I’ve contemplated writing this blog post for a while because I wasn’t sure if it was too early in the day for me to share career advice. I’ve recently hit my 8th month into my first job and I’ve learned quite a bit which I’d like to share. Seeing that I have a thing for lists, here’s one on work-place etiquette that no one really told me about which I learned through much observation:
1. Never get too comfortable, always be professional
There will come a point where you feel you have found your place in the company, where you feel comfortable being yourself. However always remember to draw the line and remain professional in your conduct and your speech to others. Your colleague may be your friend but he is first and foremost, your colleague.
2. Be nice to everyone, including non-executive staff
This is a trait that will set you apart from the rest and will take you a long way, not to mention – remembered.
3. Practice neutrality in judgment
I feel this is important because too many are quick to pick a side. Seeing both sides to a situation allows you to assess it better. Look at the bigger picture, understand the real issue at hand before making a decision.
4. It may be human nature to gossip, but be weary of falling subject to it
Many people gossip about other employees not realising how easily the tables can turn. The best solution is to not involve yourself in gossip. Or better yet, make sure people like you. Unless you don’t care, which is another thing altogether.
5. Office politics is serious business, understand it
I used to hate the idea of office politics, thinking it didn’t benefit me in any way. I quickly learned that in order for certain things to move, you had to maneuver your way around the politics. In other words, you too have to play the game.
6. Leverage off the expertise of your colleagues when possible
Your fellow employees come from a background of vast experiences. Some are experts at creating decks and using Excel, some are excellent at analysing data, some are number-crunchers, some are language-savvy. Whatever it is, everyone has a skill to offer and if you can get them to teach you along the way, you will learn exponentially.
7. Speak up, you will be heard
The truth is, people want to hear from you. They want to know what you think about a certain issue. Don’t feel reluctant to share. Better yet, force yourself to form a stance. You will be heard and your viewpoint will be considered.
8. If you’re not learning something new everyday, you’re not being productive
Challenge yourself to learn something new everyday – from learning how to work the photocopy machine to creating beautiful slides. Learning anything new each day is what adds value to your years of experience.