How to be professional on the job

Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 09:02 am
Any tips would be appreciated. It could be from any category like dress code or conduct, etc. Greatest concern is what ppl say and how they say it (i.e. topics not to discuss.) Even obvious ones are welcome. Hell, it could even be funny as hell.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 3,241 • Replies: 34

Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 09:07 am
Any particular job? There are definitely some tips that apply to any job at all, but the more we know about a specific job, the better the tips can be.

Some general tips:

- Always be on time (give yourself extra time in case anything unexpected comes up -- "traffic" is not a good excuse).

- Be respectful to your boss/ supervisor.

- Be respectful to your customers.

- Be respectful to your co-workers.

- Be proactive -- don't just wait for instructions.
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 09:11 am
  • Don't discuss politics or religion, even if others are.
  • Don't drink too much at company functions.
  • Don't sleep with your boss, or people who work for you.
  • Look clean and neat, regardless of the actual company dress code. While there are jobs where you get dirty (garage mechanic comes to mind), at least start the day clean, and make sure to clean your hands if you're going to be handling customer property or food, or are shaking someone's hand.
  • Coming in early and staying late will get you brownie points almost anywhere.
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 09:39 am
I just found out a few days ago that I'm not supposed to tell a coworker I'll miss her when she leaves and proceed to give her a hug. Also my tone prolly suggested we were BFF's or something.
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 10:05 am
Here is an interesting article on it.

Hugs at work: Kind or invasive?

Debra Auerbach / CareerBuilder wrote:
The hug. It's a simple gesture that can make a happy situation happier or help someone overcome with sadness feel a little better. Studies have shown that hugs can actually make a difference in one's health; research out of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found that a hug can lower blood pressure and reduce the harmful physical effects of stress.

Hugs are thought to be so beneficial, there's even a day dedicated to celebrating the gift of a hug. Jan. 21 has been deemed "National Hugging Day," and according to the organizer's website, the day was "created for family and friends to hug often and freely with one another."

Yet when it comes to hugging in the workplace, the act may become less of a kind gesture and more of a liability. According to a survey by staffing agency The Creative Group, seven in 10 executives interviewed said embracing co-workers in a business setting is inappropriate.

"The thing about hugging in the workplace is that if it makes anyone uncomfortable, there can be legal ramifications," says Donna Flagg, workplace communications expert and author of, "Surviving Dreaded Conversations." "And because of hostile work environment and sexual harassment suits, innocent hugging is always vulnerable to being construed as something else — that is, something not so innocent."

So is hugging a co-worker or showing any signs of physical affection ever acceptable? Or is it better to avoid any gesture that could be considered a personal-space invasion? While opinions may differ, here are some things to think about when going in for an office hug:

Consider where you work To determine if hugs are tolerated in your workplace, first think about where you work. The type of company it is and the culture it promotes may give you some clues as to whether signs of affection would be encouraged. Is your company more by-the-book or is it laid back in its methods or practices? Does the company culture encourage working in teams and being open to others, or is it more of an independent, cut-throat, every-man-for-himself environment?

In addition, the type of field you work in can make a difference. If you work in a more corporate environment, affection may be frowned upon. But some fields — health care for instance — may be more open to hugging, and the act may even be part of the job.

"In my world, there are times when hugging is the most appropriate thing to do," says Dr. Diane Radford, a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer. "There are times when I interact with patients that giving or receiving a hug is part of the whole spectrum of communication … A hug can be a reassuring way of indicating they will be OK, but I’m there if they need me. One has to be astute and know when a hug is the right thing to do. In my workplace, it often is the right thing to do."

Take cues from others It's also important to keep in mind that everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to public displays of affection, especially with people who aren't family or close friends. While you may love giving hugs, they may make your cube mate uncomfortable.

"Recognizing that not everyone shares the same personal-boundary line is essential to maintaining a pleasant and professional workplace environment," says Roshini Rajkumar, national speaker and communication/image expert.

