Workplace Etiquette For Those Raised In a Barn
It seems to me that many of you have no idea how to behave in an office setting. Yes, much of this is due to your naturally grating personality and complete lack of social skills. But, it’s not all your fault. You likely never had anyone to mentor you and nurture the skills of office etiquette. That’s where I come in. I can heal you, if you just are willing to listen.
Below is your bible for office etiquette in the five most important locations you’ll encounter.
1. The Kitchen
- If you bring your lunch more than once a week, it’s very likely that we are not friends. You might think it’s cheaper but honestly, after the cost of groceries, you’re really only saving like $40 a month for probably the most hassle ever. If you bring your lunch every day, you definitely also do crazy shit like go to the gym before work and that’s just not ok.
- If you’re going to bring your lunch, let’s show some respect. Heating up leftovers from dinner for 1-2 minutes? That’s fine! I’ll even allow some smelly ass shit like fish or a weird Indian curry thing, as long as you say “oh my gosh I’m so sorry about the smell,” afterwards. It’s totally fine Hannah, just please acknowledge how nice of a guy I am.
- However, I draw the line at the multi-course, multi dish microwave lunch. I don’t have 4 minutes to wait for you to heat up your squash and quinoa bowl, then swap in your salmon, followed by a bowl of terriyaki sauce that needs jusssst a little bit of time to heat right up. I gotta get back to my desk and make this goddam company run if you don’t mind.
- If you finish the pot, fill it up. And don’t leave like a quarter cup of lukewarm coffee in there for me to come find. Don’t want to have to beat your brain in buddy.
- Shared Treats
- If you stroll into the kitchen and that nice lady Sherryl from HR has brought in a few cupcakes for Jerry’s birthday, be careful. It may seem like heaven, but you are about to enter a danger zone. Unless you have a great excuse ready to roll, you need to take one or you’re rude as a mf. It’s like saying no to an Italian grandmother offering you food (I’m not Italian, but I have seen the Sopranos.) Even if you really do want it, you should resist a little at first, and then say “oh fine, there goes the diet! I’ve been so bad lately!” So relatable. Finally, make sure you compliment the treat, but don’t go over the top. Have something specific to say, like “wow I really like the texture of these. Great work.”
2. The Elevator
Fair warning, this section will have no tips or guides, since I am still figuring out elevators. They can be a tricky beast, especially if you are trapped with co-workers you sort of know. It’s weird if you don’t make conversation, but the question is what kind of conversation? The length of ride could vary greatly and you could be having a great conversation that gets cut short when Steve hops on at the 12th floor. Or it could be standard work talk when Greg gets on at 11, and you should probably continue talking but you feel weird because you know everyone on the elevator is listening. Don’t have an answer.
Additionally, there is the smell factor. Pretty much everyone in your office will be in the elevator at one time or another and it picks up a distinct funk. On a separate note, there was a long stretch at my first job when I would let farts rip when I was alone in the elevator. Sometimes other people would get on after, sometimes they wouldn’t. The point is, it was a goddam rush.
As far as joining a crowded elevator, I’m conflicted. My office is one floor of a building with other companies and the elevator can take forever. I don’t really care about squeezing on this elevator with some strangers if it saves me 3 minutes. On the flip side, I also hate when I’m the first one on and then get pushed to the back as we stop at every fucking floor during the lunch rush. I guess I’m just selfish. You were right, every ex-girlfriend ever.
3. The Hallways
Another fickle beast. The biggest challenge here is long hallways. You turn a corner and see a person you worked with on one project 6 months ago, allll the way at the end. When do you make eye contact? When do you say hello? Right as you pass? Maybe 40 feet before? You want to have a 2 sentence conversation that is completely meaningless and conveys no information. Speak too early, and you end up with an awkward exchange. Too late, and you’re turning around to respond and talking to their back. Humiliating.
Here are some common greetings so you don’t embarrass yourself and me by association:
- Hi how are you?
- The most common, reserved for those you’ve only talked to like 10 times.
- What’s up dude?
- A person your age who you don’t hang out with after work but you know is cool.
