21 Jan Tips for Surviving Office Work
The modern office isn’t quite so wretched that you were expecting, but it’s not always pleasant, either. I’ve written some tips for surviving office work for the first time, so enjoy.
Don’t Handicap Yourself:
You can only tell everybody you work with about your sleepless nights, your headache, and other self-handicapping excuses so many times, before everybody just starts putting your skills and competency at the level that you’ve set with your frequent tales of woe. If you really do end up staying up all night due to the neighbors’ alarm, try to get someone else to deliver your rough condition for you – a co-worker, a spouse, anybody except you, the person who’s always got an ‘If I didn’t’ story.
Small Talk Not Big Talk:
The tendency, at least for those not in sales, is to shrink into a corner and talk with well-known co-workers at larger events and office functions. Need some help getting out and socializing? Semi – sarcastic observations about the situation can work, but if you’re just trying to chat up one person, try looking for subjects that give the other person a chance to tell you more about themselves. More importantly, resist the temptation to follow up with your own, even more impressive story, or you’ll be known as the person who talks to people just so they can talk at people.
Be Mindful of Time:
Those days where you realize it’s 4 p.m. and you still, somehow, haven’t really tackled the most important task on your list? They often get that way because you get sucked into every other worker’s dilemmas and issues, without giving yourself solid time to sit down and focus. As crazy as it sounds, don’t check your emails the first hour after arriving, if it’s the first hour of your day, people might not actually expect you to get back to them ASAP, and you can start on your work before anyone tells you otherwise.
Every Man/Woman’s Desk Is Their Castle:
You can’t just ask for the corner office, but you can make the place that you spend most of your day in much better with small-scale changes. Consider buying yourself a great mouse or comfortable keyboard, the kind you’ll take with you to your next assignment. Make some ergonomic changes, get yourself some hard-to-kill plants, and greatly improve your physical space.
Ignore Everyone (Except Your Boss, Don’t Ignore Them):
Why are so many people are working on nights and weekends? It’s the only time they can actually work. Too many offices have an environment where not immediately responding to an IM, an email, or a just-over-the-desk ‘Got a minute?’ is seen as rude or un-team-like. By all means be sociable with your co-workers but be sure to know where to draw the line and tell them all to leave you to your work.
Stay On Good Terms with Your Old Workplace:
It’s easy to immediately shout ‘See you, Losers’ when you land another great job, or can just see freedom coming up around the bend. Before splitting the scene, though, consider what happens if your next job doesn’t work out, or if you need a favour, and keep your bridges intact. Tell your co-workers and managers that you’re leaving for growth opportunities in the new position, that you’re leaving behind the company but not your relationships, and don’t waste any time bad-mouthing your old job to customers or new co-workers – you’ve got to finish up your work before you leave. It all sounds goody-goody, but it’s a small two-week investment in what might be a great resource in the future.