Office Etiquette for Recent Grads

Congratulations, college graduate, it’s your first day at your first REAL job, and you’re ready to set the world on fire. You have the winning look, the enthusiastic, fun personality, graduation behind you, and you know you can graduate right up the corporate ladder in no time, right?

Sure. Maybe. But don’t get ahead of yourself. Success in the business world is more than college graduate status and an eager work ethic. Unless your new job involves working from behind your computer in your own home, you will probably need a set of good people skills and a lesson in office etiquette to go along with your winning work ethic. Unfortunately, these office etiquette skills are not a prerequisite for college graduation, but they are key for proper office etiquette success.

For starters, get to know everyone in the office by name and profession. Proper office etiquette requires you address people by name and be able to identify and appreciate their roles in the office. Set yourself a deadline to know this information. Consider it your first post-grad course. Take notes if need be and quiz yourself at the end of your allotted time. And, if you are unsure of a name or responsibility, ask your boss. No sense feeding into the office gossip even if it is unknowingly.

Office Gossip: it exists in every office. Again, there is not an undergraduate business course in how to recognize it or avoid it, but it is necessary for success. It is also proper office etiquette and simple common decency. To avoid it, avoid places where gossip abounds and people who like to partake in it – simple office etiquette. If this means eating lunch at your desk everyday or making up an excuse why you can’t join the Friday afternoon happy hour, so be it. Of course, you’re stand up behavior is sure to be noticed and gossiped about, but at least you won’t be jeopardizing your position or your professional relationships. And the gossip about you will gradually disappear.

All recent grads know it’s common to skip a class now and then. Even working grads know calling out of work now and again is normal, despite the breaking of office etiquette rules. Maybe when you weren’t trying to make a career out of the job, but now that you’ve graduated, it is different. Office etiquette requires you show up for work 100 percent ready to work everyday. In cases of emergency, it is office etiquette to contact your supervisor directly with a complete explanation prior to missing work. For all other days off, it is office etiquette to follow office procedure regarding vacation or sick leave. Being a college grad looks good on your resume. Being irresponsible and unreliable does not.

Do not date within the office! Of any office etiquette to follow, this may be the most important, as its fall-outs often lead to problems in other areas. Sure, as a recent grad, you may feel it’s time to meet someone special and settle down. Find him or her elsewhere. Nothing breaks more office etiquette rules than dating a co-worker. The only thing worse as far as office etiquette would be dating your boss. Again, this is a no-no in office etiquette. This lesson should be a requirement for college graduation!

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