I would like to come out and say that I blame The Devil Wears Prada for my overrated expectations of working in an office. After spending the majority of my summer in a serious relationship with Netflix, I managed to dig up an old favorite that made me go on a Meryl Streep binge for a week and question the chicness of my work cubicle.
First off, I’m lucky if I can make it from the parking lot to the building in heels and the humidity outside is unapologetic this summer which causes my voluminous hair to deflate within 3 seconds, so Emily Blunt would have a field day with me. If there’s one thing it did prepare me for however, it would be the possibility of a range of personalities on a daily basis. The past three years have shown me that no matter where you work or what kind of business you’re in, the same office etiquette rules apply.
So, I’m going to share my top 5 survival tips for not losing your sanity from the hours of 9 am to 5 pm (after that, you’re on your own).
1. Conflict is good. My personality style tends to avoid to conflict. I just want to make everyone happy, all the time, as much as possible. Delusional, right? Right. What I failed to realize is that conflict is healthy. You can’t agree with everyone on everything 24/7 and if you find you do, then you’re lying to yourself. I would always run from a disagreement or something that made me feel uncomfortable, but when I started forcing myself to face confrontation in a healthy and civilized way it actually helped build and strengthen relationships with my co-workers. The biggest misconception is that our own opinion on something is the only opinion. Just because you and another person have a different view or perspective doesn’t mean that the other person is wrong, but it does mean that you have to respect that person and what they believe in regardless. Have a conversation! You either find a solution or you find boundaries for the future.
2. Communication is the Queen. Following that last little tip up there, you HAVE to TALK. If something bothers you, communicate! I learned the uncomfortable way that letting things bother you and being to hesitant to say anything causes the issue to fester and finally you will reach your limit and spew word vomit. It happens. It’s not always going to end in hugs and kisses and rainbows, but it does help you to understand where someone is coming from and helps you with your communication skills.
3. Work is not a popularity contest. Don’t get involved in the politics and drama of your work space. Sometimes we create problems for ourselves by wanting to be in the mix of things. If someone doesn’t care for you, don’t lose sleep at night. If someone tries to create problems with you, address it. If people have beef with one another, stay neutral. At the end of the day you’re not getting paid to be the life of the party or to tell Becky with the good hair what someone else said about her in the break room. Let them work it out themselves and keep your nose in your own cubicle. I’m not saying to not be nice or friendly, I’m just saying know your boundaries and don’t worry about what someone else thinks of you.
4.Social Media needs boundaries too. Listen, I love a good rant just as much as any republican during the DNC, but some things are better left un-typed. Remember the co-worker that really ticked you off and you just typed an epic 5 paragraph status about it and got 30 likes in 3 minutes? Yeah, well what you forgot to remember is that she’s also on of your friends on Facebook.. and BOOM goes the dynamite! Don’t be so quick to jump on your social media sites when it comes to venting your 9 to 5 frustrations. Things always seem to have a way of being screenshot and taken to the head of the business. Think about it before you tweet about it.
5. Be careful who you vouch for. I’m always careful referring anyone or trying to get just anyone a job. The last thing I want is someone to come in and do a crappy job and then that reflect badly on me. Especially if it’s within your same office, sometimes you have to keep personal relationships like friends and family outside of business hours.
If all else fails, you can always start drawing mustaches on peoples pictures. Sometimes if you can’t beat em’, join em’.