Staying employed: General etiquette & environment Part 3 of 3 series

Now, finally all those little things you take for granted.

Sorry if I repeat some of the issues from last two blogs about etiquette.

Getting dress for work? Put that fancy expensive cologne down, leave it for the club. I know it smells good but don’t wear it at work. You’re going to be in an office for 8 hours, no one wants to smell it for eight hours. If you have something that has a VERY light scent, possibly one squirt, don’t push it with multiple sprays.

Do not ever compliment a woman by email or verbally. Just don’t do it, if someone hears the compliment, and is offended by what you said, you could be hit with a lawsuit. It sounds stupid until you’re explaining to your wife why you lost your job. I know someone who it happened to, don’t do it.

Opinions about presidential candidates…keep to yourself. To be honest, any political discussions, any discussions about race leave it alone. Why…because eventually someone is going to disagree. In a perfect world people can disagree but we don’t live in a perfect world. You would like to keep your job and if you tick the wrong person off, you might lose your job. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but again, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Keep your personal life personal, arguments with your significant other, don’t talk about it, don’t even share their name. Why? Well, let me share my experience…

I came back to my desk after lunch and I had a couple of messages both from my girlfriend saying, “Call me”. I could hear something was wrong in her voice. When I called her back the first thing she ask was, “Who is Stacy?” My girls name is Megan. I said, “What are you talking about?” She said, “Your coworker answered the phone and asked me, “Is this Stacy?””

…and that’s why you don’t share names with coworkers. I wasn’t cheating, if that’s what you’re thinking, but it’s difficult explaining why my ex has my number and why she still calls me.

Perception is everything.

When you’re walking the hall, carry something in your hand, it could be a portfolio or notebook. Carrying something in your hand gives the impression that you’re busy off to a meeting, working or always prepared. You might just be wasting time stretching your legs but they don’t have to know.


My mom used to tell me, “If you’re late coming into work, don’t look like it.” Call in and tell them, “I’m running a little late.” Take the time to iron your shirt, put some lotion on your face. Don’t get to work looking stressed, work will be there. Do not try to be on time, try to be early.

Don’t expose too much personal information. My coworkers don’t know about my position in my scuba diving club, the position with the National Organization of Concerned Black Men or this blog.  It’s personal, it’s not for them to know, they don’t scuba dive, they’re not concerned and they ain’t black! Ha Why should they know?…even the black people I work with don’t know, you know why?…because people run their mouths.

Happy hours:

Have a drink…don’t get drunk. I personally don’t mix friends with coworkers. It’s not to say your career or work environment will not promote a good relationship but do so at your discretion. Megan may not want to be called Stacy, or better yet you don’t want people asking Megan when she calls, “Why didn’t you come to our happy hour?” Get my point?

Black issues:

Every time there’s a “black” issue try not to be the go to person in the office. Stay away from those conversations unless you really have to set someone straight, and you can do so without offending. Race is a tough subject and sometimes it becomes hard to navigate out of it.

For me this next piece of advice is a hard thing to understand. If it doesn’t happen to you, great. Something that I noticed is that people will talk about something that’s your responsibility within a distance where you can hear, and won’t invite you into the conversation. For the life of me, I don’t know why people do that. I guess it’s an informal way to invite you into the conversation, but it annoys the mess out of me. I don’t know what it is about standing next to my cubicle and talking about something I’m responsible for, but you don’t address me at all. Weird.

Brings me to my last point, don’t get mad. Regardless of what’s said, done, emailed…don’t get mad. Be cool.


“Always be smarter than the people who hire you.” Lena Horne

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