NorthBridge Blog

pat_smallSome of them are basic etiquette.  Some of them are plain common sense.  They’re also just good advice we give some candidates about how to be poised, productive and impressive to the employer when they’re on a temporary or contract job.  Which means they’re good advice for anyone in the workplace!

DON’T avoid asking questions.
Afraid of looking dumb?  If you don’t ask the questions that help you do your job properly, you’ll come off as even dumber – or, just as bad, you’ll appear indifferent or cocky.  We value curiosity among others about what we do, because it shows interest and investment.  Be the person who isn’t afraid to ask questions, to demonstrate your involvement and willingness to learn and, potentially, take the conversation in interesting – and productive – new directions!

NOT to DoDON’T waste your time on the job.
It’s not your time – it’s the company’s time.  They’re paying you for it.  That Facebook post will wait until you’re on your own hours.  If you’ve finished a project, go find another one, or ask someone if they need help.   Or use the time to get better at your own job somehow – plenty of firms can fill up downtime with training, especially virtual training, that’ll help you ratchet up your skillset.

DON’T stay in your cubicle.
“Cubicle” is metaphoric – whether you’ve in a cube, a corner office or on the road, you need to interact with others and become part of the culture of an organization.  That engenders a positive reputation, which engenders opportunity.  Not to mention the fact it’s simply healthy to have relationships in any place where you’re putting in a good share of your waking life.

DON’T multitask in meetings.
You’re making a presentation or trying to make a point…and Joe from Operations over there is hammering away on his Blackberry.  How’s that make you feel?  Like you’re getting your point across?  What if it’s about an item that’s relevant to him?  His loss.

So imagine yourself in his seat at the table.  When you stay focused on what’s happening in that meeting or conference, you not only pick up on the information being dealt with, you’re observing body language, understanding team dynamics, and being viewed as a participant who’s engaged and on top of their game.  Guess what?  It makes co-workers a lot more likely to come to your meetings – and give them the attention you think they deserve.

DON’T check your phone while talking to someone.
“I gotta take this.”  “Let me reply to this text.”  Or maybe you haven’t even said that much – you’ve just turned your attention to your phone, mid-conversation.  Would you do it to your boss?  Guess what – if you make a point of focusing on the person at hand, they’ll appreciate it.  It’s just common courtesy…and there’s a reason we observe those courtesies: they make a workplace easier and more beneficial for everyone.

DON’T talk behind others’ backs.
If it’s not your place to talk to a person, it’s not your place to talk about them.  It’s idle gossip – and in some organizations, it’s part of a culture of “triangulation” where criticism is never direct.  That’s toxic, both to you as a participant and to the organization.  If you can’t say something directly to somebody, then it’s probably something that doesn’t deserve to be said, frankly.   Keep conversations direct and productive, and you’ll be doing more good for yourself than you’ll ever gain through gossip.


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