK calls Sprite or Schweppes “lemonade” too. The cloudy yellow kind is “traditional” or “old-fashioned lemonade”.

            2. elle *sparkle emoji**

              I’ve heard about that! There is a company in the US that makes electric blue cream soda, but no pink that I’ve seen.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          We had pictures taken at a mid-day staff “thankyou” after we got the building ready to reopen after an earthquake. None of us had slept well all week and we all looked punchy…. but I took flack because I was carrying an IBC and therefore looked drunk to people who were WITH ME.

      2. Panicked*

        I had a similar thing happen with Liquid Death. It’s just water, but the can looks decidedly alcoholic in nature.

        1. Justin*

          I literally bought it thinking it was beer once.

          And by once I mean a month ago.

          1. Curious*

            I do hope that you don’t offer a can to a colleague… especially not while muttering “Valar Morghulis.”

        2. LTR FTW*

          That’s definitely intentional with the Liquid Death. I actually like getting one when I’m at a show or club — if I’m going to spend five bucks on a water, I’d rather be drinking out of a tall can (like everyone else is), than out of a dumb plastic bottle. You get the feel of having a beer but with none of the hangover.

      3. Peon*

        Yup, I found out that iced tea in the big clear glasses I have at home looks very beer like on Zoom.

        1. JessaB*

          Ginger ale looks like scotch and soda. Yes I know this because I can’t even have my once a decade sloe gin fizz anymore. I have end stage renal disease so zero booze at all. And I never really drink but it’s just…I mean literally my once a decade drink (I’m over 60 and have had four of em in my life when I was at things where not drinking was a social mess,) and not being allowed is kind of weirdly sad.

    2. bishbah*

      I tend to nurse a Diet Coke throughout the day, and when I started to put the can inside of a (company branded!) koozie to keep it cold, I got more than one joking comment about the beer I was supposedly drinking at work.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I have to admit I’d be tempted to slur I’LL TELL YOU WHEN I’VE HAD ENOUGH and then stumble off camera…

    3. Cmdrshprd*

      At one point I was bringing homemade cold brew to work, I had a 22 oz brown glass bottle with those pull down reusable seal/lids. I did have one intern ask me what I was drinking, to be fair it did very much look like a beer bottle. I wonder how many other interns thought the same thing but didn’t say anything.

      I eventually switched to a double insulated tumbler, keeps coffee much colder versus the glass bottle.

      1. La Triviata*

        Once, during a Zoom call to say goodbye to a person who was leaving, I was drinking diet ginger ale out of a wine glass. For MONTHS I heard jokes about my drinking wine in the office.

        1. emmelemm*

          I used to drink cranberry juice out of a wine glass a lot. It just kind of tickled me/made me feel fancy for whatever reason.

          (I also drink/drank wine, but I drank a lot more cranberry juice at home alone back then.)

          1. Cyndi*

            I don’t drink alcohol at all, but I absolutely own wine glasses to drink sparkling grape juice out of when I want to feel fancy. I even use different shaped ones for white vs. red grape juice.

  4. Jmac*

    I don’t think it matters. One of my managers always has a Diet Pepsi on his desk and nobody cares

    1. StressedButOkay*

      I am a cold drink drinker 99%, regardless of season, and while I love iced tea, I’m mostly a Diet Coke drinker. The only time I’ve been thinking about if it looks weird is while on Zoom calls, strangely! But in person, I never gave it a second thought, especially since nearly every place I’ve worked stocked sodas/La Croix/etc. for staff along with coffee and tea.

    2. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

      I’m a Coke drinker and when I worked in a traditional office my daily can of Coke was never really commented on. But I also think there is probably a difference in perception between soda and energy drinks – I’m not sure why that is.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        I think the general perception is that they’re targeted at young people and kids. There is something to it; all the schools I’ve ever worked in had to police that kids weren’t drinking them.

      2. ferrina*

        Agree. There’s definitely a perception difference. Energy drinks often capitalize on that in their marketing.

        I think it would depend a lot on industry. Tech probably wouldn’t think twice, but more conservative industries would have a different perception.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          Interesting marketing for them I saw over the weekend – a commercial for an energy shot (you know the one) that was comparing “you in your 20s” (partying at the club) to “you now” (exhausted parenting and office droning) with the tagline “don’t worry, we’ve still got your back” or something with that meaning anyways.

          My kids cracked up, because they already see this brand as for people who are “parent aged”, not kids.

      3. ariel*

        This is such a fascinating question because it’s true that energy drinks are percieved differently! The marketing is working, I guess, all that “Xtreme” etc has me thinking they’re soooo edgy. I guess OP could become a soda drinker if that was an easy enough switch?

        1. I am Emily's failing memory*

          Funny enough, I just recently saw a commercial for 5-Hour energy where the script went something like:

          scenes of college campuses and students hunched over books and test papers. a student pounds a 5 hour energy.

          Narrator: Remember college? staying up all night studying?

          scenes of parents chasing after small children, corporate workers giving a presentation. suit and tie knocks back a 5-hour energy.

          Narrator: 5 Hour Energy got you through it then, and we can you through it again today!


          It was very on the nose.

          1. Don Draper*

            Looks like a perfectly straightforward appeal to nostalgia to me.

            It’s not an energy drink. It’s a time machine. Or a Kodak carousel.

          2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

            The last time I had a 5 hour energy drink like 10 years ago I went on a 4 day insomnia streak and basically lost my mind and called the paramedics because I felt like my heart was racing. Never again. I am now to the point of middle age where I have one cup of coffee in the morning and maybe a Diet Coke or tea at lunch. Caffeine consumption ends at 2pm.

            1. allathian*

              I can’t drink energy drinks either, but in my case it’s not the caffeine, it’s things like taurine. The one time I tried Red Bull I had palpitations. It was a hot day, too hot for coffee, and we were sitting in the shade when a friend offered me a can. I was probably slightly dehydrated from the heat. But one of the friends in that group is an ER nurse, and she grabbed a paper towel, wet it and told me to put it on my face, and then she told me to hold my breath and press down as if I was taking a dump (to stimulate my vagus nerve) and it helped after a while. But I’m not going to drink any more Red Bull.

              I’m also middle aged, and caffeine hasn’t been an issue yet. Granted, I stop drinking it about 7 hours before I go to bed, i.e. by 3 pm, but I drink coffee by the pint rather than by the cup, 6 cups a day is my normal.

            2. RagingADHD*

              If you had that extreme of a reaction to anything in a 5HE, it would have been good to seek medical care long before 4 days went by.

              But whatever it was, it wasn’t the caffeine. A 5HE has the same amount of caffeine as 8 oz of coffee, which it sounds like you tolerate normally.

            3. kicking_k*

              I’m always intrigued by people for whom caffeine actually works! I drink what most people would call “much too much coffee” and never have trouble sleeping, but on the flip side, it doesn’t do any more to wake me up than any other hot drink.

              My husband has gone completely decaffeinated.

  5. Molly Coddler*

    The Hubs’ company keeps energy drinks stocked along with K-cups and tea. My office tends to be on the older side and no one here (Academia) would blink to see an energy drink. That’s really all I have to offer.

  6. RunShaker*

    coming to say same thing, pour into yeti type of cup. I work for conservative bank/wealth advisor and have coworker that drinks energy drinks as well. I noticed only because he mentioned to me he doesn’t like coffee. My company also has free coffee/tea stations plus Starbucks (for purchase). I think they stock energy drinks as well.

  7. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

    Get a nice Corkcicle in a favorite color, you’ll be golden.

  8. Dawn*

    This is going to depend on your role and industry, too; perfectly normal in IT (seriously, those guys keep the industry alive,) highly questionable in banking.

    1. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah I was going to say, this depends a LOT on the culture and relative age of your office. If you have a lot of stuffy traditionalists who are older and have heard news stories about energy drinks killing healthy young people, you’re going to look unprofessional. If you’re in a fast-paced younger skewing environment (think IT/tech startup/ maybe like certain kinds of banking) where you’re running around constantly and the young energetic mindset is favored, no one will blink an eye.

      I think you will look young – people I’ve known who preferred energy drinks to coffee or tea are usually young men. But if you want that image, go for it. I don’t think it’s inherently unprofessional as much as “young”, and those can be interchangeable depending on the industry.

      1. caffeinefiend*

        LW here, I don’t think it should be super identifying to share so for context, it’s an accounting support role at a company that provides services for a certain sector. As far as I’m aware there’s very little client contact and it would be over email or phone if at all. The people I interviewed with were certainly older than I am but not an age where I would expect them to be particularly uptight about this kind of thing.

        I’m thinking an opaque tumbler or some such as some commenters have suggested will be a good option!

        1. KG*

          I work at a company that sounds very similar. My colleague has one Pepsi in the morning while the rest of us sip on coffee all day. I agree with the Yeti cup suggestion only because you’re new and there are some weird opinions on energy drinks (even from those buzzing from the caffeine in coffee).

        2. Alpaca Bag*

          Remember this issue as you age – I’m an older programmer and energy drinks have helped me fit in with the newer people on our team.

    2. ScruffyInternHerder*

      There are definitely aspects of arch/eng/construction where nobody would even blink about a can of energy drink.

      The quantity of both Red Bull and Jolt Cola (remember that?) we all consumed while in school and in early job-land was, well, not mind numbing. The opposite of it, really! My MENTOR introduced me to Red Bull – they didn’t like the taste of coffee, and it was a “hey, this stuff works at least as well as coffee, you might like it, you might not” situation.

      1. kicking_k*

        Am I old? The only one of these I remember from college is Red Bull, and that was just for clubbers who would mix it with vodka… I had a sip once but it reminded me of cough syrup.

    3. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

      I worked in law and each office was totally different. In one, it signaled that you were willing to work long hours etc. In the other, it wasn’t banned but very much side eyed. The only beverage either place offered was tap water.

      So, it is going to be a question of local culture in the office, sometimes set by one boss’s personal notions.

    4. Sedna*

      Yeah, this is very workplace specific. In my job (healthcare/research, informal office) I don’t think anyone would notice or care.

    5. Caz*

      I was thinking that someone in my office had an energy drink in a meeting today and no-one batted an eye – I only noticed because the can design is eye-catching. Then I remembered I work in IT support now and maybe the “rules” are different…

  9. mara*

    again this shouldn’t matter, but keep in mind the general shape of the drink if you keep it in the can. i found out several of my colleagues thought over zoom that i was drinking hard seltzers when i was drinking a more obscure brand of energy drink in a similar tall thin can.

    1. JustALaCroix*

      I used to drink La Croix in a Yeti koozie to keep it cold during my Zoom meetings, when someone finally asked me if I was drinking a beer. I was mortified! Nope, just trying to keep my sparkling water cold, but I understand the optics.

    2. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      One of my teammates drinks that water that comes in a can that looks like an energy drink, but it’s just water. It’s definitely been a topic of conversation but nobody thinks any less of him for it.

  10. JR*

    I think part of the optics is that a lot of energy drink cans are not particularly professional looking with the neon and XTREME designs. A bland koozie could help with that.

    Just please don’t be like my coworker and stack up the empty cans on your desk, only clearing them out once a week

      1. ferrina*

        Agree! A koozie would make me think you’re hiding something. If you’re worried about the perception from the can, use a cup.

          1. JessaB*

            They now make a covered tumbler that looks like a red solo cup and they make a number of them that are heavier meant to be permanently re-used.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      This is my thought as well – it’s not the energy drink, it’s that the cans themselves could be misperceived. I’d probably avoid some of Pepsi’s newer drinks too (the nitro ones) since they look very similar to beer cans. You could probably decant into a travel mug or similar and then no one would care.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Those nitro-Pepsi cans sound like it too, to the point where my incredibly stubborn pre-teen won’t drink it because it “sounds like beer”.

