Newsflash: Your mom was right.
Remember when she told you to chew with your mouth closed or gave your cell phone a ten foot restraining order from the dinner table? Those commandments may have gathered some dust bunnies over the years, but now’s the time to clean them off.
The best place to apply those long-lost lessons is in the workplace, especially in your summer internship or your new job. Here’s a list of the top five things your mother taught you as a kid (or yesterday) that translate into basic office courtesy.
1. Dress for success
When you were little, purple and orange looked great together and socks absolutely did not need to match. Times have changed, however, and first impressions do matter when you walk into the office. Until you get a feel for the office dress code, stay conservative. Keep in mind that business casual is a broad category.
Ink is for paper not your arm, at least not on the first day. If you do boast body art, try and cover it up. Also, be aware some offices even have policies against tattoos.
Beach week was fun, and so was your 18th birthday.
Remember Teddy the Tattoo Artist? Well, he doesn’t remember you — but your boss sure will. Make sure his or her first impression of you is professional. Personal expression is a great way for you to establish your identity in the workplace, but give it some time.
“I kno ur social lyfe is gr8, but this mtg is 2—kk?” Something your boss should never say, email, chat or text to you. Ever. Put the phone away during a gathering of bosses, employees or co-workers. Each office has different standards for cell phone use, so keep an eye out for inter-office phone habits. Your attention and concentration should be on your work—the party on Friday night or your mom’s latest photos of the new puppy can wait till 5 p.m.
4. Social media
Facebook, tweet, tumble, and instagram this important note: unless your work directly involves social media, log off your social networks. The funny thing about the internet is your boss can see your status, photos and posts just as quickly as your friends can. Avoid awkward conversations about that day when you may…or may not…have been sick or lunches that lasted a little too long. In today’s digital world, it’s easy to get distracted and forget the balance between your personal and professional image. And plus, think of how many more notifications you’ll have when you get home!
5. Lunch break
Survey the scene. It’s just like your favorite western flick. Ask yourself — where are the gunslingers and where are the sheriffs? Your internship and your new job provide the opportunity to network with other interns and potential mentors for jobs down the trail. You’ll be able to take advantage of the Southwestern Chicken Salad special and create career possibilities in less than an hour.
What other etiquette tips do you have for the workplace?
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