Employee Code of Conduct

Maybe you’ve been out of the workplace for so long that the only thing you can think about is soiled Huggies® and tubes of Manicotti. But when you graduate college, employee code of conduct should be learned.

- Gossiping in the workplace leads to bad karma, but gossiping while hovered around your co-worker’s desk, loud talking to boot, is using bad judgment. Make yourself useful or ask someone in the office to give you something to do. During one of my internships, my supervisor wasn’t there, so I moseyed on into another department and the director of the department was thrilled to have the extra hands!

The key is to show your employer that you’re an asset to the company. Because, who knows, the position may turn out to be a full-time job. If the company is not looking for full-time employees, perhaps they could write you a letter of recommendation or refer you to another company; that’s called six degrees of separation. So don’t cut-up in the office.

- Taking long lunches – Someone is watching you at the office whether it’s the 50-ish Jewish guy who sits in the corner and never says hi, or the 37-year-old, brunette bombshell who smiles at you a lot. These people are stakeholders in the company; the revenue produced by the company pays their bills.

- Cell phones – Even though the switchboard is driving you mad with its ringing, your cell phone should be mum, on buzz or vibrate. Let the answering machine pick it up.

- Cleanliness – Imagine this: Your boss comes over to your desk to check and see if you need anything. You just happen to be in the John. Meanwhile, your boss is greeted with a banana peel and a host of crumpled napkins that lay upon your desk. On top of that, two has-been coffee cups, from the deli, lay on the floor, beside your cesspit of an area. You should keep your desk area clean and tidy.

- Try not to bother your supervisor for every little thing you need around the office like paper clips and Post-It Notes. Put your supervisor in rotation and ask someone else for things from time to time.

- Try to eat in the company’s cafeteria by the second week to familiarize yourself with the corporate culture. Your colleagues are as curious about you as you are about them. But also, you can find out up front if they are psychos, and if that’s the place you want to spend the rest of your days. Does the movie Fatal Attraction starring Michael Douglas and Glen Close come to mind?

- Even on your downtime at a job or an internship, stay away from questionable Web sites. And by no means should you ever watch movies on your office computer. Some employers have spy-ware-like gadgets that can watch your computer without you ever knowing.

- Don’t “borrow” your employee’s food that’s left over in the refrigerator. Do I need to explain why?

- Don’t go rifling through your employee’s desks or offices because if they’ve “misplaced” something, guess who’s going to get the blame? Perhaps another co-worker saw you go in there?



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