        1. Warrior Princess Xena*

          I have yet to be able to open one without it spilling all over me lol.

          But yeah, they look and feel more like beer cans than soda cans.

    2. DataSci*

      For me koozies are strongly enough associated with beer that I don’t think I’d recommend that route. As others suggested, if you’re worried about the optics, pour it into a coffee mug.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      Yes, especially to clearing them out. A lot of these drinks have tons of sugar and will attract ants in the summer. At least rinse out the cans if you can.)

    4. Daisy-dog*

      There are some new styles of koozies that are far less “drinking-on-a-boat”-style!

    5. caffeinefiend*

      That’s so gross, I always throw the can away immediately. FWIW my usual is the regular flavor rockstar, so the can is definitely an energy drink(not a beer!!) but it’s not super flashy. Though they sell the original recipe in a bright gold can so I wonder if that’s a little more odd.

      1. JustaTech*

        I had a coworker (a very bro guy in biotech) who displayed all his empty Red Bull cans on a shelf in his cube for reasons I never understood.
        Then one day he was complaining that his doctor said his blood pressure was too high and he needed to be on medication for it and everyone just turned and stared at the 15+ Red Bull cans.

  11. specialist*

    Get yourself one of those Yeti cups with the top. It will keep it cooler so that you don’t drink it as fast. I was going to suggest a koozie, but those scream tailgating. I would also suggest exploring other beverage options so that you move away from the energy drinks. There is a really funny video by one of those facebook-populating comedy groups about coffee being the legal psychoactive drug which you may wish to enjoy. I am a tea-drinker personally.

  12. Milksnake*

    In my professional life it would definitely garner attention and office gossip (conservative traditional environment.)
    I agree, pour it in a travel mug if you’re headed into that type of environment.

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      What would people be gossiping about? I don’t drink energy drinks myself but honestly this one is stumping me..what is it that seems unprofessional?

      1. CR*

        Same. Energy drinks are unprofessional but I bet it if it was a Diet Coke no one would say anything. So weird!

        1. Milksnake*

          Our office supplies Diet coke by the pallet. Soda and seltzer are acceptable.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        While these people clearly have too much spare time and not enough mental stimulation, I can see this being the modern equivalent of judging someone because the lapel of their suit is half an inch too wide or too narrow.

        1. TurnedMeIntoANewt*

          And unfortunately a lot of these people are in positions of power over other people’s jobs.

      3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        > What would people be gossiping about?

        For example, one of the main uses of energy drinks first thing in the morning is if you are hung over.

        1. elle *sparkle emoji**

          Maybe that’s a use for some people but to claim it’s a main one surprises me. I more associate energy drinks with long video gaming sessions than I do drinking.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Yeah, I’ve literally never heard that suggested before, I am not aware of that being a common idea. To me, I associate them primarily with all-nighters in college trying to study for finals or finish a paper.

          2. Ellis Bell*

            I think the main connotation is “I drink this after staying up all night because we are young and we will sleep when we are dead”. The hangovers/video games/studying connotations are all sub genres under the general one of not sleeping enough.

      4. Milksnake*

        It’s branding really. Energy drinks are associated with younger more alternative communities. Monster and Rockstar do lots of sponsorships with extreme sports and music. Nos is another one I can think of and that brand was build off of street racing cars.
        It’s inherently tied to high risk activities and I work in a very white collar conservative field so the gossip would be questioning what this person is like outside of work and if we can trust their judgement.
        I’m aware it’s problematic but I can’t change the higher-ups so I just leave my energy drinks in my car.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I know it’s not necessarily accurate, but from the way they’re marketed my first impression of energy drinks are that they’re for young, edgy college kids who want to party all night and still get up and roll into class in the morning all refreshed with no hangover. I think because they’re marketed as fuel for extreme sports and other high-risk activities, and one step down from that, but aspiring for the same kind of energy, is the youthful party culture. Basically, the companies have marketed the impression into the product, even though it doesn’t hold up to further examination.

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          Interesting..i must be so out of the loop I wasn’t aware of that branding. But then again I haven’t raced for pink slips since I lost my Olds Delta 88 at Thunder Road

        3. JustaTech*

          Yes, there’s a very strong “youth branding” with energy drinks.

          Though I remember the first time I saw a Red Bull they were being handed out on the street and I tried to hand it back to the guy, saying I was only in high school (I assumed it was a beer).
          Then I was on a grad school interview loop with a guy who was a Red Bull “brand ambassador” at his college and I was amazed when he managed to pull a Red Bull out of his suit jacket pocket without anyone having noticed he had a whole darn soda can in there!

      5. alienor*

        I’m honestly baffled that anyone would notice or care. I haven’t worked in an office for a few years, but when I did, people drank all sorts of beverages – coffee, herbal tea, Diet Coke and other sodas, juice, water, energy drinks – and no one ever said a word. It wasn’t an overly conservative company, but it wasn’t a startup full of 20-year-olds either. In fact, the biggest consumer of energy drinks I knew was a colleague of mine who was in his 50s.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          I’m baffled as well, though I see from the comments that anecdotally at least this is a real concern. I would never assume my coworkers are so unprofessional as to drink beers or other alcoholic beverages in the office/during Zoom meetings nor would I presume to know whether the clear liquid in their cup is water or vodka if I’m not close enough to smell it. Some of these comments are really shocking to me. I did buy glasses when remote work started in 2020 because I had been so used to just using the free ones I’d gotten from sightseeing over the years. My favorite was a large glass my parents got me from their trip to Alaska, but it had alcohol related branding on it so I felt weird drinking water from it on a call. I would be stunned if anyone thought so little of me or thought I was so deeply alcoholic that I couldn’t manage to get through an hour meeting without beer. I hate that LW is even having to consider the optics and can’t just drink what they want without judgment.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      Somebody upthread mentioned that in IT this is very much the norm, so yeah, this is definitely one that you need to be able to read the room on.

    3. ferrina*

      At one workplace I was teased about my habit of afternoon coffee. The job site was extremely energy intensive, and afternoon coffee was the only way I had enough energy to function in the evening (i.e., make myself dinner and do a bit of housework before falling in bed).
      No one judged me on it (I was a high performer), but it was taken as another sign of my unconventional yet highly effective approach.

  13. Lacey*

    I used to have an energy drink every morning on my way to work. It was a long commute, so no one ever knew, but I think if I’d had one at my desk every day it would have been seen as a quirk, but not a negative one.

    Though, some people who knew my energy drink habits were concerned and would tell me about articles they’d read about how bad they are for you, I even got warnings from cashiers a few times, so there’s a chance you’d get some of that.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      ….what on earth is bad about energy drinks that wouldn’t be equally bad about coffee with sugar in it? (Legit question, because I think I’ve never actually tried one, but I do love my coffee.)

      (Is Jolt Cola still around? I totally thought that was a joke made up by my friends in IT at first but then it was real.)

      1. Chirpy*

        I once had a coworker question my Mountain Dew in the morning (it was just the sort of day where caffeine was needed, I possibly had a sore throat, and the vending machine was my only option) but honestly, it’s not that different caffeine/sugar wise than coffee and a couple of donuts.

        I will say though, the one time I had a Red Bull, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I think it’s the high concentration of caffeine in a small can hitting all at once, instead of coffee which you typically drink more slowly (or tea, which typically gives you a slower release of caffeine instead of a sharp peak like coffee can?)

          1. Chirpy*

            I mean, I also drink my coffee ideally half filled with milk and/or chocolate. But it’s never hit the same as that one can of Red Bull, for whatever reason.

      2. Lacey*

        Well, they’re often larger, so I think you are drinking more sugar (which is why I stopped drinking Monster & similar) and there were definitely concerns about the Guaraná often used in those drinks (and maybe still are, but I haven’t noticed).

        But usually when you see an article where someone stopped their heart with energy drinks, they drank a TON of them and you’re right, you can do the exact same thing with coffee. But people see the headline & panic without reading the article.

  14. Ann no E*

    Sylized tumblers are so popular these days, I would absolutely pour the energy drink into an opague cup and continue with my day.

  15. My Name is Mudd*

    I constantly have a Diet Coke on my desk and no one has ever mentioned it, unless it’s to ask if me if I want another.

    1. Jojo*

      Another Diet Coke drinker, I almost always have one on my desk. My old boss used to drink Mountain Dew in the morning. It wasn’t viewed as unprofessional, but I’m still going to recommend you pour it into a travel mug or something, because people are weird. I had a guy that just could not stand that I drank SODA. I think he thought it was going to kill me. After I stopped him from nagging me about it, he hung up a thing about the dangers of soda in his cube. I’m pretty sure he would have had the same reaction to energy drinks. Save yourself the trouble and pour it into a mug.

      I like the suggestion to put it in a Koozie, but we had a manager that did that with his sodas, and he got a lot of good natured ribbing over it. Again, save yourself the trouble.

    2. It's the little things*

      Not that it should matter in the slightest, people really do look at Coke different than energy drinks. Again, I couldn’t care less but the optics of it are different in many industries/organizations. In mine, it tends to be seen as an ‘intern habit’, which if someone is further in their career they may not want to be labeled with.

    3. Staja*

      Another DC fan – coffee really doesn’t do it for me.

      In the offices I’ve worked in (call center with all mid-20’s, janitorial supplies, finance at a software company) no one has ever cared. And now I WFH, so the only one judging me is my cat.

  16. Peanut Hamper*

    It’s not the energy drink that is the problem. It’s the marketing. They are marketed as being high-energy and edgy and all the things that you probably would not want in an employee in a traditional office.

    But I have seen lots of people who drink them who are just perfectly everyday office workers who are not going to do an ollie in the lobby on their way out at the end of the day. We really need to change the culture on this one.

    By all means, drink your energy drink (and enjoy it!), but until you’ve built up some capital, I would put it in a different container. But if someone asks, admit to drinking it. “Yep, it’s insert name of energy drink. I love the flavor and it’s how I get my caffeine boost, since I don’t drink coffee.” (Or similar language.)

    It really is time we change the culture on the preferences of people that don’t impact the quality of their work.

    1. caffeinefiend*

      Thanks for the insight! That makes sense that it’s the edgy marketing that makes the perception different. I think you’re right that I will have to put it in another container. I didn’t think to mention in my letter but I will likely be arriving by motorcycle(and changing into appropriate clothing at the office) some days, so perhaps I should be a little extra careful about this.

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        I will say that arriving on a motorcycle in a more conservative office coupled with the energy drink, could make you seem more of a risk taker.

        So as to peanut’s advice above ““Yep, it’s insert name of energy drink. I love the flavor and it’s how I get my caffeine boost, since I don’t drink coffee.”” I would actually advise caution on that, in regards to even admitting to drinking energy drinks.

        I would even maybe go further that in trying to be discrete when you arrive on your motorcycle. At least until you have been able to prove yourself a bit more.

        1. caffeinefiend*

          I think the move will definitely then be to pour a drink in an insulated bottle before I leave home…

          I don’t own my own bike yet, but my partner works very close to my new office and often commutes by motorcycle, and for various reasons it just makes sense for my partner to drop me off some days. I do plan to go by car the first couple of days and maybe scope out a good place to change – it’s a shared office building but I’m unsure if there’s any restrooms outside of the individual suites where I could change and freshen up. I’m hoping that in this case any odd perception can be mitigated by explaining it as being like a very fuel efficient carpooling type option haha… Gas prices are pretty bad here still and I believe bikes tend to put out less nasty emissions too.

