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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

10 Commandments of Good Employees

Ok, I spent two blog posts telling managers what is right and what is wrong on an interpersonal level concerning management styles. Now to be fair, I am going to cover what should be expected of a good employee.

1. Call out for appropriate reasons:

  • Emergencies - illness, injury, or accidents for instance. Clearly nobody wants you to spread your germs or further injure yourself, or come in all loopy from your medications.
  • Death - If you lose a loved one, nobody should expect you to come in on the day of their funeral, wake, etc. You should be mentally there for your job if you are at your job, and if your mind is full of grief, then clearly you need to deal with it. Any reasonable manager will accept this reason.
  • Family Emergency - similar to a personal emergency as listed above, this pertains to any relative that you are responsible for.
  • Dangerous weather conditions - If you cannot get there safely, call in or find somebody who has a vehicle more suited for the weather than you are. If your job requires you to work in bad weather, then obviously you have a problem with this one. 
  • Car broke down - Well, obviously! If you can't get to work, then you can't. But, you should at least see if there is a way around the problem.
These are the times sick days and personal days are meant for. Any reasonable boss will allow you to cash in on it. Inappropriate reasons are:  beautiful day, don't feel like it, sports game, and a myriad of other very selfish reasons. If you do for some reason do this, then I do hope that your job is a forgiving one and allows you to work from home/remotely as well as various other factors such as being permitted x number of days that you can do that. If that is the case, then you are a lucky lucky bugger.

2. Do your job right the first time. Yes, I know how tempting it is to do the minimum of your job, but how often will you have to go back and fix it? Why not take that same effort to do it right? Granted if you have a more efficient way of doing the job, then you should do it as long as it is something the managers are willing to be flexible on.

3. Gossip is for old hens. I know that the real national sport of any job is gossip, but consider the damage it causes to the people around you. Speaking of this, you should probably be careful what you say of yourself and what you do at work so that you aren't just creating gossip fodder. So why do we gossip? One reason is humans are social creatures. Our ancestors most likely came up with the concept when there was little else to do but survive. Where is Og hunting? Who is whose mate? Various important things that meant something back then, but don't really mean that much now for the most part. Another reason aside from boredom, is humans love getting news. Any kind of news. Good news, bad news, funny news, gross news, and so on. Whether we like to admit it or not, we enjoy it. However, taken to the degree that office gossip can be taken, gossip can ruin careers and social partnerships such as friendships and marriages. It is also considered by some a slanderous offense if taken far enough. Salacious gossip might be a tasty way to spice up your long boring day at work, but it can also cause somebody a lot of harm - even in joke form - if the wrong person hears it.

3. Bragging is a no no. Seriously, tooting your own horn is a one way ticket to causing people to either not take you serious or for them to start hating you. True or not, do try to tone it down and be humble. That way your real accomplishments can shine when you need them to, and it gives others a chance to pat you on the back. Still, don't do good for the sake of being rewarded, do it for the sake of doing good. It feels a lot better, especially if you didn't expect the boss to praise you for what you thought was an obscure good gesture or extra effort.

4. Dress for success. Most interviewers will admit that their first opinion of a person's ability to dress appropriately for a job interview or a promotions interview seriously affected their decision as to whether or not to give you the position. However, try to not out dress the interviewer. Find out ahead of time what is the expected dress of the place you wish to work, and then dress slightly better. Of course, there is a safe way to dress if you are not sure.'s list is pretty simple to follow. Click here for details. However, if you are applying for a position as a car washer, then obviously your best street clothes is more appropriate than suit and tie. Don't just assume that your charisma is enough. Not many people can swing it in frumpy clothes and a great personality.

5. RESPECT. Respect works both ways. If you give respect, you will deserve respect. Your position within a company does not affect this universal truth. Disrespect those around you, and you are just asking for confrontation, non cooperation, and other issues. Just think about it. Consider the simple fact that respect doesn't cost you anything, not even your dignity. How about using the Golden Rule? Treat others how you would have them treat you.

6. Do not throw your weight around. Seriously, nobody is impressed by it, you are not gaining respect by doing it, and all you are doing is earning resentment from those under you. And it sure as hell will make you look like Captain Bligh.

7. Honesty and Integrity. If you want people to trust you. If you want them to respect you. If you want to succeed. Then you must be honest and show integrity. That goes for everything you do at your job. Swiping office supplies might seem like a grey area, but theft is still theft. It costs the company money and if you cost your company money then you are picking away at your own income. It is a simple matter of give and take. Dishonesty is also a quick ticket towards the unemployment office, no matter what kind. Do you really think you are being sneaky? Honestly? In this day and age, there are ways they find things out.

8. Keep the office romance out of the office. If you some how find the one you love also works at your same place of business, then be more discreet about it. It doesn't matter if they don't mind, it just feeds the gossip lines, particularly if you opt for using an empty room in the office to have sex. Really? Is that really smart? Speaking as one with some experience in an office romance, it can bite you in the butt. His big mouth and macho need to go running around bragging about our romance caused me no end of grief since I am a private person and he's way way too open. After we broke up he started bragging about his rebound conquest and everybody at work thought he was talking about me. It was humiliating. Some consolation came from the fact that the boss fired the idiot loud mouth immediately upon finding out about his indiscretion.

9. Rivalries should not get out of hand. Say you and Bob are both excellent watch makers, for argument's sake.  Ok, the one problem is you both are rivals. You compete over everything. You beat him out of one contract, he beat you out of another. The problem - he works at the same company as you. This is a problem because you and him are both vying for the same promotion. There is only one spot open. Rivalries can be healthy to a certain extent since they encourage people to work harder at being better and improving upon your work. The problem is when you allow your rivalry to get out of hand and go to far. Say, you start telling people he does shoddy work, so he says you have no work ethic. False rumors give way to sabotage. Sabotage results in unfair advancement and resentments. Resentments result in allegations - false or otherwise. Eventually the truth gets out. You can see how things snowball from there.

10. Harassment is never cool. Do I really need to elaborate on this? Related to respect, this one is a huge one to remember! Stalking, skulking around, staring at, ogling, inappropriate comments and touch, and other inappropriate office behavior are unacceptable and a wonderful way to win yourself a free ride to the HR department's latest seminar on how you should treat your coworkers. Plus, they won't want to work with you.

~Liberty Justice - Just trying to be fair

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