Monday, August 20, 2007

Only You Can Prevent Becoming the Office Idiot

I haven’t blogged about work in a while because it is mostly uninteresting and there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said. I don’t claim to be an expert but have picked up a few things along the way. That being said, I would like to share a few pointers that once mastered, will benefit your clients, your co-workers, and yourself.

1.) If you don’t care about your job, don’t bother showing up. This is a biggie. You can’t understand how frustrating it is for everyone around you to get things done when you are constantly complaining and dropping the ball. Like it or not, you are part of a team – part of a bigger picture. Not only does your negativity bring down the rest of the office but your total lack of interest makes the rest of our work twice as difficult. I understand that your job may be cushy or has put you in a position of near invincibility, but PLEASE do us a favor and move on. Have enough respect for yourself to not become the office cancer.

2.) Be nice. This is the easiest and single most important thing you can do. Nobody likes working with an asshole so don’t be one. It really doesn’t matter how good you are or think you are at your job; people will avoid you at all costs if you constantly act like an idiot. Trust me. People are talking about you behind your back. You may think your “edge” or “intensity” has helped you get to where you are but I assure you it hasn’t. And by some chance it has, don’t expect to stay there. Why not try smiling once in a while or offering to help somebody new with the fax machine. Hell, try saying “good morning” some day. It doesn’t take much. Your attitude doesn’t impress anyone and frankly, your mother would be ashamed.

3.) If you don’t understand something, don’t pretend that you do. Some people may tell you the opposite is true only because they haven’t yet been burned. You will look a lot worse when your client calls you on one of your little white lies then simply saying “you don’t know but will find out.” The worst thing you can do is hide something from your client because you will eventually be caught. What’s worse – telling your client you don’t know something or breaking their trust? That was rhetorical by the way.

4.) Don’t be a “yes man”. Your boss may like you bent over his desk but nobody else wants to see that. This is especially true to management in dealing with clients. I can’t tell you how many times I have been sitting in a meeting listening to a uninformed manager tell the client “no problem” or “of course it’s possible” only to have to tell them in the cab rid home that it is impossible or completely out of scope. I understand you want to make the client happy but it’s ok to say “no” or even “we’ll follow up with options in a couple of days”. This also goes back to the previous point – if you don’t completely understand the nature of the request don’t give a definite answer until you do. Please ask the person who will be responsible for doing the task before giving an answer. This may make for some tension in the meeting but will pay off in the end when you don’t have to go back with your tail between your legs and politely as possible state that it’s not actually possible and you’re very sorry.

5.) Just because you don’t understand, care, and/or agree with something, doesn’t make it wrong. This is an especially important point for me as someone working in new media. I’m constantly faced with the challenge of selling through an idea to someone who really doesn’t “get it” nor try to. As much as you don’t want to acknowledge it, the media landscape is facing its biggest shift since the introduction of television and if you don’t eventually embrace it, you will be left behind. New is not necessarily bad. It’s just different and may require a little more work. Deal with it.

I could go on for hours but I’m starting to even annoy myself. Let’s just all try to remember that there are simple things you can do that will make life easier for everyone around you and will greatly benefit you in the end. Oh, and please remember to wash your hands after taking a piss. Thank you.

Awesome graphic via Threadless.