Workplace Survival 101

workplace survival tips etiquettesIt is that time of the year when many of you might be graduating from college and joining the workforce. Last week we talked about what to wear to your workplace and look good while doing so. Today, we talk some basic workplace etiquettes and some tips to not crumble in the competitive environment. Some of these points might seem brutal, but we’d like to call it as it is.

Respect everybody’s time

First and foremost, respect the most important thing in everyone’s life. Be on time. For meetings, for lunches, for team outings. A few times lapses are obviously okay, but when the count increases above a threshold, it is tardiness. The rule also applies when you ask for help – be considerate of their time and their deadlines as well.

Respect your team members

Irrespective of how old they are or their experience, respect your team member. There is a reason they are there working along with you. Their education, sex, caste or personality has nothing to do with how they work or how good they are at it.

Maintain healthy friendships

A workplace is different from a school or college. You must have already experienced (healthy or otherwise) competition back at your school and with each phase of your life, the stakes only increase. You might still make great friends but keep in mind you all are fighting for the same end goal and while you might be the same you from school, do not expect the same in return. (Still trying to learn this every single day!)

Do not put off administrative tasks

That bank stuff you have been avoiding will bite you back in your ass when your card is blocked one fine day and you are scrambling to get your hands on a new one. Also, taxes are a part of your life now. Admit it and do it well on time. And trust me, on the last day, the site WILL be down, CAs will be super busy and you will be scrambling to find that one bill you misplaced and don’t have time to acquire again. Be mindful of these tasks and try to get them done in time (at least a week before the deadline like we do!)

Ask for help

This is something everybody struggles with. While some people are too liberal to ask for help and rely too much on others (don’t do that by the way, refer #4), most of us feel hesitant to ask for help even after struggling for hours. If you are struggling with something new and have given your best effort, try a little more and then ask for help. It might be someone junior, someone on your same level or someone way too senior. You can’t be helped if you don’t ask for it. And isn’t it better to ask for help and get over your unnecessary embarrassment than miss that crucial deadline? Well, we think it is.

Basic grooming

While the ladies might be thinking of the monthly parlor visits, the first thought in the gentleman’s mind would be his hair, beard, mustache combo. But, we are not talking just that here – we are talking basic hygiene and grooming. Take a bath every day, and if it’s the summers and you are born to excessive sweating, wear body deodorizers (keep one in your office if need be!). If you had an onion for lunch, pop some mints or gum before heading to that meeting. When in a close and closed workplace, one has to think of people around you as well.

Take time to learn

While that promotion might be so enticing and such a great opportunity for a party, try to take it slow. At the start of your career, mistakes are easily forgiven and forgotten. Once you start climbing up the ladder, they will be less easily forgotten. Remember, higher positions mean increased responsibilities – of yourself and sometimes your colleagues as well. Well, we are not selling you the “Don’t run behind money, chase excellence instead” philosophy. Be mindful of the money you earn and the ladder you need to climb. But take your time to gain an advantage, learn new stuff, explore what you like working on and what you don’t. Hone some skills and then when you do climb that ladder, you won’t feel as lonely and stupid as people usually do.

Enjoy your work

Cliche? Yes, it is! While it is usually very difficult to love and enjoy work you are assigned to, try to find something you will. Talk to your manager and ask for the 80-20 funda or even a 90-10 breakup. That is 90% of the time you work the work assigned to you and 10% of the time, you do stuff you will enjoy. It might be a personal project or maybe just that one improvement you have been itching to fix. Do it.

Not working out, get out!

Changing jobs or teams or managers might seem so daring or impossible, but it is not. People move ALL the time. If your work is not exciting, not working out for you and you have given it everything you have to make it work and it still doesn’t, it is time to get out! Life is too short to spend under one manager who is too difficult or rude or for fixing bugs you didn’t create. Dare to explore, it is your life.

Respect your time

It’s just apt we open and close with time. As important as other people’s time is, so is yours. While it might be so damn tempting to pull that extra couple of hours every night or maybe that Saturday to try out something new, it is NOT gonna work well in the end. A young you is full of energy but spending 40 hours a week every week in and out is sure to burn you out. Your body and mind need the rest and time off. Take time to relax and unwind to take on the next week head on. (Again, something we need to remind ourselves every couple of weeks!)


Well, now that you have some pointers on how to conquer your new life, it’s time to go do the same! Work hard, party harder. Welcome to adulthood (and oh, it’s not awesome :P). Let us know any pointers you might have for others or how you conquered your work life like a boss! Comment, share and spread the love!


Until later,


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