"Remember that personal touch is not about intention, but rather, how it is perceived by the person receiving the touch. If they are uncomfortable, then the touch is wrong. Be aware of co-workers' personal boundaries before entering into a 'physical relationship' with them, no matter how passive or limited the touch."

Respect cultural differences Someone's comfort level for workplace affection may be influenced by their age, upbringing or cultural background. While some cultures embrace hugging, others show respect or thanks in other ways, so it's important to keep such differences in mind.

Also consider one's gender and role within the company. Hugging someone of another gender could more easily be misconstrued than hugging someone of the same sex. There may be sensitivities around hugging a boss or subordinate but not necessarily around hugging a peer.

"Keep in mind the recipient's gender and ethnicity," Rajkumar says. "Different cultures have different boundaries. …Generations have different expectations as well. Today's younger generation is more touchy-feely, while the older generation is more formal."

Watch how you hug There are different ways you can hug someone, and they can mean different things. Hugging from the front or back may be awkward, but a casual side hug could appear less threatening and personal.

"A big smothering bear hug may not be appropriate, but the handshake and one arm around the shoulder hug — which tends to be more of a hit-and-run type of hug — could work fine," says Regina Barr, founder and CEO of Red Ladder Inc., a consulting, executive coaching and speaking company. "The latter hug might be more comfortable for folks in the workplace, because it’s a hybrid hug."

If in doubt, handshake it out "If you work in a friendly/casual environment, you may be able to substitute hugging for handshaking, but when in doubt, don’t hug," Rajkumar suggests. "It’s usually best to err on the side of caution when it comes to physical displays of affection. Consider a big smile and enthusiastically clasping your hands together while you express gratitude verbally as an alternative." Rajkumar also recommends high fives or shoulder claps as some other ways to communicate physically without overstepping.

While there’s no right answer to whether or not hugging in the workplace is appropriate, there's still no argument that a good hug can make someone's day a little brighter. Just make sure it's warranted and welcomed.

Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 10:07 am
Some people don't like to be hugged, especially by co-workers.

From your past posts, you seem to have difficulty setting boundaries. Don't assume your co-workers even want to be intimate friends. You need to find that outside of the workplace.

I have suggested to you that you get a job that is not so people-orientated. Like in a pet shop or library.
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 10:37 am
Well at least I'm scheduled through the 13th. It was all added a few days ago. Guess my supervisor don't hate me after all. She called that Saturday night after work basically to say to be more professional. That's how I found out what I did w/ that coworker was fucked up. Well, she said alot in 7 minutes. I'm not giving up on this job bc I improved alot from before. At least I don't talk about getting wasted on weekends ne more (among other things!) But I love y'all thoroughness in ur replies.
Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 12:03 pm
You mean, your supervisor called you at home to discuss professionalism? If so, I have never heard of such a thing.
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Reply Tue 27 Nov, 2012 06:17 pm
My idea of professionalism in being a nurse are:
1. Be on time
2. Finish all the work that you can
3. Be polite and courteous to everyone in the workplace
4. Avoid office politics as much as you can
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Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 09:29 pm
As long as they are paying you, doesn't that mean you are professional. Why does any of this other stuff matter?

The important thing is that you get along with your co-workers, add value to your company and make your boss look good. If you do these things, the way you dress or what you talk about doesn't matter very much.
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 09:32 pm
The way you dress or what you talk about does add value to your company and make your boss look good, literally.
It's all part of the package.
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 10:11 pm
No it doesn't. I am sure it does in some companies, but it doesn't in mine. You can't make these broad generalizations. It changes from situation to situation and company to company.

I work in a fairly small engineering department. We work long hours and are expected to do the near miraculous. Our value comes only from the technology we produce. We wear shorts and t-shirts (when weather allows) and often walk around without shoes. We often talk about politics or religion or politics and religion. Just this week we had a actual discussion about whether Republicans could get to heaven (and the Republican in the room joined right in in good fun).

