HR Strange But True!
August 16, 2007

The transition from college life into the corporate world of a first "real" job can be quite a shock. While all the party photos and rock posters might look good on a dorm room wall, not everything translates into appropriate cube life.

So, MonsterTrak has put together a list of do's and don'ts when it comes to a first office job. Even though the list might be for those new to the corporate landscape, or may seem pretty obvious to most, there are always a few people who could use a refresher course.

Here are MonsterTrak's tips for recent college grads.

  • Keep photos clean. Rather than hanging pictures of you doing a killer keg stand or your latest vacation to Cancun in your cube, think conservative and hang more PG photos of your family and friends.
  • Keep 'em separated. If you use instant messenger (and it's allowed) to keep in touch with co-workers and friends make sure that contacts are kept separate. Accidentally IMing your boss about your personal life could cost you more than your dignity. Also, screen names like "LadiesGuy23" or "hotMaMa76" might not be the best choice for a professional conversation online.
  • Don't be "that guy" with the iPod. If you're allowed to listen to music at your desk (be sure to ask), make sure the person two cubes over can't hear the beats coming out of your headphones. Be respectful of those who need a quiet work environment while still enjoying your tunes.
  • Don't be "that guy" with the iPhone. If your ring tone is the latest hip-hop track, keeping your phone on silent is your best option. In meetings having a silent phone is a must, and limiting calls and text messages to break time is also preferable.
  • Avoid the lunch time faux pas. If you're planning on eating lunch at your desk, try and bring something that won't offend the nostrils of your fellow cube dwellers. Sure tuna and garlic might be great, but if a co-worker has to wear a surgeon's mask to get through the day, take the hint and try eating in the lunch room.
  • Evolve from dorm dweller to cube dweller. Everyone has their own hygiene habits except maybe a few folks who have none. Keeping it clean might involve keeping hand sanitizer, lotions, lip balm, and a brush at your desk, but beware that keeping hair spray, perfume, and nail polish on call might be a little excessive, and a little unprofessional. To avoid any noxious gases from the latest scent of hair spray or cologne you bought, only use these products in the bathroom.
  • Know that every rose has its thorn. Sure that bouquet you decided to bring to spruce up your cube might be pretty but don't just ignore your neighbor who's in a coughing fit because of his or her allergies. Be sensitive to others' potential allergies and try an allergen-neutral plant like a fern or orchid.
  • Skip People Magazine until off the clock. While employers may encourage desktop references such as dictionaries and style books, keep in mind that the latest Harry Potter book or today's National Enquirer might best be stored in a drawer and saved for after work or break time.
  • Keep corporate socialite in check. Having friends visit at work is always a nice break, but be considerate of others around you. Move friendly meetings to an outdoor area or a common room in your office where you can talk and enjoy friend's company without disturbing your co-workers.
  • Become the Switzerland of the office politics world. While you might have some strong feelings about politics or social issues, exercising free speech in the office can do more than just turn co-workers off. To avoid starting office politics of your own, keep these discussions to a minimum--at least in the beginning--and try and stay on more neutral topics.

Source: MonsterTrak

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