September 2, 2011

Heeere's your sign.... thanks Bill Engvall!

Are you following the rules of workplace etiquette?  Could you be missing the signs from your fellow coworkers that you're breaking these rules?

If you're new to the field of general employment (i.e. you just turned 16, or you have been a bum for years and finally got off your butt and got a job) you may find this guide useful for your integration into the workplace social scene.  If you're a workplace veteran, you might just need a refresher. 

Unfortunately, the people that this blog is aimed toward (and yes, I wrote this blog in response to one particular coworker who constantly breaks the rules of workplace etiquette) are ignorant enough to not realize they're breaking these rules of etiquette and they will be unlikely to benefit from this useful information.

Let's get started!

1.  The fridge.

It has been made abundantly clear, via numerous emails, that you have to write your name on anything you put in the fridge or it may be stolen or thrown away.  We have scavengers in our office that are apparently under fed at home.  Also, our fridge is cleaned out every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.  The office manager oversees the receptionist (because it's totally a two person job) to check expiration dates and anything that looks to be growing something bulbous or green.

So, the 1st is obvious.  Write your name on your shit!  The 2nd rule should be obvious, but considering my experiences...  Don't eat shit that doesn't have your name on it! 

2.  Privacy.

I'm going to go over two main scenarios here because it is, unfortunately, necessary.

Phone calls:  If I am on the phone with someone and you are close enough to hear the conversation, that is not an implied invitation to take part in the conversation.  There are two situations here and I'm honestly not sure which is more rude and annoying.  The first occurs when someone is listening to your conversation and starts talking to you about it.  Maybe a little "transcript" will help explain this better:

Me:  "No ma'am, we do not handle divorce matters, but I would be happy to refer you to attorney Smith.  Let me get his phone number for you."  But before I can look it up, my cubicle neighbor is shouting it over the half wall that separates me from her insanity. 

The second situation occurs when that same cubicle neighbor promptly skitters (and I use that term because it reminds me of a cockroach) over to me and strikes up a conversation about the conversation they just overheard.  This could be a mish-mash of advice, comments, suggestions, questions, etc.  This is especially bothersome when the call was personal and your cubicle neighbor starts asking why you have a doctor's appointment.

So, the rule here?  Don't eavesdrop!

Private Conversations:  I realize that it is difficult to have a private conversation in the middle of an office setting, especially one filled with women.  But it is easy to look at two or more individuals, assessing posture, eye contact, voice loudness and tone, and determine whether they are having a private conversation.  If you witness any signs of a private conversation (whispers, flitting eyes, a leaning gesture, etc.) keep on walking. 

So, the rule here?  Mind your own damn business!

This can also be applied to any conversation, private or not.  For example, I could be standing up talking to the receptionist about any number of topics, and that nosy cubicle neighbor will just walk up and stand there.  She has effectively made herself a listener in the conversation, whether we like it or not, and then, since we haven't shooed her away, she will take her turn as a talker, interjecting that same combination of advice, comments, suggestions, and questions.


In conclusion, it is important to point out the signs that you might be breaking the rules of workplace etiquette.  If you happen to notice any one of the following, you need to check yourself... before you wreck yourself!

1.  Evil glares from coworkers, especially if deadly lasers are shooting out of their eyeballs.

2.  Complete silence when you approach your coworkers, especially if they appeared to be holding a rather lively conversation just seconds before you arrived.

3.  Non responsive behavior.  If you communicate, in any way, to a coworker and they blatantly ignore you, either verbally, physically, or via email, you have overstepped a boundary and your coworker is doing everything in their power to not rip off your head.  Do not push for a response!

1 comment:

  1. Hope you have a wonderful day at work! Love, Mom.