Lessons in Etiquette

Q) I’ve just graduated college and have landed my first full-time job.   I’m really nervous since I’ve never worked in an office before.  What should I do?  How should I act?

A) You want to start out on the right foot, so be polite to everyone you meet.  Companies want team players.  Don’t walk into a new office situation and act like you are running the place.  Be observant and learn the culture.  Your time will come to make your mark.
Show respect to everyone.  You should do this anyway, no matter where you are, but be polite to coworkers, subordinates, superiors, clients and visitors.  A simple “please” and “thank you” go a long way.
Watch your language.  Don’t swear, yell, or interrupt people when they are speaking. Also, do not insult or be condescending to anyone.  No one likes a rude loud mouth.
Be neat and tidy, and keep yourself and your work area clean.  CareerBuilder.com did a study of employers’ criteria for promoting someone.  On the list was the fact that an employee who had a messy office was not considered as worthy of a promotion as someone who was neat and tidy.
Do not trespass in someone else’s office.  Stay out of their space unless you are invited in.
Listen twice as much as you talk, and don’t spend all day socializing.  You are getting paid to work.   Arrive early in the morning and visit over the first cup of coffee, if you must.
Never, ever gossip.  It is guaranteed to come back around and get you in the end.
Keep your boss informed.  Quietly go about your business, and let your boss know what you are doing without fanfare.
Write concise, but polite, e-mails.  Only include necessary facts and information. Proof them before they go out, and don’t use smiley faces.
Always return phone calls promptly.  Change your voice mail message if you are going to be out of the office for any length of time to reflect that fact.
Finally, it’s a business, not home.  Don’t get too chummy.  Keep things on a professional level.
Follow this advice, do your work to the best of your ability, and you will be treated like a superstar!

Follow Carolyn Davenport at AGraciousYou.com.