Our work (and our boss) is judged by quality and by meeting deadlines. That is our reason for existing. Our culture is loose and jovial. We all like each other and irreverence is part of this. This makes us able to work together closely even as opinionated engineers under high pressure to perform. This is important in this type of environment.

We are damn good at our jobs, work hard, meet our deadlines and add plenty of value to the company. How we look or interact doesn't matter (except in the rare case we need to interact with customers in which case we behave much differently).

Does this meet the definition of "professional"?

I suppose that sales people might have different constraints. Marketers or medical staff probably have a third set of constraints.

This is the point. It is impossible to come up with a set of rules that apply to every workplace and every occupation. Each environment is different which is why my suggestion is to figure out what is important to your specific situation and make sure you do that.

I would have a difficult time working in an environment where there was a dress code or where I couldn't talk about politics. This is why I am very happy in my profession.
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2012 11:49 pm
At work people call me loony. When I meet someone attractive my elevator eyes are usually followed by wolf howls, my heart jumping out of my chest, my eyes popping out of my head, and my tongue sort of unrolling onto the floor. Sometimes I also bang my head repeatedly against the nearest tree, wall, or lamp post. So far, though, no one's ever accused me of creating an intimidating work environment. Loony, yes, but not intimidating.
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 12:18 am
Obviously, if how you act annoys or intimidates your co-workers, it will get in the way of your responsibilities. This is not a good thing. Of course, different people have different things that they find annoying or intimidating.

The important things are getting along with your co-workers, adding value to your employer and making your boss look good. The first behavior you describe doesn't sound compatible with getting along with your co-workers. Although in one of my jobs I was called "sweetheart" by some of my co-workers (an inside joke). I wouldn't personally have a trouble with the head banging as long as you were competent and productive.

My point is that each work environment is different and it seems ridiculous to me to imagine a set of rules that will apply across the board. I have always adapted to the culture I find myself in, and when I have found that difficult I have started looking for a new job.

Many of the examples listed in this thread don't apply to my current work environment, and since everyone from co-workers to boss to customers are happy, I don't see why it matters.

I don't know why you take issue with this.

Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 12:49 am
I admit my quip was a big stretch on the exaggeration department.
I think your work environment is interesting, and I don't see any issues with it. I totally agree with you that it changes situation to situation and company to company.

But what I must add is that to get along with your co-workers, add value to your company, you've got to dress the part, talk the talk, and walk the walk. Sure you can talk about politics, sex, religion, money and gossip (on company time, although they're actually paying you to work or being creative with your work, but that's another discussion topic), but if you don't have a clue as to the project you're working on, how can you communicate effectively with you co-workers to get along with them and make the project you and you're co-workers are working on, reach its fruition.

And sure, you can dress casually, but if you dress up everyday in a promiscuous manner and talk dirty, how will this sexier-than-thou attitude change the relationship you have with your coworkers and boss? (in your case, and not some stripper/ porn star case - just clarifying).

In both instances (relative to your personal work environment), it's likely going to decrease the chance of getting along with your co workers and create unnecessary tension, make your boss look bad, and will greatly decrease productivity.

Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 01:08 am
My work environment is fairly typical in many (not all) software engineering companies. There are lax dress codes (rarely promiscuous as you suggest) and very free speech. People like to discuss ideas much as they do here. People speak their mind on any topic from politics, to religion, to the proper way to make a sandwich and no one really takes anything personally. I think that being free to speak about anything helps us work together creatively (or at least the people who enjoy speaking freely about everything tend to make creative engineers).

But I can only talk about my experience in my two careers. Generally, I feel that most adults are able to feel out whatever environment they are in an adapt appropriately. I did work for a little while in family business run by Evangelical Christians. I acted much differently in this environment where praying before lunch was common and any cuss word caused a stir. I was never very comfortable there, but I had no trouble fitting in enough to be productive.

The ability to adapt is a key here.
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 06:09 am
This is an interesting article.
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Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 08:05 am
I agree that there are differences in work places and adaptability is key. No arguments here.

However, the degrees of "casualness" and "openness" absolutely differ from place to place.

