Monday, July 30, 2007

New "etiquette tips" for the workplace -- is this for real?

I have been puzzling this morning over an article by Penelope Trunk on Yahoo! entitled "Ten New Etiquette Tips for the Workplace." I never feel more like a dinosaur -- or a troglodyte -- than when I read articles like this.

The author states that the "new workplace etiquette for the new millennium" is all about "transparency and authenticity" because today's young workers, "who grew up online[,] don't know how to operate any other way except transparently."

Well, transparency seems reasonable in most circumstances. But these "new rules"... I'm baffled by several of these.

For example, new rule no. 2, "Don't ask for time off, just take it." Are you crazy? I'm self-employed now -- but I have worked for others in the past and I find it hard to believe that an employee doing this more than once would long remain employed.

Unless nobody knew you were gone. I could see cutting out early if you were sure could get away with it. But the author does not advocate sneaking out the back door when no one's looking. No, she says that an employee should make sure his or her work is up to date and then advise the manager that he or she is heading off for some frolic. In an email. Ms. Trunk concedes that, "This will seem discourteous to older people, who expect you to ask rather than tell."

It sure seems discourteous to me....

Or try rule no. 3: "Keep your headphones on at work." Yes, nothing says 'I'm a team player' like keeping your iPod earbuds in all day long....

Then there's rule no. 5: "Invite your CEO to be a friend on Facebook." I would think that even admitting that you have a Facebook page might brand you as frivolous and unprofessional. Ms. Trunk says that "Facebook is for everyone now." I thought you had to have a school email address to get a Facebook account. At least, that's what my kids keep telling me.

Rule no. 9 is "Call people on the weekend for work." I may come into the office on a weekend and I almost always take work home. But I don't want to talk about work on the weekend. It's only because I've frittered away so much time during the week that I have work to do on the weekend, right? Or -- maybe, someday -- I'd work on the weekend getting organized for the week ahead. Either way, I don't want to talk to you. And I absolutely do not want you calling me at home -- and, unless the office was on fire or something along those lines, I wouldn't be calling you at home either.

I understand rule no. 8 ("Don't blog under a pseudonym") even if I violate it here. But this isn't a business blog. And I like rule no. 10, "Be nice like your job depends on it." I am, however, certain that this is not something new -- even though it's never caught on well enough.

Are these "new rules" really catching on in the workplace? Is it really like this out there in the world?

14 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

my word curmy, things have changed! my daughter said she was at the home office working one day and had on earphones cause there was so much background noise she couldn't concentrate, well, you know what happened, right? her boss was behind her and told her to do something and she didn't hear him cause SHE HAD ON HEADPHONES, uh oh...

and the 500 links i was talking about are not sidebar links, they are in posts. so they drop off after six months. i just found that out. so thanks for the links!!

smiles, bee

tyvc

susan said...

I've been scratching my head over these new "rules", too. I was beginning to think I had just been out of the game too long. Maybe I'm just older than I realized... :)

Linda said...

Seems like a lot of people at my job not only like rule #2 but adhere to it. I've never seen so many people just not bother to come into work on a regular basis. The other thing I don't understand is why the company doesn't show them the door. We're all hired as "at will" employees and I would think being a "no call-no show" would cause the company to will you to work elsewhere.

Guess I'm right there with you in that fossil pit!

Ralph said...

I will just look to my grandpa, my namesake (Ralph I), West Virginia born in 1902, and 8th grade education. He was a self-made businessman, who sold off the last vestiges of hi business when he was 76 years old. He told me this: “Never does a half-assed job". I suppose he never had the distractions in those days, but he got his radio license in 1934, and started his business during the depths of the Depression. I suppose you would call it a work ethic...Is that lacking these days?

Dave said...

For better or worse, us "older people" don't live in the same world that is populated by the people that would take those tips seriously. Are you sure it wasn't a put on?

Patti said...

It really does sound like a put on. I'm with you and Linda in the smelly old fossil pit.

Skittles said...

WTF? Was that serious? Man oh man...

Mother of Chaos said...

Heh. I do Rule #2 all the time. Although, not quite as abruptly as Ms. Getcha Fired seems to be advocating. Basically, I give two weeks notice for one to two days (long weekend), and more if I plan to take more time.

But I don't ask, now that I think about it. Haven't for years - I just inform them of my plans. And I've never gotten anything but a 'thanks for letting me know' from Da Boss, either.

But other than the video resume and don't try to change your jerk coworker bits, GOOD GRIEF. This is *terrible* general advice. Not all offices are created equal. What goes over just fine in Los Angeles, California might get you kicked to the curb in Detroit, and what is perfectly OK in Detroit could get you burnt at the stake in San Francisco.

And if one of my coworkers calls me on the weekend about work, I will begin discussing how to wash cloth diapers with them. "Personally, I like a capful of the lemon-scented Clorox, how about you?"

SQT said...

I think the "just take time off" rule must depend on the job. My husband can do that, but it affects how much money he makes. You can literally see a direct correlation between who comes to work regularly and who earns a decent paycheck. Over time those who aren't productive get fired so it all works out in the end I suppose. Though I don't know if this is the rule of thumb everywhere.

Chris said...

Reads like 'Rules to get you sacked'.

I'm glad I'm not in the workforce anymore....

Lois Grebowski said...

sad, isn't it?

The Curmudgeon said...

Even if I'd never heard of her, apparently Penelope Trunk is kind of a Blogosphere celebrity. See this post on Suburban Turmoil for more.

I am gratified to see that my response to these rules was not entirely off.

Mother Jones RN said...

Rule #2 is crazy! I told my boss to call the police if I'm ever a no-call- no-show at work. She understands that my unexplained absence means that I'm dead, and that someone needs to start looking for my body.

MJ

Where fibers meet mud said...

Unreal but true... or so it seems... previous person in my job was never there and did that for 6 months while getting paid... so I show my face all the time... I am guilty of longer lunches but hey I have not attained wings and a halo - when you get on a good conversation (face to face) you just have to finish.... see previous comment about crackberries!

these rules seem very prevelant unfortuneately.... I wonder what and if the DOW JONES will be here in ten years with work ethics like that! The USA was made under a different set of mores and I see them sliding which will be sad when another country becomes stronger because of better work ethics.... or having ethics at all!