In career life

Workplace Etiquette No one Teaches you

I've just passed a year and a half at my part-time position, and I feel like I've learned quite a lot about career life. I work in an office and feel like I've learned quite a few things I had never realized from my college classes. I'm sure there's still more to learn, but today I'm sharing tips I've figured out since starting my professional job.

Casual Fridays aren't all that Casual

My work has casual Friday every week, which equates to jeans and a work t-shirt. What no one tells you though is your jeans should be super modest. That means not too tight, probably a boot cut, and definitely no holes in them. I have a pair of designated work jeans that I only wear to work events.

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If you work in an environment that has spontaneous meetings with superiors or clients, then it's probably a good idea to forego casual Fridays all together. Before you show up in bum clothes, look around on casual Fridays and see what everyone else is wearing in general. When in doubt overdress and go with the flow.

Sports leagues are a way to make friends

I was really surprised how often my office does softball leagues and tournaments for fundraisers. These are SUCH a great way to meet people in the office and can really help you feel connected to the people you work with. Some offices pay for the league, others you'll have to pay into, but they're worth it if you have the time and money.

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What's nice is you get to meet people outside of your department and have something to talk about with people you don't work with directly. It can be a breath of fresh air to chat with someone not stressing about the same things as you, so friends outside of your department are nice.

Lunchtime Rituals can save your sanity

It can be tempting to sit at your desk and eat while you work, especially for an introvert like me. But it can be so easy to be bogged down with work by never taking a solid break. Use your lunch hour to eat with coworkers, either going out or meeting in the break room to eat together.

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Alternatively you can use your lunch hour to get a quick workout in, or some reading. Honestly eating lunch only takes me about 20 minutes, so the rest of the time you could watch a Netflix show on the treadmill or run a few errands. This is your time, not your company's, so use it to your fullest advantage.

Follow up & Follow through

No matter what your field the people who make a point of following up and following through on projects is a characteristic of good employees. You don't have to be annoying about checking in on a project every day, but clear communication about what people need from you means you're thinking of others.

It's so easy for things to get lost in a black hole of "to-do-eventually", especially when you work in a larger office. Following up with people when you haven't heard back shows people that you're accountable for work and can handle multiple projects.

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Following through on promises is another really important work-place trait. I don't want a reputation of a black hole for work, so when people hand me something I always give them an approximate timeline of when I'll get this back to them, then I actually get it back to them by then. This helps people know when to expect things, especially when you're really busy. If I'm not going to be able to finish this in the time they need it by then it's clear to both of us.

Organize your Computer Files

This is especially important if you work off of a server, or shared file system like Google Drive. In my field (graphic design & marketing) multiple people have to work on a file or update things. So if a coworker's files are a complete mess or saved in the wrong place it can really annoy the people you work with.

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Every project I work on gets its own folder where I save everything related to that project, then those folders are organized by category. Don't just dump everything into a folder and call it a day.

I find it easier to create a "Z_Resources" folder of things you have to reference back and an "Z_Completed" folder where you can dump old projects. The "Z_" means it will be sorted to the bottom of your files out of your way.

Small Gestures have big meaning

When I was a part time manager at a clothing store I always made sure to do small things to show my employees I loved them. Sometimes this was Valentine's day cards on their lockers, parting gifts for employees leaving or graduation gifts (funded by everyone on the management team). 

These small favors help build a sense of camaraderie to the people you have to work with every day. These gestures don't have to be expensive or take place on every holiday. As a manager I did them once a quarter, but at work I do it about twice a year (Valentine's Day and Christmas).

Even if you're not the manager or supervisor, it's still nice to show people you know they exist and care about them. It doesn't matter how much the thing costs either. This year I made my own cards and spent a whopping $5 on a bag of melted Popsicles (the cards had Olaf from frozen on them and said 'Some people are worth melting for') for about 35 people.


There's so much that goes into a good work culture and even if you're not a manager or supervisor you have a lot of impact on how much you like you job. Work doesn't have to be a monotonous, even if you're not in your dream job. What other workplace etiquette have y'all figured out? Comment below!

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