Ms. Manners – Column

While I wish I had the time and the funds to do this with some friends, a flip cam and over the top humorific acting, I can’t. So, I will do this Ms. Manners segment, as I’ve done all my Ms. Manners segments – with my words.

 Today I would like to talk about office etiquette.
It seems that while some of us have clearly been around the cubicle and know how to conduct ourselves, there are just some people who do not understand the idea of common courtesy when at the work place:
  • TIME MANAGEMENT- This should be the numero uno etiquette rule to follow: GET YOUR ASS TO WORK ON TIME. For some of us, there are “grace periods,” where strolling in late isn’t necessarily a detriment to your responsibilities. But if your office is strict, then you should make it a habit of notifying people if your going to be anywhere between 15-30 mins later than you normally arrive. It’s also common courtesy to make up your lateness by staying the same amount of time you were late coming in. It shows that you’re taking responsibility for your lateness. If you are not making it in to work, please call in about the time that you’re supposed to come in to work. It’s really shady to call and say you’re not coming in at 2.30pm when you were scheduled to be in at 10am. It’s pretty obvious then.
  • DRESS CODE– Your office calls for a dress code of some kind, as most offices do. While some require strict business attire, others may ask that you come business casual, or dressy-casual or even just plain ol’ casual.  Though there are some loop-holes to some codes and you may get away with the occasional denim skirt or sneakers with your dress pants, PLEASE ADHERE (for the most part) to the code. Unless you are Naomi Campbell and your office is a runway, please do not take it upon yourself to strut into work with some fantabulous ensemble that has NO BUSINESS in the office. DO NOT come to work in see-through tanks, mini-skirts, or coochie-cutters so that when you bend over we can see your pretty pink lace thong or an outline of your ovaries. I understand that as the weather gets warmer, you clothes tend to have less fabric but at least when it comes to the work place PLEASE cover up your milk jugs. And fellas, this applies to you and your saggy jeans, crusty-dusty bottle caps, holey Sunday shirts with stains and the like and arm-hole shirts with all of the tangle weeded mess of pit hair. *Note: Just because you may have a “Casual Friday” code at work, you still do not have the right to show up in booty shorts on your grungiest of attire because that’s what “casual” means to you.* 
  • CONVERSATIONS AND PHONE CALLSSome offices are loud, some are quiet and some are in-between. It’s nice to carry on conversation with your neighbor and we know that sometimes talking on the phone is a necessity in your job description. However, your conversations shouldn’t be so loud that your neighbor three cubicles down can hear how much you hate the little Filipino lady who keeps stealing your stationary when you’re not looking. And that secret merger that you’re planning isn’t so secret when your door is open and potential clients can hear it…in the board room. No one needs to hear to you asking your husband which hemorrhoid cream he prefers or what Indian restaurant you ate from that gave you bad gas. Inversely so, it’s beyond annoying when you speak no louder than a church mouse and your co-workers have to purchase hearings aids to hear what the hell you have to say. PLEASE gauge your voice, close your doors or take your conversations outside. *NOTE* Be advised that you are on the clock so excessive phone calls and extensive conversations are a straight-up NO-NO. If you must, go on your lunch break and spare your co-workers.
  • INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS No one ever said that it’s not cool to make friends at work. After being stuck in an office for hours at a time, you may occasionally strike up a conversation and you may find that you and your neighbor are both huge Marvel Comic fans. While that is all fine and dandy, please remember that work is just that- WORK. I implore you to pick and choose who you divulge information too. Even though your neighbor may seem sweet and pleasant, you never know where your story about your husband leaving you for the albino cock-eyed midget with the “I Love Rick James” tattoo on her arm will end up. Furthermore, speaking freely about your drinking habits to a superior might toss you out on your ass and that joke about your co-worker looking like a young Hitler might have you in hot water in the HR department. *NOTE: Unless you work in a place where your name goes from Jan to Jellyshot, remember that your job is a place of business and not play. Do not take it upon yourself to start making sexual advances on your cute co-workers. It’s not a club. If you want to “holla,” do it off the clock. Just be advised that dating co-workers is risky business…ESPECIALLY if things go sour.*
  • MANNERS– Considering that when people are born, they are given parents, it’s assumed that said parents raise these children. It’s then safe to assume  that these same parents taught the value of good behavior. Therefore, there is no excuse to pass by your co-worker’s desk or cube or office and not say “Good Morning.” Even if you were raised by wolves, wild animals have greetings between each other. Greet people with a friendly hello or hi, or a simple smile will do. And if you don’t like initiating pleasantries, at least RESPOND with a hello, hey, head nod, or smirk. 
Nno matter how much you hate your job, try to come to work with a pleasant demeanor. Not only will people recognize how good you are at separating feelings from obligations, no one will pester you as to why you look so drab. Also, sometimes at work you become overly restless and you can’t stand the idea of being there, but please DO something productive. Even if isn’t your work. If the job bores you so much, then find one that will grab your interest.

And last, but most certainly not least, PLEASE make an effort to be the best employee that you can possibly be. I know that this was a long list for some, so expect a couple of breakouts on Bathroom Etiquette and how to manage a Communal Kitchen. =)

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