          It’s a pretty pro-bike area too – there’s several dealers in town and drivers here seem to be more aware of bikers than in other cities.

  17. VaguelySpecific*

    I have been (good naturally) teased about my love of Mountain Dew. Usually while that person is sipping their cup of coffee. I just point out that the only way I can drink coffee is to add so much cream and sugar to it that the Mountain Dew is actually healthier for me.

    1. Millie's Mom*

      We can be friends! Another Mountain Dew lover here! I know I’m too old for that crap, but I just don’t really care! :-) And same for me with coffee, too – it’s just icky (though I do like the smell of good coffee, it still just tastes awful to me.)!

    2. Relentlessly Socratic*

      I don’t drink sodas anymore, but back in the day Diet Mountain Dew was my breakfast of champions!

  18. higheredadmin*

    I would suggest that if you don’t wish to discuss your choice of drink on a daily basis, pour it into a yeti-type insulated/opaque cup. If you don’t mind the chit-chat about your beverage choice, then you be you.

    1. VaguelySpecific*

      I don’t mind it. It’s always been good natured banter, at least to my face. If people want to judge me by my drink choices behind my back then more power to them ;)

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I always say, if you are going to say negative things about me, at least have the decency to do it behind my back!

  19. KT*

    I think other people are correct in saying it really depends on the office or industry. I work in a creative industry where it’s not uncommon for coworkers to have a perpetual can of pop on their desks. My last job skewed younger as well so there were definitely energy drink people, though many transitioned to coffee or tea over time because we are in a notoriously underpaid industry, and coffee and tea were provided by the office so switching from pop or energy drinks they had to buy themselves was cheaper in the long run.

  20. madge*

    My middle schooler has me hooked on Prime – you know, the beverage brought to the world by Logan Paul. Super professional. I have an insulated, lidded cup (not a water/shaker bottle) that I put it in, although my office would likely laugh it off anyway.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I’ve only seen the hydration version of Prime, and not the energy version. Interesting. The things I learn on this blog!

      1. This Old House*

        When my 8yo first started *begging* for Prime, the only kind they had in stock at our local 7-11 was the energy drink kind, and so we assumed that was the only kind. We were aghast that apparently all the other 3rd graders were bringing this stuff for lunch every day! We had already promised him one, so we assured him this was a one-time deal because energy drinks are not good for kids, I don’t care what your friends say. Then we found the hydration/sports drink version, and it made a lot more sense, and I am resigned to this being one of many incomprehensible but hopefully tolerable fads in the years to come.

  21. MPR*

    This was very normal in the last software department I worked in. Recycle the can as soon as you’re done and generally keep a tidy desk and you’ll be ahead of many of your colleagues.

  22. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    Put the energy drink in something else. I had a professor in college who kept getting talked to by her coworkers about drinking a Coke in the morning. She would say how is it any different than drinking coffee? I only have one in the morning and I hate coffee. They would still lecture her (they were in the health and nursing dept.) So she started putting her Coke in a coffee mug. people couldn’t tell the difference and left her alone.
    There are these silicone rings toppers that came with my custom tumbler. (A family friend has a boutique store that makes them). You can put the can in the tumbler and screw this rubber thing on the top so it holds the can in place. You can’t tell that it’s a can unless you look closely. Sorry, I don’t know what they are called except the silicone ring topper.

  23. LimeRoos*

    It doesn’t matter in my office – I’m the one with the energy drink! I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say anything about energy drinks in offices since I started working. Heck, before I was wfh, our cafeteria had a bunch of different energy drinks. That said, it’ll depend on your office, so take some of the suggestions to put it in a mug or something until you get the lay of the land. Also – Monster Rehab Strawberry Lemonade is my drink of choice – the coconut water and electrolytes and stuff make it less jittery which is nice. And it’s hydrating. Oh also low/no cal.

    I do use it as an ice breaker sometimes while waiting for people to join calls since it’s a little bit of a quirk – I always have my monster, coworker always has her coffee with the flavor of the week, and most of the responses are tea or coffee. Lots and lots of jokes about needing coffee before speaking too.

  24. CR*

    LOL, I work in tech in one of those offices where we have a giant fridge full of drinks.

  25. Keyboard Cowboy*

    Depends on the industry, in tech nobody would bat an eye (unless it’s a flavor they haven’t tried, then they might ask you how you like it).

    1. Keyboard Cowboy*

      oh, and even in tech I wouldn’t recommend it during an interview. Not because of optics, but because nerves + caffeine = mega jitters, and you don’t want to be so jittery that you can’t perform in the interview. I tend to drink what’s in front of me when I’m nervous, so I don’t even get a cup of coffee during interviews, or else I end up jittery. Caffeinate in the car before you head in, and just drink water during.

      1. allathian*

        It really depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine. I suppose if I drank a pot of coffee in an hour I’d get jittery, but one, two, or even three cups in that period? Nope. But it helps that I don’t get particularly jittery even when I’m nervous, I just tend to get a stomach ache. I never turn down a cup of free coffee, but obviously this depends on your physiology. Just don’t assume that what applies to you applies to everyone else as well. But I don’t drink much soda and never drink energy drinks. The ones that I’ve tried all tasted horrible and the taurine in Red Bull gives me palpitations.

  26. I Like to Be Anon*

    Energy drinks are much more common now, and I see them just as much as a soda. I wouldn’t even notice if you were drinking an energy drink vs a tea. Could just be my industry though.

    Pouring it into another cup or mug is a good idea, but I know sometimes it just tastes BETTER out of its original container lol.

  27. Diana Trout*

    I worked with a VP who walked all over the office with a can of Red Bull. Like it was his watch or something. My only complaint was the smell of Red Bull is god-awful – but I am hyper hyper sensitive to smells, so maybe nobody else smells it but me. Granted you never indicated which energy drink it is – so it very well may not even be Red Bull. But several others have said to put it in a cup – just make sure it is opaque since some have a color that looks like flat beer.

    Someone else compared it to Diet Coke – I agree. You do you. But You MAY just want to wait a week or so just to feel out the culture. But it shouldn’t be a problem. Technically coffee is an energy drink anyway.

    1. This Old House*

      I assure you you’re not the only one who smells it. I detest the smell of Red Bull.

      1. Emily*

        I have never had an energy drink or really been around people who drink them, so I didn’t know about the smell, but I think this is another good reason to use a travel mug, water bottle, etc to mask the smell more.

      2. amoeba*

        Yup, me too. Even though I normally fall into the “not scent-sensitive at all” camp.

        So just one note – if it’s a shared office and you do go with the can (which could be fine depending on the general atmosphere and your colleagues! In my office, it wouldn’t be a problem at all), please dispose the can outside somewhere. If it’s in the trash all day, it might start bothering people…

    2. cncx*

      I’m glad someone else mentioned the smell of Red Bull! I would notice the smell more than I would notice the can in an office setting.

    3. Chutney Jitney*

      The flavor is godawful too – like crushed vitamin C tablets. Or those children’s aspirins. It’s weird that a liquid can taste dusty.

    4. Destroyer of Typos*

      I too can smell the scent of Red Bull, which is my husband’s caffeine of choice. I think it smells gross. But, we’re evenly matched: he drinks Red Bull because he can’t stand the smell of coffee, and I grind my coffee beans fresh every few days. We playfully tease each other about our beverage choice, but never expect the other to change. Though he did make effort to cut down on just how many he was drinking, and is at a less concerning volume these days…

      He drinks his Red Bull at work, but he’s in IT and it’s incredibly common in that space, like so many others have said.

      1. allathian*

        Love your user name!

        Yeah, Red Bull smells gross to me too, but I suspect that’s because I had a very negative reaction to the taurine the only time I’ve tried it. I don’t remember being disgusted by the smell before the incident with the palpitations.

  28. Statler von Waldorf*

    As someone who has been judged by employers for drinking energy drinks regularly, I just want to second Alison’s point that optics are not logical. It most of the places I have worked, it wasn’t a big deal. However, I did have one employer who did make a big deal about them to the point where I stopped bringing them to work just to stop the lectures. Based on the optics of energy drinks, he assumed I regularly drank them because I was staying up late playing video games, not because I was dealing with undiagnosed sleep apnea.

    If you’re still concerned, or if your first office job is for a fairly conservative industry where you’ll be wearing a suit, it might be worth it to put it your energy drinks into a travel mug for the first week to so to get a feel for the lay of the land. Once you get a feel for the office, you’ll probably have a better idea on whether this would be an actual issue at your new workplace.

    If you think about it, it’s kind of weird that drinking from a reusable mug looks a little more professional than drinking the same thing directly out of a can, but like Alison said, optics aren’t always logical.

  29. Laika*

    this question is one of the things I love about this site, because this would have never even occurred to me as an issue! I’ve had an energy drink as my first drink of the day every workday for the past 12 years. It’s very normal in my industry and the only time I’ve ever had a comment is when I left an empty can on my desk by accident instead of throwing it away. it blows my mind sometimes how different industry norms can be.

  30. Shynosaur*

    Just coming in to say that this may be a generational thing. I’m a Millennial and actually thought it was odd anyone would even ask. I’m in a library/information science field and work in an office building, and while I myself very rarely get energy drinks, I wouldn’t think twice about seeing somebody with one in their hand or on their desk, every day or not. Everything from Red Bull to Monster is available for sale on-site where I work. Allison’s ” when you picture ‘polished professional,’ you don’t picture a can of Red Bull on their desk” didn’t describe me at all; I can easily picture our CEO or any CEO with Red Bull on the desk.

    As other commenters have said, pay attention to the norms where you are, but as a 30/40something in a reasonably casual field, I would consider this a nonissue and think a company where it *does* matter is being peculiar and stuffy.

  31. Unkempt Flatware*

    In a world of being too careful not to offend, be like me and always drink Liquid Death. Dare people to make assumptions. It makes the day go by.

    1. Belle of the Midwest*

      The only place around these parts (Indianapolis and suburban) that I’ve seen Liquid Death is at concert venues. I remember the first time I asked to buy water at a show and being handed a can and saying, “wait, this looks like beer.” And then I read the label. I have to hand it to them–it’s subversively clever marketing.

      1. Maggie*

        It was made by a guy in recovery who wanted something to hold at a concert basically that fit the look. So you’re spot on!

      2. Festively Dressed Earl*

        I recently had family visiting from overseas, and I saw Liquid Death (Mango Chainsaw) in a convenience store when I ran in for supplies. I bought it just so that they could see America in a nutshell. They took lots of pictures.

      1. More Coffee Please*

        It’s just plain water (bottled in the Austrian Alps, according to Wikipedia) with, as Belle of the Midwest said, some subversively clever marketing.

  32. fine tipped pen aficionado*

    My office is sparse on the coffee drinkers but chock full of diet coke evangelists. I think in 99.9% of situations it doesn’t matter! The only coworker I’ve ever clocked drinking an energy drink is the one who constantly sits down opened cans of energy drink, walks away, and never returns for them. Don’t be that guy and you’ll be fine!

  33. Minerva*

    It absolutely depends on your office. Some stuffier places might see it as childish or unprofessional, but I work in very respected finance company and the over 50-year-old guy down the row from me pounds 2 Mountain Dew every morning because wants the boost and he doesn’t like coffee.

  34. Sophie*

    I work in healthcare, with an office/back-end professional role rather than patient facing. My morning can of Dr Pepper is legendary, and the only time anyone ever dared to comment is if someone in my immediate vicinity is on the phone and I crack the can open – because it “sounds wrong” for the context we’re in – OR the mornings where the can got jostled about in my bag, and I was too pre-caffeinated to notice, so it fountained everywhere and me/my desk/any nearby paperwork get sticky. Sticky paperwork is not great.

