Making it my business: the ins and outs of work ettiquette

Find out how to maintain that delicate workplace balance between professionalism, humility, and happy hour.

Let my wisdom astound you!

Dear Valerie,

What is the best way to look/act when your boss at a staff meeting announces that you are being promoted or are being given a new responsibility that was coveted by the rest of the staff?
Curious Coworker

I’m assuming this question is coming from two possible experiences: 1) You recently suffered an exceedingly smug and obnoxious coworker getting said promotion and you want to validate your visceral reaction or 2) You’re getting the feeling that *you* might be getting the promotion and you want to know what to do. If it’s option #1, you’re justified. If it’s #2, congrats and you’re right to want to be cautious.

Most people spend most of their lives at work. Consequently, we spend most of our time with our coworkers. Maintaining that delicate balance of friendliness and professionalism is tricky enough without throwing competition into the mix. So, one word here: gracious. When the announcement is made, smile, say “thank you,” and move on. Don’t feign shock, but don’t be cocky. If it comes up in conversation later (and don’t even think about mentioning it yourself), take a similar approach, remembering that less is always is more and no one wants to hear about how awesome you are.

Dear Valerie,

I work in an office with people who are all around the same age. We all get along really well and people are always going out after work or meeting up to hang out over the weekend. I really like everyone, but I need a life outside of work, too. How do I get out of it without hurting their feelings?

Happy Hour Hesitant

I totally know where you’re coming from, HHH. I work with some of the most awesome people in town and I love hanging out with them, but I also have a husband who I rarely see during the week and with whom I’d occasionally like to spend some alone time.

In figuring out this situation, it’s important to remember that bonding with your coworkers is necessary. I’m not saying you need to be BFF, HHH, but you do need to find some common ground. The way I see it, you’ve got a few options…

First, don’t forget about that whole lunch thing. If you can’t hang out in the evenings or on weekends, make yourself available to go out for a bite to eat. Not only will you get a solid hour of conversation-time, you’ll probably spend significantly less money than you would on drinks or dinner.

Second, mentally prepare yourself to be available once a month. This will work especially well if your coworkers have a standard weekly, hang out time. Pick a date, commit to it, and go.

Third, and this might seem a bit CRAZY, but I suggest you try making your worlds collide. I know, I’m nuts! Invite a couple coworkers to hang out with you and some non-work friends. This way you’re putting in the work-crew love, but also maintaining your out-of-work relationships. And who knows? Maye everyone will get along famously and it will turn into an all-out awesomefest.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Anonymous on said:

    I am visceral reaction.

  2. Son of a! I will fix it. Thank you for your diligence in pwning me.

  3. I am your mom.

  4. Pingback: Making it my business: j to the o to the b, kids | RVANews

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