- Thisssss guy
- Someone you had a fun time with at a happy hour
- Hey insert inside joke
- You have one inside joke with this person, be it sports, pop culture, or some weird thing that happened at a meeting you were both in. This is all you’ve ever talked about.
- Your own personal catchphrase
- Maybe you say “what’s up homie,” or “how ya doing big chief,” or something to bring a little personality to your greetings. Well congrats….you played yourself. You are now stuck saying that to people until you retire (and then die.)
Or you can just say nothing and do that smile where you show no teeth like the rest of us.
4. The Desk
The desk is a sacred space. It’s the one thing that is truly yours in this office, even if it is owned by your company. As such, let’s show some respect to other people’s work homes.
- Monitor peeping
- If you can see someone else’s monitor, don’t fucking look at it. Yes, I am alternating between gChat, Twitter, and NFL Mock Drafts (Jets are looking good for Rosen at #3) I don’t need you judging me.
- Phone calls
- Your cube isn’t a fucking corner office. You’re sitting right next to me – I can hear you on the phone with your mom, Jamie. Don’t make me care about your family’s upcoming vacation plans. Go talk to her in like the kitchen or something like a normal person.
- Respect the headphones.
- There’s always some freaking nub who wants to come ask you a pointless question or shoot the shit in the middle of the day. Headphones in means that I am actually working, and should only be bothered in case of an emergency. I got some PowerPoints to make dude- they don’t call me Big Deck for no reason.
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Especially applies to the back half of the week. If you come in sick and I catch your shit on a Thursday or Friday, you ruined my fucking weekend. The only thing worse than being sick is being sick on a weekend. Plus, you make the rest of us look bad when we’re hungover and need to fake the flu.
5. The Bathroom
*Disclaimer- this final section will be focused on the men’s room. Regrettably, that’s all I know. Apologies to our nearly 20 female readers, but you must skip this section, as it is top secret. If you want an idea of what goes down, just imagine a big communal shower with a bunch of naked hot guys dancing around like it’s Magic Mike auditions. *
- This is where we poop fellas. Ladies, I am told that this is also where you pee. How strange. Also, shame on you for ignoring my disclaimer. But when it comes to #2, what happens in the stalls, stays in the stalls. Yes, sometimes your colleague may have a particularly loud or smelly session. Don’t go running and telling the whole office like a Loud Mouth Larry.
- However, let’s try to keep the groans to a minimum. Very wet farts can sometimes happen, particularly after a night of drinking Red Bull & Jameson until 4 am because your friend is in town from San Francisco. However, please don’t moan like you’re giving birth to a set of triplets. We have to make eye contact at the sink after this.
- I reserve my strongest ire for those who cover their seat with toilet paper. I get it, you don’t want to rub butts with another guy. But this isn’t a gas station bathroom- it’s occupied by civilized folk and cleaned twice a day. If you must cover the seat, please flush the paper down the toilet. No one wants to come in to find your butt paper.
- This is where we pee boys. As far as conversation at the pee trough, I am open to it. It’s 2018- colleagues can small talk while urinating. However, by NO means should you make eye contact during your conversation. Keep those eyeballs glued on the white linoleum wall behind you.
- If you run into a particularly close work friend at the urinal and the bathroom is otherwise empty, feel free to be a little loose. I like to walk up behind my friend and push them into the urinal while they’re taking a tinkle. Or razz them about how weak their stream is. Funny stuff like that.
- Washing Hands
- Personally, I don’t think washing your hands after you pee is that big of a deal. Maybe the rest of you are peeing all over your hands, but I dropped that back in 8th grade. When I pee, it’s just some hand skin touching some penis skin on my body. Big freaking woop. If you’re alone, do as you please. However, if there’s other people in the bathroom, you’re going to look like a psychopath if you don’t wash your hands. Run ’em under the water for a quick second and get out of there.
- Unless you are a 6 year old, I shouldn’t have to tell you to wash your hands after you poop, especially at work. If you are a 6 year old, dressed in business casual and passing as an associate manager, then you get a pass. That’s hilarious and also where are you parents?
That’s all folks. Like always, tell your friends and follow us on Instagram @WorkRetireDie for updates on new posts and B- memes.