    Because of reason 2, I switched to a sodastream and Dr Pete syrup pre-pandemic, and no one batted an eyelid – and now I can see if it’s starting to erupt and screw the lid back on.

    1. Goldenrod*

      I honestly think professionals in healthcare are MORE likely to eat/drink potentially unhealthy stuff than others! I used to work at a hospital and I couldn’t believe all the staff members buying giant Diet Cokes plus a big plate of tater tots and ketchup for breakfast. :D

      I don’t think anyone cared – but I also suggest to OP that if they are extra concerned about appearing adult/professional, then it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution. If for no other reason than it will give them a confidence boost. The same reasoning applies to clothes – I like to look EXTRA professional with my clothes choices in work situations where I feel insecure. Even if no one else cares, it gives you that extra confidence boost.

      1. Me Just Me*

        I’m in healthcare. It’s more odd than not to NOT drink caffeine. Nurses, especially seem to gravitate towards caffeine. Maybe it’s the long shifts or working nights. I don’t know that I necessarily see Providers downing energy drinks (well, other than myself). I keep mine in a tumbler, though. I have a daily energy drink. I also have an afternoon soda, as well.

      2. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

        As a physician, I can tell you we are absolutely awful with our own caffeine consumption. I had a resident who was probably 50% diet coke by weight so he got some good natured ribbing, but otherwise it flies under the radar. So an energy drink in a work context feels pretty normal to me, but I will acknowledge we are NOT a normal sample.

  35. BobSam48*

    I’ve been in a professional career for 13 years. I could not care less what others around me are drinking so long as they are not drunk. Carry on.

  36. Caleb*

    I think this is also one of those things that varies a bit depending on field/location—in the tech industry in the area I live in, energy drinks are very common, and I can’t imagine anyone batting an eye at it or even really noticing it anymore than they’d notice someone drinking a cup of coffee every day. I currently work on the administrative side of the entertainment industry and it’s a similar deal; while I do work remotely, I regularly see my coworkers drinking energy drinks in meetings over Zoom, and it’s never struck me as odd.

    However, I’ve also worked in more formal environments where people would probably notice someone drinking an energy drink every day—not necessarily in a bad way, but it would definitely be noticed. So I think part of this is knowing your field.

  37. Ori*

    Yeah the optics are definitely there, especially given the research over the past 10 years that has really brought to light just how legitimately good coffee and tea are for you (within reason). There’s really no comparison to energy drinks and soda.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      To be clear, this is not the case for everyone. Coffee gives me incredibly horrible diarrhea to the point that I would still be sick several hours after drinking it. I actually went to see multiple doctors before I finally accepted the fact that it didn’t matter what kind of coffee (hot, cold brew, concentrate, decaf), it was always going to make me sick and that stopping it would end my IBS-like symptoms. Soda and energy drinks do not have the same impact on me (neither does tea, but it also doesn’t have enough caffeine in it to be anything but a nice tasting beverage for me, so it’s not an effective substitute). So while I see your point and agree that these reports are probably feeding into the optics, I would like people to just be less judgmental overall and stop assuming that healthy for one = healthy for all. Not saying YOU are doing that, just lamenting that LW even has to deal with this kind of mentality.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        Also, I’m so grateful I can drink my Gfuel at home off camera so that people can’t judge me as being unhealthy for drinking the only form of caffeine I’ve found so far that helps me wake up, doesn’t make me sick like coffee used to, and doesn’t spike my blood sugar as a diabetic.

  38. Forty Years In the Hole*

    Ex-military here. Many Coworkers (mil and civ, all ranks & levels) should have had shares in [insert brand here] given that virtually every desk around me – especially the OPs guys – harboured a stash of canned anxiety. Readily stocked by our Exchange store in HQ.
    You know you’re in for a ride when your Col has already slammed a couple of Red Bulls before 0900.

    1. Forty Years In the Hole*

      …and for many years, there was a certain, large segment of our population that were referred to by a particular, sweet carbonated beverage – because it was initially, cheaper than the leading carbonated soft drink. It stuck for decades. Now seen as somewhat pejorative even though it’s still the caffeinated drink of choice for many in that population.

      1. Twisted Lion*

        I was going to say as someone who works with military that energy drinks are so common its funny. Every so often there is a debate in the office on which ones are the best. LOL

  39. GreenDoor*

    I will admit that when I see people drinking soda water/pop before lunch time, I am totally judging it. Why on earth would anyone want to suck down sugar water first thing in the morning? I realize this is totally illogical – plenty of people dump tons of sugar into their coffee or tea, after all, and I don’t think twice about that. It certainly is a weird thing that people form a bias around. Pour it in a mug or tumbler and enjoy your morning beverage!

    1. les*

      I think it’s a culture/region thing too! I grew up in a family where neither of my parents drank coffee and both started the day with a Diet Coke at 6am, and then continue to drink them all day. I didn’t know that was odd til my NY bf gave me a look one time. It’s pretty popular depending on where you are.

    2. Goldenrod*

      Yep, me too, GreenDoor! I do quietly judge it and feel like it’s a sign of immaturity.

      However, I never have any positional power or reports, so no one cares what I think! :D
      (And I do my judging silently….)

    3. Buffy*

      From my perspective, if I like the taste of something after 11 AM, why on earth would I not like it/want to consume it before 11 AM? But I also have never been someone who felt limited to only eating breakfast foods in the morning. Time and especially meal times are social constructs, I do whatever I feel like doing.

    4. Stuff*

      May I just point out that a TON of energy drinks come in zero sugar options, to the point where those outnumber sugary options where I live. I have a bad daily energy drink habit, and I also never drink sugar sweetened beverages at all. So like, if I’m drinking a Reign or a Rockstar Zero in the morning, that’s not sugary. I’d be very careful about judging.

    5. Bay*

      I’m grateful for this discussion for revealing that I had some judgement in drink selection too! Probably from growing up in the PNW– I do think it’s regional. Sweetened drinks, including sugar in coffee and especially drinks with artificial sweeteners all register as ‘the beverages of unhealthy habits’ to me, which is ridiculous for many reasons including that many of this same culture drink beer like it’s the water of life. As GreenDoor said, a weird thing that people form a bias around, and I’ll be spending some time puzzling out this judgy perpective of mine that I just discovered.

  40. GotWings*

    my fortune 500 ceo drinks them. *shrug* kind of conservative company too. if its just a red bull or something else easily identifiable i wouldnt worry. if its something more obscure maybe pour it into a cup.

    however i have had these thoughts and left my topo chicos at home…

  41. Spearmint*

    The judgment around energy drinks is so bizarre. People act like they’re so weird or unhealthy, yet they have the same amount of caffeine per drink as coffee.

    1. amoeba*

      Completely OT as your choice of beverage and/or your health is not the coworkers’ business at all, but I guess it’s more because of the sugar/sweetener than the caffeine, at least here in Europe. (Although I’ve seen some brands that were literally advertising higher caffeine content! But then you can certainly reach the same level with coffee for sure, just have a little more of it…)

      Guess the labels on the cans saying “not suitable for pregnant people etc” don’t help the perception, either. And, well, the names and branding, haha!

  42. Tired Student*

    I’m a student employee, so I know that it is a different enviroment, but I do pretty much constantly have an energy drink on my person. The only comments I’ve gotten have been from another student worker about how I probably shouldn’t drink as many as I do for the sake of my health. However, when I have to go into my supervisors office, or to meet with a professor, I don’t bring it with my, but I would bring tea or coffee.
    I feel like it feeds into the “chaotic-sleep deprived-stressed out student” vibe, which I try to dial down as much as possible in more professional settings. Once the possibility of working as a TA with a prof came up I stopped drinking them in her class. I say all of this because whenever I start my first “real” job I would probably stick to coffee or tea for a week or two to get a read on the enviroment- I feel like early in someones career it could (in certain enviroments) make the person seem less serious.

  43. Kara*

    I’m a Hydroflask junkie (my brother works at REI and gets me a new color every Christmas) and I always have at least one on my desk at all times. Most people assume it’s filled with water, and most of the time it is but sometimes it’s iced tea or diluted fruit juice.

    I’d just get something similar – a Hydroflask or Yeti cup or something like that and pour your energy drink into it.

  44. Book lover*

    This brings me back to one of my first jobs. I knew my manager had arrived in the office each morning when I heard the pop-zzzzz of her first can of Diet Coke of the day. I’d give her a few minutes after that, then go over and say good morning.

    Not unprofessional at all, but definitely one of the first things people would mentioned if asked to describe her. So think about how you want people to know you!

    1. BellyButton*

      I have not had a soda in 15 years. Diet Coke was always my soda of choice. Even after 15 yrs if I hear the sound of a diet coke opening and being poured over a glass of ice my mouth waters. I can always tell if it is a different soda, Diet Coke has its own very distinct sound!

      1. allathian*

        It does!

        I’m amazed at the number of Diet Coke fans here, because it leaves a horrid bitter aftertaste in my mouth. I drink Coke Zero Sugar on the rare occasions that I drink any soda at all.

  45. yirna*

    I once worked with a guy who drank so many Monsters that he ended up stacking the empty 4-pack boxes along the sides of his cubicle to build a box fort. It was a rather young and fun team for that particular organization, wasn’t really the norm, but also was seen as a quirk and not a big deal. I say, keep it in your bag until you get a feel for whether it’s a more conservative/older/stuffier office and then go for it! Good luck with your new job!

  46. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    I would put this in the same category as, like, a person who always wore pink sweaters. It’s not inherently unprofessional but it’s NOTICEABLE. When you’re first making a name for yourself in an office, people have very little data about you and will just naturally pick up on anything unusual. If you give it a few months to become “that person who always answers my tickets promptly” or “that person who says a friendly hi when I see them in the hallway”, then stuff like having a large brightly-colored drink can at your desk every day becomes secondary rather than accidentally becoming your entire Work Persona (“oh look, Energy Drink Lady sent me a meeting request”). I agree with Alison that this shouldn’t matter, we should be able to bring our whole selves to work blah blah blah, but I’m always in favor of spending some time getting the lay of the land and blending in.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Yes! This is a good summation. I have no doubt that in some circles I’m known as the Cat Lady because my cats have made a number of guest appearances on zoom calls. Anyone who actually has an issue with this is not someone I’d want to work for; however, I still might not make that my persona in the first week or so I’m in a new job.

  47. RLC*

    Another vote for transferring beverage to insulated opaque lidded tumbler. Should eliminate any odd curiosity by others (though it’s none of their business anyway!) A milk drinking colleague periodically had to deal with comments on her beverage of choice, people can be weird.

  48. YaBetterWerk*

    IMO, it’s not the drink it’s the can. If you’re rocking a Red Bull every day, you’re probably fine. If you’re brining in a Full Throttle or some other drink with heavy design, you’re going to get looks. Mostly because they’re gonna be trying to figure out what the can says.

    If you’re worried about your drink selection, use a tumbler.

  49. Fizzbuzz*

    Not saying, this is right, but I would definitely notice and it might make me feel like you’re immature. I think for me, just about any carbonated sweetened beverage would be something I notice. I think it’s likely because they’re marketed towards children and usually very very sweet. Additionally, the sounds are distracting to me: POP, GLUGGLUGGLUG FIZZZZ as it’s poured is just something I associated with kids birthday parties. My office neighbor drinks this and I notice every day. I’m not trying to but he stands out from everyone else.

