6 or 7 New Etiquette Tips (plus 3 or 4 to get yourself fired)

It always amazes me when the career advice offered by so-called experts could be really funny if it weren’t so off the mark.

Take this example from Yahoo Finance’s “Brazen Careerist”. What is this woman thinking exactly? Among her suggestions is taking time off without first getting approval, keeping your headphones on at work rather than interacting with co-workers and (my favorite) call co-workers on the weekend and wait for them to tell you that it’s not okay. To quote etiquette tip number 9: “The best way to get a life is to stop being so rigid about the distinction between time for work and time for life.” Okay. I don’t mind answering my phone or checking email over the weekend every so often but for the most part, I really like my time off to be mine.

Now I must admit, there are a couple in there that aren’t so bad and in fact, I would go so far as to agree with some.

Like video resumes – well, that’s just fodder for a discrimination suit before the person is hired. And doing recon on your future boss and/or company, I would say that one should research a place in which they are going to spend the most of their waking life. Inviting your boss to Facebook or LinkedIn can be constructive in the right circumstance (like a tech company) but make sure that it’s appropriate for your situation. Blogging under a pseudonym is a personal choice, though if you don’t make sure you’re not doing anything that would get yourself fired. Exit interviews, well, it’s usually up to the employee as to whether he or she wants to participate, so that rule is somewhat irrelevant.

And not improving co-workers, that’s true. Employees should leave that up to managers and HR.

But being nice as if your job depended on it, well, she got it right when she said, “…the truth is that the most likable people get promoted, so this is an instance where following the unwritten rules really can save your career.”

I couldn’t agree more.

5 Replies to “6 or 7 New Etiquette Tips (plus 3 or 4 to get yourself fired)”

  1. I agree with the comment of being nice like the job depends on it. Who doesn’t? The rest seems very typical of the generation of “new” employees coming out in the last few years. Many have courtesy ingrained; many more seem to have to work at being civil to others.
    I would have to agree that some of the writer’s comments are approproate but the On-line /interactive world so many have learned their social skills fromhave dulled the ability to treat all others respecfully and help others get waht they want. By doing that, you will get what you want; recognition, reward, and respect.

  2. I must admit that I fail to see how video resumes can create risks for discrimination. That seems to be a canard these days and people keep repeating it as if it were true.

    Certainly, we don’t interview people behind a curtain. We see them face-to-face and we interview them. Does that mean face-to-face interviews should be eliminated? Hardly.

    The issue is that discrimination is discrimination, and that crosses all kinds of lines – video resumes, video interviews, phone screening, in-person interviews, etc. Don’t discriminate, that’s the real answer. It’s pretty simple.

    I don’t think, by the way, that Penelope was advocating being reckless about taking time off. It’s a matter of being a responsible adults. Adults don’t have to ask to go to the bathroom…or take time off. Getting your work done, and telling people when you will take days off is what adults do…waiting for mommy or daddy to tell you what to do and when you can stand up, sit down, or take your own time off, is what happens to kiddies.

    We hire adults in our firm. They get things done and tak time off when they need to. They just inform, not ask.

  3. I have to say I agree with Penelope’s advice about not asking, just telling when you are taking time off. Granted, it depends on your job and your department and if someone needs to cover for you, but it makes sense.

    Granted, you don’t just say, “I’m not coming in tomorrow,” but if I have a vacation planned in 3 months, I should be able to just tell people, “I’ll be gone from November 1 to November 7.” You should know your schedule and balance your workload accordingly.

    Leaving in the middle of the day, well that’s another story. “Hey, I’m going! Bye!” seems kind of strange, unless it’s an emergency.

  4. I have to agree, to some extent, to the comment left by Bill. Theoretically speaking who doesn’t know that it pays to treat people with respect? What manager hasn’t been told to treat their staff with the utmost respect? But people seem to get it wrong time after time. It seems as though the idea of courtesy in the workforce (not to mention in our personal lives) is becoming a thing of the past. Remember the old HR saying, “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers”? Well, as we move further away from face to face contact and personal niceties we are left with a new generation of employees that have grown up text messaging as opposed to learning the value of team work; personal accountability to the organization, etc. It’s one thing to be nice during an email exchange. It’s another thing to be considerate in person.

  5. I hope I never hire someone who follows the etiquette rules laid out by Brazen Careerist. They wouldn’t last ten minutes. If someone wants to know business etiquette that will help them actually improve their career then they should read the book “Manners That Sell” by Lydia Ramsey. It can be found at Amazon or at her site http://www.mannersthatsell.com. It’s a gem.

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