Dracos and Otter

Your Mother Doesn't Work Here


All Those "Unwritten" Rules for the Workplace . . .

. . . Now in Writing

When using communal food storage, if your food or drink is not relatively unusual, put your name or some other kind of identifier on it. Especially things like a mass-market frozen entree that you throw in the freezer to eat in a day or two.

Don't be a space hog in that communal food storage, either.

If you work for a cheap-ass outfit that doesn't provide napkins, etc., contribute every so often.

Coffee (or whatever) "donations": The word "donation" implies that contributing is optional and that the amount is to be determined by the giver. If there is going to be a charge for coffee, just state what the going rate is flat-out, or don't have a hissy-fit if/when the jar comes up short when its time to buy more supplies.

Don't be a cheap-ass and stiff the coffee (or whatever) fund.

If you're going to drink coffee, learn to make it. And do so.

If the water in the water cooler bottle is down into the neck (or worse yet, out of sight completely), change the bottle. If you're not physically capable, ask for help.

If you realize that the copier, fax machine, or printer is out of paper, refill it.

If the copier, fax machine, or printer jams, clear it. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Whe the resident computer geek shows you how to do something, pay attention so that you can do it yourself next time. Even if the geek is willing to do repeat performances, they may have just left on a 2-week vacation (sans pager) next time.

If the resident geek sends e-mail about a technical issue, read it.

Ifkthere is a problem you want the resident geek to know about, tell them. Do not expect them to overhear you talking to another cow-irk . . . er . . . co-worker about it. Sometimes they do, but since it wasn't important enough for you to bring it to the geek's attention, it must not be important enough to act on.

Be nice when asking for help, even if it is the person's job. Remember, he who can fix the widget can also break it in really . . . interesting . . . ways. Be especially nice if the person you're asking for help doesn't have that duty in their official job description.

Don't put up signs that address the reader in the tone you'd use with a three-year-old.

Yes, I know this list seems to contravene the previous item. But sometimes you gotta vent, and you came to this site, I didn't put this list up on my cubicle wall.

Everybody has slacker moments. At least try to look busy.

Do not complain about being overworked immediately after being caught in a slacker moment.

Put the files away neatly and in the proper order. Don't be afraid to put a marker sheet in the drawer where you took something out.

Find out what your workplace's etiquette is on notifying the appropriate person/department when office supplies are running low our out, and follow it.

Don't leave long-winded voice-mail messages. Name, phone number, day, and a ONE sentence . . . ONE SHORT sentence description of why you called are sufficient.

Cow-irkers that leave long-winded introductory messages to the voice mail that they are forwarding to you are exempt from torture/murder laws. Really. Don't make yourself a target.

Coffee is not exempt from the rules of good manners. Yes, I'm talking to you Mr./Mrs. Sssssllllluuuurrrrrp.

Do not bring seafood for lunch that smells like it died a week ago.

Refrain from commenting on your cow-irker's week-dead-seafood lunch.

Keep your radio, computer sounds, etc. at a quiet level. The person in the next cube doesn't need to hear it, much less the other side of the building.

If you use a speaker-phone in an open cubicle, keep it even quieter.

If you're lucky enough to have a door, close it when using a speaker-phone.

Note: In certain jurisdictions, persons guilty of using a speaker- phone in an open cubicle are subject to the same penalties as those who leave long-winded voice mail messages.

If you voluntarily move into an open cubicle next to a known noisy person/area you have forfeited the right to complain about the noise.

When the office is having a cubicle-rearranging fit, don't quit as soon as your space is done, keep on helping until the entire job is done. If common decency isn't enough to teach you this, remember that your co-workers will remember your behavior next time the walls get mobile, and your space will be affected accordingly . . .

You may want that really good cubicle or office with a door, but unless you're in the right place in the office hierarchy to get it, you'd better have a damn good justification before you make a move on it.

I wrote you a letter (or sent e-mail) for a reason. I expect you to read it. If you have questions after reading it, I will be happy to discuss them, but do not call expecting me to read my letter to you.

Calling me daily to check the status of your review will not make me get it done any quicker. In fact, such behavior will probably make me put it on the bottom of the stack.

You're not late if you beat the boss in.

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