    1. Fizzbuzz*

      Just commenting today I thought about it more and I realize the amount of sugar in it is a huge component for me. I view it similarly to if you ate a full size snickers bar, or a slice of cake, which actually have less sugar than a can of Coke.

      1. goducks*

        Just like sodas, a lot of the energy drinks on the market today do not contain sugar. I acknowledge the acceptableness of artificial sweeteners swings back and forth as research findings come out, but you’d be wrong to assume that a person consuming energy drinks is consuming massive amounts of sugar. Many energy drinks are zero calories.

        If you wouldn’t judge someone for their latte (full of sugar, fat, caffeine) you shouldn’t judge the energy drinks.

        1. Fizzbuzz*

          This is a good point. I learned reading this thread that many don’t have sugar! I didn’t know that before.

          1. DisgruntledPelican*

            I hope you’ve also learned to not judge people based on a habit or activity you’re actually not educated on.

        2. amoeba*

          Completely OT, but what kind of latte are we talking about here? A regular latte macchiato has no sugar and only the fat content of milk (which is in the low single-digit percent range, so… not high?)

        1. Fizzbuzz*

          Lol yeah that’s kinda fair. To be clear I would never comment on it or gossip about it but I definitely have a preconceived notion about these kinds of drinks. The point was just to give one more personal data point to what people think when they see these drinks.

      2. metadata minion*

        I eat cake for breakfast sometimes. I see no reason to give up sugar just because I’m pushing 40. If you don’t enjoy very sweet things that’s completely fine, but plenty of people do while also being responsible adults.

        1. Cyndi*

          Dunkin has lemon loaf cake right now and I’ve been eating it for breakfast once or twice a week! It’s really good and I’ll be sad when it goes away again.

      3. TechWorker*

        Tbh if you’re judging coworkers for eating chocolate bars you also need to… realise that’s absolutely none of your business :)

        1. amoeba*

          Yeah, like, if anything, I feel like a snickers would be even *less* noticeable than an energy drink? Seems so weird to me that anybody would find that remarkable at all!

      4. who cares*

        Why on earth do you care about the amount of sugar that OTHER PEOPLE are putting into their bodies? That’s such a weird thing to even think about. Do you also gawk at the lunches that people eat and tut tut if they have something that isn’t perfectly healthily balanced?

    2. CR*

      This is such a strange take to me – I don’t think of soda as being marketed towards children at all. Kids drink them, sure, but they’re not marketed as “kid’s drinks.”

      1. Me Just Me*

        In fact, I tend to think of soda as being specifically for late teens and adults. I’m far more likely to side eye kids drinking soda — well, side eye the parents for allowing it. I’d never comment, though.

        1. allathian*

          I don’t see a problem with the occasional soda even for school-age kids (I would side-eye anyone giving soda to toddlers and preschoolers), but energy drinks are definitely not intended for kids. Some stores in my area refuse to sell them to kids younger than 15.

          Energy drinks are their beverage of choice for many students in high school and college, though.

          That said, I started drinking coffee when I was 5, so I’m a lot less worried about kids consuming caffeine than many other parents. I apparently refused to drink milk, and the only way my parents could get me to drink it was to mix 1 part coffee with 9 parts milk. By the time I was 15 the ratio had reversed. But until I went to college I usually only drank one cup of coffee in the morning. At family parties people used to laugh at me because I always drank coffee, even when every other kid was drinking soda or juice. It has to be said that the laughter wasn’t mean but I learned to stand up for my own likes and dislikes early.

          I was allergic to chocolate as a kid, although I grew out of that in my teens, so hot/cold chocolate drinks weren’t an option and there were no other milk flavorings available, unlike today.

    3. caffeinefiend*

      Just curious but what is your perception of coffee based energy drinks, for example the starbucks double/tripleshot drinks?

      1. Fizzbuzz*

        No strong opinion. I think it’s really about marketing and the contexts where I usually encounter the drinks. I’m not as familiar with them. I would notice probably.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      This is a *really* weird take.

      OP, I would ignore this as an outlier honestly. Someone who judges everyone that drinks soda or lemonade or apparently anything other than water basically as childish is not an opinion you need to care about or one you will run into frequently.

  50. Nea*

    I work with software people who build pyramids out of their empty energy drink cans.

  51. acl-ny*

    How about not ignoring the health aspects.

    My husband had a client who drank too many energy drinks. He died from his habit.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Eating meat is linked to heart disease and stroke but it’s not unprofessional or anyone’s business if you eat a ham sandwich for lunch (although it’s definitely the pig’s business, so there’s at least more standing to object to that than someone’s energy drink)!

    2. not a hippo*

      Energy drinks are indeed vile and I’m sorry for your loss, but I fail to see how this comment is helpful.

    3. caffeinefiend*

      LW here – I don’t think the health aspects of what I consume at work are anyone’s business unless I’m literally consuming toxic waste or glue! You wouldn’t hound someone for eating a candy bar I assume.

      FWIW this is not a habit I foresee holding long term either – I do like coffee and understand energy drinks are not great for you. Part of the reason for consuming a lot of them currently is that I have diagnosed ADHD, but due to shortages in both mental health professionals and certain medications I do not have access to medication for it at the moment and so caffeine is the best legally available substitute I have at the moment. This isn’t really something I feel the need to disclose at work either, however (and I do sometimes simply enjoy them for the taste).

      1. goducks*

        In the future, if you want to combat this, please point out the nutritionals on your drink vs theirs.

        For example, a grande (16 oz) Pumpkin Spice Latte (a drink nobody cares if their coworkers drink) has 390 calories (130 from fat) and has 50 grams of sugar, and has 230 mg of sodium, and 150 mg of caffeine.

        A 16 oz Monster has 210 calories and zero fat. It has 54 grams of sugar, 370 mg of sodium and 160 mg of caffeine.

        Does that make Monster good for you? No, it doesn’t. But nutritionally, it stacks up similarly to the PSL, so the judging of it but not the PSL based on health concerns is not valid.

      2. Nina*

        LW, IANAD, IANYD, you should talk to your doctor, but if you’re using the drinks mainly for the caffeine, my partner also has technically-unmedicated ADHD (aaaaaaand is trying to work through executive functioning issues to the point of both calling the doctor’s and going to the appointment) and finds that just straight-up taking caffeine pills works.

        1. caffeinefiend*

          Hey thanks! I do actually sometimes take caffeine pills in addition to my energy drinks or coffee. I find my body reacts slightly negatively to the pills over drinking caffeine so I try to stick to beverages. I would talk to my doctor, but part of the reason I am taking so much is because there are no psychiatrists in my county taking new patients with my current insurance so I can’t see someone about my regular ADHD meds or alternatives. This new job has benefits so I am hoping there will be someone on the health plan offered that I can see in the near future.

      3. Festively Dressed Earl*

        Hail fellow spicy brained person and solidarity on the meds shortage front. FWIW I’m not saying that caffeinated chocolates like Awake got me through law school pre-diagnosis. That would be an incredibly unhealthy way of getting through an untenable situation, and I sure as hell didn’t turn into a caffeine-candy dealer by my second year.

    4. Nina*

      Sure, the ones with vitamin B in them do include a warning on the can (one of my partner’s engineering students got very, very sick during an overnighter when he drank like 3 L of Monster) but one of the 500-mL cans has about the same amount of vitamin B in them as a Berocca, and less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
      One a day and you’re golden.

    5. Book lover*

      Please do not spend any time thinking about the nutritional value of anything I or any of your coworkers consume.

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah. Does it mean I wouldn’t notice if somebody had, I don’t know, multiple snickers and 2 L of energy drink at their desk every day? Probably not. But would that give me any right to comment? Absolutely not!

        I mean, a family member or very close friend, yes, I might have a chat with them if I was actually worried for their health. A colleague/acquaintance? No way.

        And either way, one energy drink a day wouldn’t remotely rise to that level.

  52. Juli G.*

    I can’t believe I’m admitting this. Long time employee. I recently switched from 64 oz of full sugar soda a day (I know, I know) to one sugar free energy drink.

    It has drawn a lot of concern from people, which is sort of funny because my prior habit was double the caffeine and I’ve lost 25 pounds since switching.

    I can handle the comments because again, I have a reputation built here. You may want to consider the mug option so you don’t draw similar well meaning comments or judgements.

  53. FWIW*

    Our vending machine sells multiple flavors of Monster. I don’t think anyone would bat an eye.

    But if you are worried, maybe check the vibe before you crack open a can. Or transfer it to an insulated tumbler.

  54. galacticaput*

    I drink an energy drink every single day – I have GERD and cannot have even a small amount of coffee without misery, and tea on an empty stomach makes me feel like I’m going to throw up. The mild carbonation of the energy drink I use settles my stomach.

    Energy drinks are so expensive, I actually buy the 4C powder you mix with water which saves me $15-20 per week.

    I bring this up not because of the cost but because I mix it in an opaque metal water bottle. Looks like I just have water on my desk all day.

  55. les*

    OP, if it makes you feel any better, I’m just a couple years older than you and work in a government legal job (a combo of traditional/conservative work cultures) and I frequently drink energy drinks in their original container at work. And I know my boss drinks them too. I do think whether it is noteworthy could also be a generational thing. As energy drinks have become more popular, and so many of us grew up with a pretty saturated Energy Drink Market, I don’t think most people would think twice about seeing a Monster at your desk.

  56. Cake or Death*

    I would literally never notice if anyone had an energy drink or not; I would just assume it’s a soda, if I even noticed at all. And I’m completely baffled that anyone would think energy drinks should be viewed any different than any other soft drink, and hold the view that energy drinks are unprofessional. And if someone were to share that opinion with me, I’d probably look at them like they have 2 heads. Like, WHO CARES what type of caffeinated beverage someone drinks?

    1. BellyButton*

      Same. I think of them as soda, I don’t drink either, and don’t care if others do.

  57. BellyButton*

    I have never thought twice about what people’s drink of choice is at work. OH WAIT- I take that back. I did notice the guy who always drank milk.

    “Milk was a bad choice.”

    1. Be Gneiss*

      I would definitely notice someone drinking milk at their desk! But, as a born-and-raised Midwesterner, it would only strike me as mildly odd, like the guy who wears his snow boots all day at his desk.

    2. HonorBox*

      I know a guy who drank milk all the time. I enjoy a glass of milk from time to time too. But I was weirded out when he ordered it with his meal at an Irish pub one time.

  58. AnonRN*

    Night-shifter here (not your typical office job, for sure!) and while I don’t drink energy drinks myself, I work with does. I think the optics are different for, say, the Celsius brand drinks (marketed as a fitness/metabolism enhancement that happens to contain 200mg caffeine) or V8 which also makes an energy drink but is the brand your grandmother drinks…versus Liquid Death or Monster with their jagged font and up-all-night can’t-stop-the-party vibe. OP might find that one image flies better with their co-workers than the other, even though I’d like to point out that a large Dunkin coffee contains 260mg caffeine and most people don’t look askance at people drinking coffee in the morning!

    1. Juli G.*

      I have to point one thing which fits into the optics theme.

      Liquid Death is water. It’s not an energy drink. They have a couple of teas but even those only have 30mg of natural caffeine.

    2. Katie Impact*

      I’d agree that there are energy drinks that don’t “look” like energy drinks to most people. I occasionally drink something called Shine, which looks like a fruit juice blend or some kind of health drink but has a bunch of caffeine in it if you look closely at the label. In my case it’s just because I like the taste and it’s low in sugar, but it could also be good for the OP’s situation.

      1. amoeba*

        I also love mate-based drinks – not sure if they’re big in the US? Here they definitely are, and I think they might be more “serious-looking” than your average energy drink. More “hipster iced tea” than “party all night”. They have the added benefit of no strong smell (and a more “natural” taste as well, if that’s something you’d like).

