13 Unwritten Office Rules You Need to Know Before Your First Job
Manika ParasherCopy Editor, POPxo
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Amongst all the firsts a girl experiences, her first job is always special. It is exciting and at times unnerving too! When you enter an office, there are certain unsaid rules you should know about. And this holds truer when it is your first job! So here are a few unwritten rules of office etiquette no one tells you about, but you must know!
1. Be cordial, not clingy
Be cordial and pleasant but don’t be overly friendly with your colleagues and your boss. It is only appropriate to maintain a decent professional relationship with the people you work with.
2. Keep your personal life separate from your professional one
Seriously, not a great idea to mix them both especially considering it’s your first job. And while it might not be wrong as per your company regulations, but dating someone you work with can lead to uncomfortable situations and even distract you from your job.
3. Don’t volunteer to disclose embarrassing stories about yourself (even if they are super funny!)
You may feel this will help you get along, but it won’t. In fact, you may end up baring your vulnerabilities in front of people you barely know and that is not such a good idea.
4. Don’t discuss your salary
This is an etiquette and a rule. Even if someone does ask you, you can always politely decline to talk about this particular issue. It's what is expected of you!
5. Don’t engage in gossip
This is a bad, bad idea for two reasons - one, you barely know anyone and gossiping about them makes you look bad and two, you never know who might go and spill the beans! You really don't want to be caught in that situation.
6. Acquaint yourself with the company’s culture and follow suit.
In terms of dress sense, addressing people, work breaks and so on. Every company follows a certain culture and even though it may not have solid rules with regard to certain things, it is an unspoken rule to do as it happens. For eg: If your company follows a strictly professional dress code, it is not wise to show up in your casuals.
7. Do not sit in someone else’s seat… If you don’t know, ask.
No matter where your first job is, you will find that people do have their fixed seats even though there's no rule or naming done with regard to that. Always enquire if the seat is taken, before you make yourself comfortable.
8. Don’t take an extremely long vacation within the first 3 months of joining.
This is an unsaid rule for various reasons. One, it’s highly unprofessional. Two, you will miss out on a lot of things you should not be missing during your initial phase. Three, it makes you seem lazy and aloof. So if you have to take a long leave which is unavoidable, try to talk to your HR and shift your joining date ahead by a few days accordingly.
9. Don’t overuse the flexibility policy of your company.
If your company allows you to be flexible with timings, that should not be your excuse for arriving at office after noon. The flexibility policy is for the comfort of the employees, but making it a habit may cause problems for your team and make you come across as lazy and disinterested in your job.
10. Don’t miss meetings even if they are optional
You need to soak up as much learning as you can during your first job. Attending meetings, seminars and talks shows that you are interested and are not in the company just because it was your only choice. It also helps you find a direction as to where and how should you be working.
11. Don’t browse through your social media accounts during working hours.
If it’s your first job, take it from us - you have lot to learn. Browsing through your social networking accounts on the pretext of having nothing to do, is only going to leave a negative impression of you, on your boss and your other colleagues as well.
12. Go MIA during office hours even if you seemingly have nothing to do
If you absolutely need to leave the office premises, intimate your immediate boss or at least some senior member on the team. Going MIA in the middle of the day may make you seem unprofessional, so be cautious!
13. Always acknowledge an email/ message that comes your way...
Even if it means sending a single line of acknowledgement. It alerts the sender to your presence and awareness. Also, it is quite unprofessional to not reply to an email unless it specifically says “Do not reply” or is an auto-generated email.