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A (Wanna-Be) Etiquette Grrl in the Office

7.19.2011

One of my very favorite books ever is called Things You Need to be Told by the Etiquette Grrls. Their website is not active, but it is an awesome resource of spot-on but somewhat snarky etiquette advice. And yes, they are New England, WASP-y sort of girls, but I still love it.

If you need a reason, there are gems like this one, covered in the "See You in Hell" section of their website - "Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, et al., for convincing Little Girls that it is Perfectly Acceptable to Run About Looking Like a Wee Streetwalker. (And who are Utterly Devoid of Any Sort of Musical Talent, to boot.)" (And they do Random Capitalization, which has long been a love of mine.)

Because of my love of all things list-shaped, I present to you a Helpful List of Good Office Etiquette (in no particular order):

1. If you get your feelings hurt by someone, start off talking to that person. Going directly to a supervisor because you got your feelings hurt over a misunderstanding (i.e., you didn't hear someone's response) makes you look like a whiner. It does not help your relations with said co-worker.

2. Be aware of your personal volume. Cube farms are a necessary evil in today's workplace. It doesn't help general goodwill if you're constantly talking, or if you are unaware of the VOLUME OF YOUR VOICE (it helps if you say that like Mike Myers did in the first Austin Powers movie.)

3. Try to be nice. And I'm not talking overly-saccharine nicey-nice stuff, I'm talking just basic Decent Human Being. I cannot abide the phrase "shut up" uttered from one Grown-Ass Adult to another. If you tell me to shut up you will, as Martha Jean would say, have poked yourself a rattler. I will not teach my daughter that "shut up" is an appropriate way to address another person, and you can bet your sweet behind I will not tolerate it from a co-worker.

4. Personal space is not just a theory, and you will rarely make a mistake by being respectful of it. Those of us not blessed with offices and doors do have personal space. Heck, even the people with offices have personal space. Please, do not just waltz in to someone's office or cubicle without knocking (or even pausing at the opening to say "knock" or whatever your office's equivalent is.)

5. Be kind. Understand that the single mom may need to bring her kid in for a couple of hours to get an essential task done. Provided that child sits quietly and isn't, oh I don't know, running around getting into other people's desks or standing around trying to carry on long, drawn-out conversations with those otherwise engaged in Actual Work, there shouldn't be a problem. Sometimes, stuff happens. A little kindness and compassion goes a long way. Especially when your personal volume issues (see #2) make the child sound like the proverbial pin drop.

Just a quick list of behaviors that may make your cube-mates and co-workers a little less stabby when they see you walk in the door.
 
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