Etiquette shmetiquette: 6 simple rules for starters

Hoity toity looking school mistress

Miss Manners. You might want to slap her but sometimes she has a point.

Etiquette: those little rules, often unwritten, that help grease the wheels of polite society and make every day just that little bit nicer.

Nicer, now there’s a word. We’ll get on to namby pamby words another day.

1. Multitasking
Apparently it is rude to multitask whilst talking to someone. Okay, it’s true. It is. And when you talk to me on the phone, that tapping you hear in the background is not me typing, it’s the insane sparrows pecking the window trying claw me to death.

Of course if you were actually standing in front of me, I would stop typing. Mainly because I type with two to four fingers and make lots of mistakes you don’t need to kniw about *damn*. If you want my undivided attention be interesting. An interpretive dance always helps.

guy at work wearing headphones

He doesn't want to talk to you. He doesn't want you anywhere near him. Go. Away.

2. Headphones
I work largely on my own so I can wear headphones if I want. Except hello, no one here to annoy so I don’t have to. I know the headphones are rude but people wearing them at work are letting you know in a not-so-subtle fashion they do not want to speak to you whatsoever. You need to respect that.

Of course it also means you do not need to feel obliged to tell them Sally’s birthday party starts in five minutes or the photocopy room is on fire.

3. Dress appropriately? Me?
Being a graphic designer I have always found dress code does not apply to me. I’m creative.  If I want to wear thongs and tatty jeans to work that’s A-OK as is scruffy hair and silly t-shirts. One of my favourite quotes (really about designers as opposed to dress sense) is:

“I’m sick of dealing with you designers. Being able to draw and dressing like women doesn’t make you special.”

~ David Thorne

Ha ha. Well I am a woman so there. And don’t let me get started on “special“. It probably is a good idea to dress reasonably sensibly, “keeping it nice” is always a safe bet. Nice, there’s that word again.

peeking over cubicle wall4. Cubicle rules
Knocking is stupid. Who knocks on a cubicle? And since four or more poor souls are trapped in there who would know who you were knocking for?

Sometime I’d hang over the top of the cubicle wall like Foo. I also did fake elevators on my way past. I know, I know, the office world was sad to see me go.

I preferred to either lean nonchalantly on the lovely carpet wall waiting for all four people to stop work and talk to me before wandering in. OR, I’d plonk myself in the chair of the person I was there to annoy and wait for them to get off the phone to their hairdresser and start talking about shoes instead. There are protocols to be followed. Eventually we might get down to work.

5. Eavesdropping
Never cool. Well, to clarify, never cool to admit you were listening to that fight she had with her boyfriend. Never admit you heard your colleague make an appointment for a brazillian, for a doctor’s appointment (who knows what symptoms will force you to listen to, or worse, examine), or for anything really. But also realise, it’s not your fault they have no voice control and you can hear every word. It’s not your fault you were born with the hearing of a thousand bats.

6. The magic words
Listen up: ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are the magic words. I thought wingardium leviosa and rictus emporer were the magic words but there you go. I was wrong. It doesn’t hurt to say thanks.  It also doesn’t hurt to tell people “That was great, good job, thank you”. It doesn’t make YOU less competent, terrific, awesome to show your appreciation to others.  A little sharing goes a long way. Just don’t get brown-nosey about it, because then people will hate you. Be sincere. If you can’t say something nice, well you come sit here by me and keep your voice down.

Man with headphones is from the Flickr stream of  bp6316 is BACK
Girl peeking over cubicle wall, no, it’s not me, she’s from the anythiene’s photostream
Check out David Thorne’s hilarious blog here

About gillianloves

I decided there was not enough laughing in my life so I set to and started to design greeting cards in addition to my other design work. I'm happy to make people smile and to show that giving something really good takes as little effort as sending something pretty ordinary. I fully believe that if you can laugh about it someday you may as well laugh about it today. And also that we are just about as happy as we try to be. But you should know, Pollyanna I'm not. Even I might want to slap her after a day or so.
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