How Not To Be A Dick In The Office

If you see something in the fridge or on the counter or wherever, and it looks might tasty but you know it didn't ride shotgun with you to work that day, walk the hell away.
Publish date:
July 18, 2013
how not to be a dick, co-workers, office appropriate, office culture, M

I've worked in a semi-professional setting for almost 10 years. I thought it'd be a change of pace from slinging drinks and waiting tables, which is what I did before. It's actually pretty similar in the sense that I have to put on a fake smile everyday and pretend that I adore the clients that I am helping. It's different in the sense that NO ONE would ever consider, say, stealing my lunch in a bar setting, because that shit is just totally unacceptable, a total dick move and you'd be called out immediately.

It seems a few people may need a friendly reminder on how to behave like an adult in an office setting.

1. Even if I'm bitchy at times, YOU CANNOT CALL ME NAMES, LIKE BITCH, in the heat of the moment.

True story.

A woman called me a bitch at work about a month ago because she didn't like the fact that I questioned her about something work-related. Now, I will be the first to admit that I can be abrasive at times, and I've been called worse in other settings, but it is definitely NOT OK to call me names in the workplace. You better believe I will pull out the employee hand-book, furiously looking for the part that states there is to be none of that type of bullshit AS WE'RE ALL GROWN-UPS, and immediately email The Boss, documenting the situation.

I would expect the same to happen to me if I felt it was OK to go around calling every bitch out that I work with. Please. It doesn't work that way.

There are and have been plenty of times that I've worked with someone that I don't particularly like and vice-versa. Sometimes, even the sight of their ugly mug is enough to annoy me, but you'll never see me calling someone a name. Talk shit on me behind my back like a normal person or say it when I can't hear it.

2. Do not take items from the refrigerator OR ANYWHERE that aren't yours, even if they're not labeled.

What are we, savages? As an adult, I think the idea of labeling food items is ludicrous, as I believe we all should have been taught at an early age to be mindful of others' personal property. I certainly would never go to your desk or home or whatever and start helping myself to things that belong to you, without first asking permission. I ask the same in return -- please don't touch my belongings without my permission.

This also goes for the pizza slice that is off to the side on a paper plate by the water cooler with another paper plate on top of it, as if to say, "PLEASE DON'T EAT ME. I'M BEING SAVED FOR LATER FOR WHEN MY OWNER (not you) GETS ALL SORTS OF CRAZY BECAUSE SHE HASN'T EATEN FOR HOURS. IT SEEMS LIKE I'M HERE FOR HER, BUT REALLY, I'M HERE TO HELP YOU. IF SHE DOESN'T EAT, MY OWNER IS A LUNATIC!"

If you see something in the fridge or on the counter or wherever, and it looks might tasty but you know it didn't ride shotgun with you to work that day, walk the hell away.

3. If you must use number two at work, take the proper precautions to ensure you don't tear up the ladies room.

FACT: We all defecate. Some people are super weird about using the restroom anywhere but home, and some people will pee behind a car if they have to. I will use the bathroom almost anywhere as long as there is toilet paper. Sometimes even if there isn't.

If the moment strikes, by all means, do your business. But do so in a manner that's courteous to others who may need to use the facilities later. Turn on the fan. Use the seat covers provided to you. Do the double flush. Light a match. For the love of all things holy, spray some damn air freshener. Don't just poop and run, please.

Or worse, don't leave all sorts of clues as to how heavy your flow is. Those little containers labeled "Sanitary Napkin Disposal" are there for a reason. Use them. And thank your lucky stars that you don't have to empty them.

4. If you're walking down the hallway and make eye contact with someone, say a simple "hello" or "hi" or even smile and nod.

I worked with a lady in the accounting department who was notorious for being grumpy. I had no desire to be best friends forever with her, but if I passed her in the hallway or bumped into her in the break room, I did feel exchanging simple pleasantries was just sort of the adult thing to do.

Anytime I did so, I was blatantly ignored. If I walked into her office (after knocking) for something work related, she wouldn't bother acknowledging my presence until I said something. I mean, Hello!? You see me standing right here. Why not ask me what the hell I need so I can get my ass on my merry way and out of your office, since you apparently hate my face.

When she was leaving the company, I didn't participate in her going away party thing. Good riddance. (Example of simple pleasantry if said with a smile.)

So there you have it. At the very least, these are the basics of How Not To Be a Dick in The Office Workplace. We all have our days, but why not make the time you have to be in a place that pays your mortgage or affords you that cute outfit a little less painful for everyone involved, yourself included.

What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to office etiquette or lack thereof?