        I know tastes differ, but just wanted to throw out the recommendation!
        (And now I really want a Club Mate…)

  59. goducks*

    Let me preface by saying that I don’t drink energy drinks. I don’t care for most sweet carbonated beverages, by personal choice. HOWEVER, given that coffee consumption is down considerably in the 20 something population, and that that group is a huge consumer of energy drinks (it’s their preferred source of caffeine as a generation, at least currently), consider whether any judgement is really about the drink, or about stereotypes about younger workers. And if you judge your colleagues because they drink an energy drink instead of a latte, what kind of weird gatekeeping of the workplace are you engaging in?

  60. Whew*

    What’s the white collar office version of “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean”? Because I am thinking of something along the lines of “if you have time to care about someone’s beverage, you have time to fling yourself into the nearest dumpster”.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      ^^ Right?

      Of all the things to be worried about, I guess I have to add “coworkers assuming I’m drinking booze when I’m not because of the shape of the container” to the list. Unbelievable.

      1. goducks*

        yep. Which is especially weird considering the few times I’ve encountered people drinking unsanctioned alcohol in the workplace, they’ve gone to great lengths to conceal it, such as by putting it in a lidded travel mug and mixing it with something with a strong scent, like coffee. People trying to get away with drinking on the job aren’t drinking out of the branded containers!

  61. Merci Dee*

    Instead of having regular vending machines in our cafeteria/break room, we have a mini market stocked and managed by Buffalo Rock. Our drinks coolers are stocked with several different types of energy drinks, and the snack shelves have a couple of small displays of 5 Hour Energy drinks. It isn’t unusual at all to see someone in the offices of our various departments who might have an energy drink on their desk.

  62. Assistant for Eternity*

    Be prepared for MANY, MANY, MANY comments. I do this and not a day goes by where someone doesn’t comment on it.

    It’s not unprofessional, but people will notice and people love to have Opinions.

  63. Silicon Valley Purgatory*

    If you don’t want people to see what you’re drinking (if your energy drink is neon-colored, for example), try putting the drink in an opaque refillable bottle!

  64. V*

    I’m honestly floored by the comments and how normal it is to drink energy drinks daily. I’m in my late 20’s, take medication for my ADD, and work in an office –
    I’ve (very recently) ((two days ago)) made an effort to avoid drinking them daily, because of all the negative health connotations people kept citing. Seriously, so many, ‘man those will screw you up’ ‘Those are so bad for you’ ‘My cousin’s sister-in-law’s step dad had a heart attack and he drank energy drinks’

    It’s not rocket science: energy drinks clearly aren’t good for you, but hardly anything is.

    I personally love energy drinks; it could be a totally pavlovian thing for me and I just take comfort from having had them for so long (the only reason I survived in retail), but I feel like they wake me up quickly and keep me steady and focused.

    My office is smaller (think 15 people), and I kind of garnered a reputation for myself from always having an energy drink on my desk. It wasn’t a big deal, but like I said, I also got a bunch of warnings about my health. (Which ultimately cowed me into trying to give them up. I’m drinking a can of coke to supplement in the interim, but reading the comments, maybe I should just go back to drinking the energy drink.)

    1. Spearmint*

      I don’t get why people think energy drinks are bad for you. An energy drink had comparable amounts of sugar as soda, and there are many artificially sweetened choices if you want to avoid the sugar. And he caffeine content is similar to coffee. I don’t see how having one a day is any worse than having a latte every morning.

  65. fromonepmtoanother*

    This is one of those very industry specific ones as well! If you’re in IT or software (especially in the US on the west coast) I think this would be seen as totally normal and wouldn’t stick out. If you’re at a legal firm on the east coast? I bet it makes a bigger impact.

  66. Brain the Brian*

    Either way, you will be better than I was early in my career, when I was so tired that I took naps in the room designated for nursing mothers to pump breast milk. (“Wellness room” was not a helpful moniker.) Drink your energy drink, my goodness!

  67. Rainbow Bridge Troll*

    I used to work for a high level executive in their 60s who perpetually carried around a bottomless tumbler of Red Bull. They drank so much of it, their breath and their office had that awful energy drink smell. People definitely commented/joked about their Red Bull consumption to their face, and also talked about it behind their back because it was so pervasive–never water, never coffee, never sparkling water, never anything except a big-ass tumbler of Red Bull. They were also chaotic and forgetful – stacks of paperwork piled into columns in their office, would promise/agree to something and then completely deny they’d ever done that, interpersonally inconsistent with seemingly no rhyme or reason for why you were a trusted employee one week and a problem the next. It was easy to blame the energy drinks for their behavior. Later we found out they were a functional alcoholic, and everything made SO much more sense – including the bottomless Red Bull.

    Definitely decant your drinks into a more neutral container, but maybe switch up your drink occasionally, and make sure you don’t stink lest you become “that energy drink person” at work. I say this as one of those “diet coke people.” ;-)

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Is the plot twist that the Red Bull was not, in fact, Red Bull?

      Or mixed with something else?

      1. Rainbow Bridge Troll*

        Correct – Red Bull was being used to mask vodka. There were a few times I thought I caught a whiff of alcohol but brushed it off as just that weird chemical/vitamin smell of energy drinks. And this wasn’t someone I’d ever have thought would be drinking on the job!

        But, yeah, it turned out to be booze.

  68. Waiting on the bus*

    A colleague at ex-job drank multiple Red Bulls while at the office, at least three per day. He had a second job where he worked nights and needed the caffeine.

    It was never an issue in our more relaxed office. The one thing that did happen is that the sound of a can opening became synonymous with that colleague. You would hear a can being opened at 10am and know that Fergus had arrived.

    If you don’t want to be known for your energy drink consumption, I recommend a travel mug like many commenters above. The travel mug has the added bonus of curtailing the smell. If it’s purely the optics of having a can at your desk every day you should be fine with just pouring it into a mug or glass. I don’t think most people would even recognise what you’re drinking without the can.

  69. OhHi*

    I used to work in “luxury retail” and my boss told me that my morning Diet Coke was unprofessional and I needed to drink it before I got to work. I worked in the back and was not customer facing.

  70. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Switch to a brand with a different aesthetic like Celsius, Alani Nu, or Starbucks. Celsius cans are plain white backgrounds, while Alani Nu has more relaxed colors than Monster or Rockstar. If you don’t want to mess with a separate container, there are canned energy drinks that don’t look like an 80s hangover.

  71. MCMonkeyBean*

    I have a Monster energy drink most mornings. To be honest I don’t think it really does anything for me, but the ritual of it feels like I’m starting my morning. I simply don’t like the taste of coffee so I have these instead. Sometimes I have one of those V8 energy juices. I looked up the caffeine amounts once to make sure I wasn’t being unsafe and it seems comparable to an average cup of coffee. Overall I’m probably having less caffeine per day than most of my colleagues since most of them seem to have more than one coffee. (For reference there is 140 mg in one 16 oz can of Monster, whereas coffee seems to be all over the place but most things are telling me between 100-180 mg in an average 8 oz cup, though some common Starbucks orders look to go well over 400 mg)

    My office sold them in the cafeteria and in some vending machines so I’ve honestly never thought twice about whether anyone would consider it unprofessional. At least one other person in a cube near mine when I worked in the office also had them somewhat regularly and she’s actually the one who convinced me to try the white flavor lol.

  72. slashgirl*

    I drink Monster zero (type 2 diabetic) and have one almost every day. I work in an elementary school library. I have the cans to the side–they can be seen, if you’re looking for them, but I don’t have sitting next to where the kids come up to my desk and I usually don’t take a drink from them while I have a class. If I do, I’m not obvious about it. And if I don’t have a monster, then I’ve got Coke Zero (I like it better than diet coke). I don’t drink coffee or tea–and given that most of the rest of staff walk around with their Timmys (or Robins) in hand, I don’t worry about it. Monster and CZ are my caffeine delivery methods.

    I’ve had a couple kids say to me: “You drink energy drinks?” And I simply tell them that yes, I do. I don’t actually get any more of a buzz off the energy drinks than I do my Coke Zero; I drink them because I love some of the flavours you get. If I did get grief about it, I’d just put it in one of my used 500ml pop bottles (I buy the 2L of pop, keep ’em in the fridge at work, and just refill the 500ml bottles, less expensive) and tell people it’s juice.

    So, yeah, as others have said, if you’re worried, put it in a different container.

  73. Bree*

    I have a metal insulated coozie thing from Amazon that I put my Monster in everyday. I never thought about how it looked, I just wanted to keep it cold while I drink it all morning. It has an insert so you can use it for a regular can of soda too. It’s similar to metal insulated cups with a straw only for cans. No one has commented on my drink choices so I think the cup definitely blends in!

  74. Sun in an Empty Room*

    I work with two people who drink energy drinks at their desks. One drinks them regularly enough I rarely notice. The other only drinks them for recovery after rough nights. If I see one of those five hour energy shots on either of their desks I’m minding my own business. I would avoid creating a clear pattern like the last two examples.

  75. Just Another Techie*

    The one exception is tech. I work in hardware, not software, so a bit more conservative than the silicon valley stereotype, but still, many MANY of my colleagues have a can-or-more-a-day habit of Monster or whatever, and no one thinks twice about it.

  76. La Triviata*

    A former co-worker used to pop into the restroom and chug down an energy shot several times a day. I didn’t think much of anything about it.

    However, you need to check what you’re pulling out of the refrigerator – one father, before his coffee, packed his kid’s lunch and discovered he’d sent an “adult beverage” rather than the water with a remarkably similar label.

  77. Kat*

    I think it’s interesting to ask why people are drinking to that point. Is it a young crowd? I overdid it in my 20s but if they’re over 30 and coming to work hungover maybe there’s some issue like that meme “you don’t hate Mondays, you just hate capitalism”

    1. Kat*

      Oops sorry I commented on the wrong post by accident- the one where people come in hungover


    2. In Soviet Russia*

      There were plenty of people turning up to work hungover or drunk in the Soviet Union, believe me.

  78. Good Enough For Government Work*

    I could not possibly imagine for one second noticing or caring about a person having an energy drink at work.

    I would judge like hell anyone who DID notice, though. Do you genuinely have so little going on in your life?

    1. Sunflower*

      Well, if I see someone with a can in their hands or desk every day, I would start to notice their preferred drink. Doesn’t mean I judge them. It’s just being observant because it’s there everyday.

  79. merida*

    A former coworker of mine drank a can of Mountain Dew every morning – not unprofessional, but it was only memorable because most of us (including me:) thought Mountain Dew was pretty gross. We’d give him a hard time about it but we’d also get him a can from the vending machine when we wanted to say thank you for a job well done, so I don’t think he minded our teasing. He was also the person to go to if you were running a soda can collection drive. lol

  80. HonorBox*

    If you want to appear a particular way, I’d say just throw it in some sort of insulated cup and no one will be any the wiser. If you err on that side of things, just until you learn the “norms” of your new workplace, you might be able to get away not putting it into the cup after a bit of time passes.

    All of that said, I love a good energy drink, so I’d be all for it. I’d want to chat you up about what kinds you like. Maybe there’s one I haven’t tried (there’s a new one I haven’t tried that a buddy dropped off to me that’s sitting in my office as I type). To me there’s not a whole lot of difference between an energy drink and almost anything else you bring to work for a beverage that isn’t just a run of the mill ceramic coffee cup or glass for water. People might think something about a handle of soda. Someone might think it is weird to have a huge bottle for water (see the reactions to Gabby on “Shrinking”). Go with what you like, what makes you ready to work and everyone should be happy.

