Working as a professional is something to be proud of. There are many degrees of professionalism, but nonetheless whether you are a business owner or a secretary, you represent the company you work for.
Before going over some helpful do’s and don’ts of professional behavior, you need to understand the industry you are in and how you are expected to act. In the marketing and advertising world, alcohol is widely accepted at office events and jeans are sometimes welcomed as well. As a lawyer you will always wear a full suit. The point here is that there are different expectations in different industries but there are still general rules for all to follow.
In the office
Office behavior is very important. Watch what you say. Never curse in a professional setting when you don’t know how everyone else feels about it, which is almost always. Cursing can also make you look less intelligent. Watch the jokes. Some people are not comfortable with certain things and may not voice their opinions either. That does not mean they don’t have any. The last thing you want to do is offend a co-worker or client. And how you say it. Attitude is everything; always speak to others the way you expect them to speak to you, with a professional manor.
This next thing is less behavior and more common sense. Always, and I mean always, check your spelling before publishing, sending, posting, or whatever you feel the need to call it. Spell checking was a wonderful invention, use it.
Spelling a name wrong is insulting and shows that you don’t pay attention. If you are sending an email, chances are the recipient’s name is in a previous message from them or it’s in their email address. If you are still unsure on the spelling, try LinkedIn, their business card, their company website, or call their secretary. Names should always be spelled right, there are no exceptions.
Outside the office
When you leave the office you still represent the company you work for. Your attitude again is very important because you just never know who knows who.
Example: I witnessed a local business owner of a small boutique in a downtown area completely lose her cool. As she was waiting to pull into a parking lot, another car almost rear-ended her. She then stepped out of her vehicle and proceeded to scream profanities at the other driver for a good two minutes. The worst part… she was right in front of her own business in the middle of the day with people walking around.
If you were the driver of the other car and just so happened to work for one of the designers with whom she sells for, wouldn’t you tell your boss what happened?
In that case the entrepreneur went off the handle and acted in a completely non-professional manor. This is by no means okay, even if a collision did occur, there are better ways to handle a situation like that.
Office parties and networking events can be a great time to not be so uptight with work. At the same time you must maintain your professionalism. Never drink too much when surrounded by other professionals, it sends a bad signal and can ultimately cost you your job if things go wrong. Remember you are always networking, on and off the job, well at least a smart professional is.
Social networks can mingle a lot with privacy. I myself, keep my Facebook private because I use it on a more personal level. My Twitter account is used to help brand myself by posting industry related articles and mixing a little bit of personality in there as well. If you use social networks on a personal level, be sure to utilize your privacy settings. Even with the controls set you should still be aware of what you post. Again, you never know, who knows who. Job seekers and even current employees need to be mindful of social recruiting.
For more tips on workplace etiquette, check out this article from AskMen.
Have you ever witnessed poor professional behavior that resulted in a consequence?