Over 20 years ago, I practiced law for an insurance company in NY. One of my fellow female attorneys came in one day in pantsuit. We had had a blizzard. She was sent home to change, as it was inappropriate.

12 years ago, I worked in a large insurance company in Boston, in the Legal Department, but doing IT work. I wore chinos to work. While I was not sent home to change, I was told in my next review that it was not dressed up enough. I left not too long afterwards, and went to a financial services company. I did nearly the same kind of work, and wore the same clothes. No one batted an eye.

2 years ago, working for a robotics startup, we all wore jeans and sneakers or sandals. Hell, the guys I worked with rarely showered (yes, I knew this). In my jeans and clean sneakers, I was the most formal person there. I did marketing work and, when we went to events, I would wear skirts. It was a victory to make sure all of my coworkers were at least clean and deodorant-ed up.

In the first place (20 years ago), a discussion of politics or religion was a bad idea although not a cause for dismissal or censuring. The boss was a fairly free-wheeling guy, particularly for a lawyer. The firm I had worked for right before that was old-school Irish and we called the partners Mr. __ and Mr. __ (no female partners, what, are you nuts? This was 1986). Talks of politics and religion would have gotten you a good talking-to.

A dozen years ago, we didn't talk politics and religion and the like because we were too damned busy. It was a database transfer, a part of the aftermath of Y2K.

Two years ago, we talked about whatever.

But, bottom line, standard company protocols usually push in the direction of some restrictions. And the software development scenario is a rather narrow one - in large companies, the software dev department isn't as casual as all that. So you could be a Java Programmer in two rather dissimilar environments, depending upon where the work was being performed.

There are also restrictions based upon laws or their interpretations. Financial services, legal or insurance work often means client confidentiality. In the health care field, it's even more extreme. In an incubator-style environment, you often have trade secrets and/or nascent inventions that need to be protected. And every company has to deal with keeping sexual harassment out of the workplace.

The software dev environment you are speaking of also arose because of supply and demand. If there aren't a lot of competent Java scripters, then management will cater to them more. And having a looser working environment is a cheap way to do that (have you worked in a company with a ping-pong or foosball table? I have - and, frankly, I'd rather have the money). But if the number of Java developers became greater, if the market were flooded with them, most management would be a lot less free with the perks and a lot stricter about behaviors.
Fil Albuquerque
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 11:28 am
The software dev environment you are speaking of also arose because of supply and demand. If there aren't a lot of competent Java scripters, then management will cater to them more. And having a looser working environment is a cheap way to do that (have you worked in a company with a ping-pong or foosball table? I have - and, frankly, I'd rather have the money). But if the number of Java developers became greater, if the market were flooded with them, most management would be a lot less free with the perks and a lot stricter about behaviors.

Aside describing the diversity of human behavior and protocol what you mainly seam to be advocating is that when people are in need of work company's can be pushy and bossy all they want...but the fact remains that there are plenty of study's out there that show just how stupid and unproductive a strict environment can be, as the problem is not about the absence of rules, but rather on the primacy of common sense...if people fail there, they should be invited out, if anything a loose environment clearly allows you to see very quickly who fits because it can think and make the right decisions from those who can't...yes someone said and it is true that if for one regulation prevents disaster in turn ensures mediocrity...Protocol is the Bible of idiots !
Fil Albuquerque
Reply Thu 29 Nov, 2012 11:44 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
...in fact if asked about why big company's have a hard time with innovation an excess of rules and bureaucracy immediately comes to mind...their environment is highly toxic for creative personality's...

...this sort of problem evokes the paradigm of civilization...the ancient predatory genetic predisposition of certain social groups with the mentality of if I cannot kill you I will at least screw your life to the best of my ability, clearly shows just how harmful to society this sort of personality can be under the guise of respectful order...pathetic !

Unfortunately with all the strictness and symbolic protocol replacing wisdom the world has been full of Colgate smile dummy's, but in all fairness it is improving, there is hope along the way...
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