  81. Perplexed Coffee Drinker*

    This is fascinating, I don’t drink energy drinks personally but have never thought twice about people who do, and certainly never thought it made them seem less professional. If anything I would *maybe* assume someone drinking an energy drink to be a grind-set hardworker type, but again, I don’t think I would notice at all to begin with. IMO you are completely fine. (For what it’s worth, I’m around 30 and work in academia)

  82. Energy drink*

    I’ve never seen anyone have a problem with someone drinking an energy drink every day.

    Just don’t have ten cans empty cans on your desk.

    But I’d give you the same advice about takeaway coffee cups.

  83. M*

    I think some of y’all are overthinking this. It does not matter what you drink as long as it isn’t liquor or smelly.

    1. Purchasing Agent 007*

      When my former (mean-spirited) boss went on maternity leave I hired an assistant to help me while boss was gone. Assistant drank a Monster Energy every day, which I didn’t even think twice about. In fact, I would buy Assistant cans of their fave flavor sometimes as a pick-me-up to be nice. We had a dedicated aluminum can recycling bin that we’d only empty out once a month or so. Boss came back during her leave to visit, looked at the bin full of empty Monster Energy cans and sneered at us, “uhg, who is drinking that trash? disgusting.” Assistant looked mortified. It was just the two of us in the office so I said, “I like them.” Which was enough for Boss to make it think it was me and drop the issue. I thought of this incident immediately when reading this question. Unfortunately there are people out there who are mean-spirited, judgmental, and petty.

  84. Moose*

    Maybe this is a matter of culture or industry but I would not think twice if I saw someone with an energy drink. And we’re not in something like, I dunno, video game development, but we are a pretty casual industry.

  85. SometimesCharlotte*

    I’m thinking about my first office job 30ish years ago when I was 18 and I drank a Coke every morning – I had yet to discover the joy that was coffee – and every single person in the office thought that was strange and remarked on it in some way. I was the youngest in the greater unit by close to a decade (and my particular team but more like 3 decades) and the Coke in the morning underlined that. I don’t think anyone thought it was unprofessional (not that it was a very professional office either) just YOUNG.

  86. kiki*

    I was an energy drink person for a while in my career and I actually ended up pouring drinks into a tumbler because otherwise I got a lot of health advice/ concern for my work-life balance (which was actually fine at that time, I just was used to a large dose of caffeine). I think this may have partially been gendered since men drinking energy drinks didn’t seem to get any comments, but I don’t know for sure.

  87. Buffy Rosenberg*

    I agree with Alison overall, but my first thought was: some energy drinks really, really stink. A lot of people find the smell overwhelming. I know a lot of things we consume in the office smell but it’s another thing worth considering, especially when the association people have may well be “night club/bar/student halls.”

  88. H3llifIknow*

    Isn’t the “Easy Button” to buy a nice professional looking travel mug and pour it in there before leaving home? Not only looks “better” but will also keep it cold. I’m not an energy drink drinker, but my hubby is and I’ve tasted his and cold it’s not good but warm it’s entirely awful.

  89. Jolie*

    What if you drink something a bit unusual?
    I discovered recently that I really like cold brew mocha concentrate with tonic water.

  90. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

    I would say disguise it until you have established your reputation, and you see what the environment is like. You don’t necessarily want to be known right away as “energy drink person”, which could happen if you’re the only one.

  91. Analyst*

    I take it one step further – I have canisters of pre-workout powder loaded with caffeine and beta-alanine and shake them up with water routinely throughout the day! In the past 10 years this has not caused me to be fired/lose a promotion/get placed on a PIP.

    In my case, the start of my career was in the crisis center of a government agency. Sometimes we had to stay up later addressing a crisis somewhere in the world and it wouldn’t be rare in that situation. I kept up with it in later analyst jobs. It is a cognitive performance enhancer.

  92. H.Regalis*

    YMMV but having worked in IT and libraries, no one cares. At my job, I see more people drinking soda and energy drinks at work than I do people drinking coffee. For myself, I have all three.

    If you’re in an extremely conservative industry or just an extremely stuffy place of work, use a travel mug like everyone else has said; but the vast majority of the time, no one will care.

  93. Person from the Resume*

    Honestly, my immediate response is “no.” And my more thoughtful response is still “no.”

    I do not drink coffee. I get my caffeine from (too much) Coke Zero. I work from home now, but I gave no more thought to an energy drink on someone’s desk 10+ years ago than I gave to a soft drink or a coffee.

    I’m pretty sure some people in the tech industry live on energy drinks. It could maybe be unprofessional in some very conservative fields … the kind where people still wear suits and women wear pantyhose … but still 20 somethings today grew up with energy drinks common and available.

  94. Energy Drink Expert*

    While I will tell you you shouldn’t worry too much about it, I’ll also tell you that people WILL comment. Until very recently I was drinking one or two cans a day of NOS or Rockstar or whatever at work, through my entire career (so like, past 7ish years I think), and someone at EVERY JOB commented. At least one person, if not multiple.

    With that said: they were mostly mystified that I wasn’t dead, or that I was able to consume that much caffeine without shaking. I gave breezy responses for the most part, explaining that I had developed a high tolerance so no, the caffeine didn’t bother me at all, making a joke about vices, etc.

    I definitely developed a reputation for being The Girl With Energy Drinks but my work was solid and I was easy to work with, so at most it was just a random little factoid about me. I work in tech, so that might be a factor, but I did this from my early 20s onward and it was a non issue.

    Before anyone asks: Yes, I had undiagnosed ADHD LOL

  95. MD*

    I also have a Red Bull (or two) daily. I pour it into a matte black cup with a lid and black straw I got from Starbucks. No one can see the weird yellow color of the drink that way. I don’t drink coffee or tea and it’s worked perfectly well for me!

  96. BabeRoe*

    I used to pour my daily soda in a mug. Just make sure that if you want to go through that trouble to make sure that people aren’t watching you pour it and dont throw the can away at your desk every day.

  97. Sunflower*

    I think people notice if someone drink one thing all the time, not just energy drinks. But will they care about? Not likely. They just want you to act friendly and professional.

    There was a guy who drinks red bull every day. He got a six pack for Christmas from a coworker.

  98. Raida*

    I would just get a stubby cooler.

    And be open that you have a V/Red Bull/GFuel/Whatever as your caffeine of choice, stating “It has the same amount of caffeine as a normal coffee, I’ve never been one to drink a dozen in a day, hah.”

  99. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    How about putting an energy drink into a water bottle or Yeti cup?

  100. The Analyst*

    I don’t like coffee and I’m not a big tea drinker. I always drink Coke Zero at my desk. People notice for sure! I am, at every office I have worked in, The One With The Coke Zero. It has never held me back, though, and I have gotten many gifted Coke Zeros in my day. Note: at conferences or other travel-y types of events, stock up on your preferred beverage and carry with you BEFORE you get into the event. I find the bigger the event the more it leans into the mean of “coffee only”.

    1. fka Get Me Out of Here*

      I love Coke Zero as my afternoon pick-me-up and that was my go-to during accounting busy season besides coffee. On the last day of our financial statement audit, running on literally two and a half hours of sleep, I discovered that I had missed a testing procedure because a manager had deleted it without telling me, and I broke down in tears. I was so tired I couldn’t stop crying, and I had so much work to do that I just sat in the client’s conference room with my (mostly male, slightly younger) colleagues with tears streaming down my face. (I wasn’t noisily sobbing, just couldn’t rein in my tear ducts and maybe sniffling some.) The guys went out for their usual convenience store run, and even though I had declined when they asked if they wanted me to pick anything up, they still brought me back a Coke Zero to try to make me feel better – which almost made me start crying more because it was surprisingly thoughtful of them. I don’t miss audit signing days, even if I am still working crazy hours on the client side of the audit.

    2. Elle*

      Huh. My Diet Coke consumption got me rather a lot of flak at work, had colleagues complaining daily about how unhealthy it is, and ten years later I have not forgotten the outcry when I (once!) burped in the office. “Unladylike”

  101. I have RBF*

    I work in tech. In that field, no one would bat an eyelash about an energy drink on your desk. But, just in case, and to keep it cold if you want it that way, put it in one of those insulated tumblers (Yeti, RTIC, etc.) The it could be anything from water, tea or soda to sangria.

  102. Human on earth*

    Pour it into a separate cup. Done. (As Allison said, I’m not sure if it’s needed, but if you’re concerned, that’s the easiest thing).

  103. mountainshadows299*

    At my last job, pre-pandemic, there was a GROUP of coworkers well into their 30s who would buy Monsters or Rockstars on our break time runs to 7-11. No one seemed to think anything of it, and it’s no one else’s business anyway. (Unfortunately I know people don’t work like that). So, I’d say, if you’re really bothered, try to make friends with coworkers who also drink them!

  104. Teapot Unionist*

    my wife drinks the mountain dew am because it is low sugar and no one has ever commented. she also drinks the monster zero sugar, which I suspect gets more noticed.

    I think pouring them in a travel mug makes sense. I pour my coffee into a ceramic mug from the paper cup so that people don’t comment on my disposable cup issues.

  105. fka Get Me Out of Here*

    When I was in public accounting, the partner would comment on the associates’ consumption of energy drinks. Never said anything about me drinking something like 7-8 cups of coffee a day during busy season (I doubt he noticed the quantity), but a single energy drink sighting would send him on a 10+ min lecture about them.

    As an aside, my 37 y.o. older brother drinks energy drinks instead of coffee and I rib him about it every time I see it.

  106. Baron*

    I’m a nonprofit ED in a pretty conservative field, and I’m a Coke drinker – for most of my career, I stuck to coffee at work, because I agree, it reads more “adult”, but a few years ago, I simply stopped caring. We all have quirks. I drink Coke. People will survive.

    It is interesting, though. It feels to me like “energy drinks” and “cola” are perceived differently – both as vaguely immature, but in subtly differing ways.

  107. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    If you are trying to quit energy drinks, then they are Totally! Unprofessional! and you should never EVER take one to work lest the Shame of Unprofessionalness fall upon you.

    If you aren’t trying to quit energy drinks, nobody cares that much, really.

  108. I Fought the Law*

    This whole discussion is weird to me! I’m 45 with two professional degrees, and have worked in office anvironments for over 20 years. Coffee makes me sick, so I drink two Monster drinks a day, or a Monster and a Coke Zero if I’m well rested. I carry them to meetings and have ducked out to grab a Monster before a meeting starts. I’ve done this my whole life, and no one has ever said anything other than to commiserate over the need for caffeine. At worst, they think it’s a funny quirk and then never mention it again.

  109. kundor*

    It so happens I was just recently visiting another office and overheard some of the people there (who I don’t really know) ribbing one guy about drinking energy drinks every day.

    So that’s an indication that some people will definitely notice, but also it wasn’t a negative thing or a reflection on his competence, just…a trait that you might be lightly teased for, it seems. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It can help you bond with the team and be a little more recognizable, I think. For instance, I remember that guy more as an individual than most of the other people I met there!

  110. should decide on a name*

    Sigh. One of the ten billion reasons why I love WFH, and hate working in offices.

  111. Lyngend (Canada)*

    I usually put my energy drinks into a water bottle, because I like having reusable icecubes in them.

  112. AnonEMoose*

    I’m usually drinking either Diet Coke or water at the office, occasionally hot chocolate or something – I’ve never liked coffee. In a former job, I had a coworker who sat on the other side of the cube wall say that she knew I’d arrived in the morning when she heard the first can of Diet Coke open. We both laughed and that was it.

