Life Lessons in Office Etiquette

22 Dec

There’s something your college professors just don’t/can’t/won’t teach you and that is generic office etiquette.

Please see below for a list I have complied of my own experiences/mistakes/**pet peeves from my days in the office.  If you are still in school… you will appreciate this later, and please please please take note.  If you are in the working world, I’m sure you can identify… feel free to share any additions you feel like we (I) should be aware of.

  • It is never ok to clip your fingernails at your desk
  • Grammar and punctuation should be used, but use wisely.  Multiple exclamation points (in my opinion, any exclamation points) make emails really hard to take seriously!!!!!!!!!  Strings of dot dot dots are also not helpful…………………….
  • Respond to emails.  Even if you have no idea, at least respond and say you’re looking into it and you’ll get back to them
  • Don’t write your entire email in the subject line.  Please?
  • No running in the office – it’s just weird, I don’t care how busy you [think you] are
  • Don’t talk between bathroom stalls.  Personally this creeps me out in any environment, but ESPECIALLY at work
  • If you find yourself asking for gum…. all the time… go spend $1 and buy a pack
  • Iron your clothes – always.
  • If you have to deliver bad news… don’t wait, do it fast, make sure you know how it happened, why it happened, and you better have a suggestion as to how to fix it regardless if the mistake was your fault or not.
  • You’re in the working world – everything is your fault responsibility
  • Don’t ever, ever, ever throw anyone under the bus… even if they “deserve” it; it makes you look bad and guaranteed there was something you could have done
  • If you’re going to wear ridiculously tall heels, you should know how to walk in them without looking like a dinosaur
  • Don’t complain about your workload.  Everyday.  Especially when you have the exact same job as the 8 people you’re complaining to
  • Give credit where credit is due – if you get praise for something someone else did, make sure and let others know
  • Put your phone on silent
  • When you’re in a meeting – put your phone away… we can see you texting under the conference table.
  • Don’t ask the same question twice – take notes (interns… aggggggh)
  • Keep a clean desk – when I see a messy desk I have a hard time trusting that they’ll get anything done on time
  • Be careful with the nicknames.  ie: me making a play on words with my boss’s name and calling her p-willy not realizing that the reason it sounded so familiar is because it sounds like “free willy” and that is a direct reference to a whale, and she is weight conscience.  She pointed this reference out and I forever feel like a horrible person.
  • When riding in an elevator the proper etiquette is ladies first… I am soooo awkward about this one!
  • Eat with a fork
  • “You know what I mean” – if you feel the need to say that after every sentence… you should find a better way to just say what you mean
  • Be concise and direct – More words does not mean more professional.
  • Don’t put anything in writing (aka an email or instant message) that you wouldn’t want being passed around the office.  This goes with throwing people under the bus, funny jokes, typos, and goodbye emails… so many stories there
  • Be wary of the Reply-All button.  I don’t know how else to emphasize this.  I’ll try it this way:  BE WARY OF THE REPLY-ALL BUTTON
  • Don’t talk about weight/insecurities with your coworkers.  We sincerely care about you, but it makes everyone extreeeeeemely uncomfortable.
  • Don’t detail your health issues – a simple “I have a bad back” will suffice.
  • Don’t play music at your desk unless you have headphones.  I can think of 74896486 other things I’d rather hear than the soft hum of Sister Golden Hair 18 times a day
  • Smokers get smoke breaks.  Nonsmokers don’t.  I seriously considered picking up smoking at my first job just to have a chance to step away from my desk!
  • If you smoke, please don’t breathe on anyone for at least 5 minutes… the non-smokers get nauseous
  • Real jokes are not funny.  Office pranks are funny on t.v. but extremely inappropriate in real life (BIG WHOOPS!)… who would have thought!?

**there is a person in particular I know that inhibits 85% of these qualities… partial inspiration for this list. 

With that, I leave you with a picture of a few of the people who are on my team and who are extremely patient with my goofy self.  And who also provide me with great entertainment (whether they mean to or not!)  Love my job.  Love my work family.


One Response to “Life Lessons in Office Etiquette”

  1. Denver December 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Do NOT, I repeat do NOT ever make or take a call in the restroom. There is nothing that can’t wait for a few minutes. Even if you think you need to know, you cannot do anything about it from your current location.
    One more thing, ALWAYS wash your hands. There is never a case when this should not be done.

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