PD Manners 2: The Workplace


CONTACT PD: pdcoolthings@gmail.com


At work manners are a very important for a pleasant, cooperative work environment. Remember that you most likely spend eight or more hours at work, and you certainly do not want to make it a place that you dread going to each morning. In addition, showing good manners is appreciated and will most likely put you in good standing when a promotion is being considered.


Remember that practising good manners is the right thing to do and comes from the heart. This is different to work place rules and regulations, which seem to have multiplied exponentially during the last few years. If you have good manners, you most likely will not need to learn most work place regulations regarding behaviour.



Remember that these are not your schoolmates or pub buddies. Treat them with respect and neither discuss your personal problems, or ask them about theirs. This does not mean to be cold and unfriendly, just professional. If you cannot tell the difference, remember that less is better.


It is particularly important not to be the source of gossip or to spread gossip, particularly about your work mates. Treat everyone with respect. Unfortunately, particularly in big companies, factions can develop. Be sure that you do not join these as they can become quite destructive, especially if you are goaded into doing something unacceptable. If you do, your fellow conspirators will most likely throw you to the wolves.


Be respectful of everyone, regardless of your or their position. Be just as friendly to the cleaner and the secretary as to your boss. Remember that we are all human beings. Also, you may not know who these people really are. One day they may be your saviour should trouble occur. For all you know, the secretary or the janitor may be a relative of the company CEO.



The important thing to know here is that you can still have a good professional relationship with someone that you do not like. This does not mean that you have to go to the pub after work with them or invite them to your home barbecue. PD has worked with people who have the complete opposite political views to him, people whom he considered boring because there were no shared interests, and people who were unkind. Remember, that you may be able to choose your friends but you most likely have no choice in work colleagues unless you own the company.



Always remember to dress appropriately. This is usually set down in your contract or other document; if you cannot find it, ask someone. If there are casual dress days, this virtually always means smart casual, not the clothes that you go to the pub in or the ones that you wear when you cut the grass.


Dressing appropriately also includes grooming. Always come to work clean, regardless of what job you are doing. Always wear fresh clothes. If you run or cycle to work, have a shower before putting on new clothes. Most work places these days have showers. Remember to keep the shower short as there will be others waiting for it.



Be very careful what you send in an email because a post likely cannot be undone. If it is a complaint or criticism of the company or a colleague, write it in a Word document first, preferably on a private computer. Print and take it home. Mull it over. Discuss it with your partner or close friend. Modify it; tone down any inflammatory words. Think about it some more. Then at least 24 hours later read it again. Then, only if you are happy with that, cut and paste into an email to send. Never write an email in anger or for retaliation. You will regret it.


Use work emails only for work. For private communication, use a private email account on your own phone or tablet. Remember that most work places can access anything that you write, send or view on your work computer.



This has been mentioned above, but is one of the most important things to remember. Never be the source of gossip or partake in gossip, no matter how tempting. Gossip, particularly if it involves someone at work, never ends well and you could end up taking the rap for it if you participate, whether or not you started it.



It is particularly important to keep reminding yourself that work functions may be a friendly affair, however you are not at the pub with your friends. Drink very little alcohol, and do not try to get friendly with a work colleague. Keep your hands to yourself. The days of harmless friendly flirting are over, and if you try, you may find yourself the target of disciplinary action. Many a career has been ruined at the office party.



In PD Manners 3, PD discusses about getting hired (and, unfortunately, fired).