    I truly can’t understand why some people pay so much attention to something like what someone else chooses to drink. Don’t they have enough to occupy them otherwise? I mean, if I spend enough time around someone, I’d notice what they like, but mostly? Don’t know, don’t care, and I’d probably give anyone who brought it up to me a really “WTF?! Why do you care?” kind of look. The exception would be if someone had a concern related to alcohol or something like that. Because that can have implications for the workplace if they’re driving, operating machinery, etc.

    I mean, if I see some flavors of religious or political themed stuff all over someone’s desk/office, I feel like it tells me something important about them, and I make a mental note that I do not want to have certain conversations with them, for reasons. But what they choose to drink? Not my circus, not my monkeys.

  113. BasementCat*

    I think it really depends on the industry/org. I’ve had daily morning energy drinks while working in higher ed, local government, and small NPs, while aged mid 30s to early 40s – I never thought twice about it. It was easier to carry into the office and cheaper than buying iced coffee. Now that I’m fully remote I’m trying to wean myself off of them and make my own coffee, but I still occasionally drink them. I probably wouldn’t bring one into a meeting with me (in person or zoom) until I got a sense of the office culture, but that’s about it.
    It’s not worth stressing about so do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable, especially while you get used to the job. And congratulations!

  114. fhqwhgads*

    FWIW, I don’t think of energy drinks as stereotypically unprofessional, or immature, or young…or any of the other things OP seemed concerned about – or anything negative really. I think of energy drinks as the stereotypical Morning Beverage of IT People. It’s not a value judgement, just an association. There’s nothing to worry about here, I don’t think.

  115. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    Energy drinks are so common, I honestly doubt anyone would notice and so what if they do? There’s all kinds unique non-alcoholic drinks people are drinking from flavored teas and organic sodas., to kombucha.

  116. Energiser Bunny*

    Energy drinks are rife in professional offices, how else do you think we get through our days?

  117. onetimethishappened*

    Do people really care what others are drinking at work (as long as its not alcohol)? I have been in the professional workforce for nearly 15 years and someone in the office (if not more that one) is always the token energy drink person. Several coffee drinkers, and tea drinkers. I literally could not care less what others drink.

    1. May*

      Literally the only time someone made a comment about what I was drinking at work was when I brought in cans of Liquid Death (which they do look like beer cans when I think about it). It’s literally canned water…

  118. Bookworm*

    I personally wouldn’t and agree with others: if you’re in a field where this would be a common drink and/or you’re otherwise polished (professional dress, etc.) then I wouldn’t worry about it. Do hope no one gives you grief, though!

  119. Clueingforlooks724*

    In most places I don’t think it would be “A Thing” but it does feel like something that is just out of place enough for people to comment on. Like, hey, you like a different type of energy in the morning. So I’d notice it in the way I’d eventually notice that someone has a lime green purse on their desk. Just off enough to grab my eye.

    Then I could see people with the “oh, late night again? ha ha ha” type comments everyday that get pulled over into a “reputation” for someone staying out all night and needs that daily BOOST. (even though it is absolutely not a thing at all)

  120. Save Bandit*

    Man, the drink judgment is real! I have a significant Diet Coke habit. I am aware of the health repercussions, but I don’t like coffee or tea, and it is what it is. I stop to get fountain drinks every morning, and get one for the morning and one to keep in the fridge to have with lunch/in the afternoon. It was embarrassing the number of comments I got on it when I started my new job last summer. I had been at my previous job for 10 years; everyone knew, and everyone minded their business.

    It’s so obnoxious to comment on what people are eating or drinking. Do you really think you’ll be the first person to tell me, “Hey, maybe that’s not super healthy!”??? No. It’s like any other vice. No one is smoking a cigarette thinking, “This is my favorite, totally harmless habit.” Same with me and my Diet Coke. Just let me live!!
    (Sorry, I apparently really had to get that off my chest!)

    1. laser99*

      I have never worked in an office . The extent to which those people police each other’s diets, clothing, makeup etc into infinity baffles me.

  121. Mockingjay*

    Energy drinks alongside coffee and soda are very common in my industry. We thrive on caffeine and sugar. I was ecstatic when I found canned caffeinated fizzy water.

    If you want to disguise the contents, there are plenty of koozies. Use the company’s branded koozie if they offer one.

  122. Retired Lady*

    I have those insulated bottles that keep beverages hot or cold for a long time and use them for my sodas and flavored waters. They work great. Get a bottle that holds a little more than the amount in your can of Red Bull, and add some reusable ice cubes (or real ice) , it will stay cold for 10-12 hours. This has the added benefit of drinking it more slowly because you’re not rushing to finish it before it gets warm. I do the same with a smaller bottle for coffee.

  123. Gilgongo*

    My boss just got out of the hospital from having acute pancreatitis from drinking too many Red Bulls.

  124. Head sheep counter*

    I don’t particularly care what folks drink (although culturally find sodas and energy drinks a very strange morning beverage) – but I care about the amount of landfill and waste they produce. Not so much that I’d comment to someone – but I notice and I judge. Here’s looking at you bottled water drinker when the filtered water is right next to your desk. It was a little bit of a relief when my building admitted that they weren’t recycling… because it was obvious they weren’t so at least they were honest… but now… I think a lot less about this organization. Reduce, Re-use and Recycle! Moving to another planet is… not an option (I am very aware of the issues around recycling).

  125. There You Are*

    I worked at Household Brand Name Soft Drink Maker and for the folks who didn’t care for HBN’s colas or citrus sodas, they just poured their Competitor’s Cola into either an opaque water bottle, or poured them into HBN’s bottles.

    OP has tons of options here for disguising their energy drink if they want to.

    Also, I currently work at the corporate headquarters of a U.S. manufacturer (so, more conservative than, say, a tech startup) and I see energy drinks on people’s desks all the time.

    If for some bizarre reason someone said anything, the OP and my energy drink consuming co-workers can just say, “Coffee upsets my stomach. This [hold up can] is the perfect caffeine-delivery system for me.”

    But, really, I can’t imagine anyone would notice the energy drink the way they notice a calendar on a cube wall. (“What a cute picture of kittens.”)

  126. Oh hey thereee*

    I am a 30 year old working in the science field with lots of fancy credentials and I often have to feet with higher ups wearing suits.
    I too drink an energy drink a day and it’s often at my desk in the morning. Energy drinks are the new “coffee” at alot of places (it seems). Weirdly I don’t bat an eye at a Red Bull my coworker is drinking at 7am, but if he had a 12oz can of cola I might internally think it’s weird.
    Coffee and tea isn’t everyone’s caffeinated beverage of choice and I don’t think anyone should or would think it’s weird to drink an energy drink at work.

  127. Vanna*

    So wildly here’s a reverse issue that my partner and I talked about:
    He is an audio engineer who traveled with Warped Tour for a few summers. On stage they wanted artists and workers to be drinking branded stuff (monster energy) and since it was summer time everyone wanted water. So Monster supplied Tour Water which is literally canned water in monster cans so it looked like everyone was pounding energy drinks when really they had water.
    Wild stuff.

    Drink the energy drink

  128. former media grunt*

    Sure, drink what you want and everyone saying it’s weird to care what other people eat or drink is correct, but that isn’t really the question. It’s a question of perception and there are people who perceive energy drinks (and soda in the morning) as bro-y and/or immature. Energy drinks are marketed for, primarily, young men who do or enjoy extreme sports or all-night gaming and/or young adults who stay out too late and need the boost to get going the next day. People up and down this thread are using examples of energy drinks being perfectly unremarkable in tech or the military or construction–and all those fields have reputations for being heavily masc and/or, as with tech, valuing youth and also (unfortunately and hopefully changing) bro-ishness. It’s your prerogative to not care or to find the people who have these perceptions as uptight busybodies or that “looking professional” varies by industry and is overrated anyway, but that doesn’t mean the perceptions don’t exist. It shouldn’t matter, but it can, and I think you’re right to be questioning it at a new job.

  129. Missy*

    I drink red bull and echo LW’s concerns. It’s completely irrational as no one has ever said anything but I can’t shake the feeling it isn’t viewed the same way as tea/coffee even though both have caffeine.
    I only drink one can (not for the caffeine I just like the taste) in the morning whereas those drinking tea/coffee normally have multiple cups a day. I also think the type of workplace makes a difference, drinking an energy drink in a retail/warehouse setting for example is viewed differently to an office.

    I work in a office so I just put it in a takeaway coffee cup if I’m going in to meeting but drink it from the can at my desk.

  130. Wintermute*

    As to your drink choice– it also heavily, heavily depends on your field. In IT, most of us are gamers, or ex-military, or both and energy drinks are seen as entirely normal, in fact if you’re in IT and no one EVER saw you with an energy drink ever, even when it’s all hands on deck in the data center starting at 11pm for deployment, **that** might register as a little odd.

    But even then it depends, if you’re working out of a data center or network operation center it’s going to mostly be techs and engineers I wouldn’t think twice, if it’s out of an office where IT has their own little domain and other departments are also in the building then I might keep it inside the IT offices at least on a daily basis– in fact I don’t know a single traditional “IT dungeon” onsite mini-datacenter and IT department office suite that doesn’t have a minifridge of energy and health drinks (IT folks tend to one or the other extreme, either they don’t watch their diet that carefully, or they carefully consider everything they put in their body, oddly enough these two factions rarely experience conflict over it the way most workplaces would except when someone gets a little too evangelical about their new health discovery)

  131. A_Jesssica*

    Just another vote for if you’re concerned about it, pour it into an opaque receptacle.
    I personally pour mine into a double walled tumbler.

  132. Mother Trucker*

    I’m 41, have been at my job for 10 years, and recently shotgunned a Monster (sugar free, because health you know) right in the face of 3 directors who circled my desk as soon as I sat down. I’m sure it is office specific, but girl set your boundaries. Fortunately they all laughed but now they know to give me a few minutes.

  133. 1-800-BrownCow*

    There’s a 60ish guy in my professional setting office that drinks multiple energy drinks each day. While I have my own personal opinions and distaste for energy drinks, I personally never considered him unprofessional for drinking them.

    That said, if you still prefer drinking them from the can, they have those can holders with the screw on lids that hold different sized cans, from regular soda cans to the the tall skinny cans, the lid is usually designed to fit with various type cans. Anyway. I love using those for my flavored, carbonated water mainly because I hate holding cold aluminum cans, especially on a hot day when they get sweaty, so the can holders are perfect and come in many nice looking styles and colors.

  134. veebee*

    I worked in an office that supplied Red Bull in the kitchen along with sparkling waters, sodas, coffees, and whatnot. People would literally snag all the good flavors the second they restocked!

  135. "Brooke from the office"*

    Our youngest employee on the leadership team has THREE Red Bulls in front of her at the beginning of meetings and zero by the end. She knows they are bad for her but she can never seem to kick them for long.

  136. Heidi*

    The “boss” answering here…I actually buy energy drinks for my team when we’re short on staff or working on a big collaborative project. So, it can depend on who your direct leader is. If you’re still worried about appearing unprofessional, OP, give it a few days to feel out your new boss/work environment and then decide if you want to bring energy drinks to the office.

    Also, you could invest in a Yeti-style cup and put the energy drinks in there to keep them cold and hide them from wandering eyes.

  137. Calamity Janine*

    bad advice after the good advice:

    put your energy drink can in a branded microbrewery beer coozie or pint glass. right away, your problem disappears! …because you now have a different problem! that’s worse!

  138. Justin D*

    Honestly surprised that anyone would notice or care. It’s pop with extra caffeine and supplements.

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