Post Style: Office Style - Work Sense Will Get You by; in the Second Piece of a Two-Part Series on Graduates in Employment, Jo Ind Tells How to Behave in Your First Job

By Ind, Jo | The Birmingham Post (England), April 28, 1999 | Go to article overview

Post Style: Office Style - Work Sense Will Get You by; in the Second Piece of a Two-Part Series on Graduates in Employment, Jo Ind Tells How to Behave in Your First Job


Ind, Jo, The Birmingham Post (England)


When you are a student, it doesn't matter much how you behave. There are limits to your doing your own thing of course, but at the end of the day, so long as you get your work done on time, you can wear what you want, socialise with who you want and have the political opinions that you want.

When you go to work, it is different.

There is a much stricter code of behaviour, which can be bewildering to people who associate adulthood with doing their own thing.

Jo Gardiner, who worked in training and campaigning at the industrial society for 11 years, says that each office has its own culture. Graduates and college leavers need to understand that in order to get on well at work.

This is the advice that she offers to those starting out in their first big job.

Getting on with people.

Give everyone a fair chance before making decisions about them.

Do not let your instincts get the better of you. Treat everyone with a bit of respect, just as you would like to be treated.

Don't judge people on the basis of what you think about their "type."

Remember that everyone has a different mix of values which shape their attitudes and the way they behave.

Do not tease or bully people. It's not only unfair but your organisation should not let it happen, and it may also be illegal.

It's important to see people's difference as an advantage. Life would be very boring if we were all the same.

You can learn things from watching how different people work and teams need different types of people in them to be creative and effective.

Networking.

Be clear about what kind of networking you do at work and when you do it.

For example, it's important to spend time chatting to a few colleagues on a personal level, to build up a social network within work.

You may or may not also see these people socially outside work, but regard them as people you get on well with. Everyone needs friends at work.

This kind of networking should usually be done in your own time - during a coffee break, over lunch, on the way to the bus stop.

Don't spend time chatting and joking instead of working.

There's also professional networking, where you build up extra trust and a good working relationship with an internal or external contact.

Positive links with some colleagues and contacts turn out to be good sources of help, advice and support at work, as well as two-way links between different teams, departments and organisations.

But don't confuse your message by trying to talk about a serious issue in the bar, or being too jokey in a work meeting.

Using the telephone.

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