Education Career Services

April 23, 2009

Workplace Etiquette, Students Should Care!

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of being on an advisory board for one of our local colleges.  The main topic of the afternoon was curriculum development but that soon moved onto workplace etiquette.  Granted, theoretical knowledge is a mainstay element of any job and the importance of curriculum should never be ignored.  Still, the general consensus of the group was: supply a decent education while making sure graduates know how to act once a position is secured.


Hmmm, must admit, I have hired a handful of recent graduates and many (okay, most) were not only lost upon their first day of work, they remained clueless regarding business etiquette.  To bring this home, the following is a brief list of (mentioned by the group) workplace infractions:


  • Coming to work late (one of my (ex)employees would sit in her car and fix her makeup for over ten minutes each morning—here’s the issue, she felt that being in the companies parking lot constituted being in the office—so, by her time schedule, she was “at work”); not acceptable.
  • Receiving and responding to personal calls and emails; some individuals new to the workforce culture do not realize companies hire them to work, not respond to personal issues.
  • Possessing an unfriendly attitude and appearance.  Granted, you are hired to work, not be social, but getting along with others and simply saying “good morning” can go a long way (warning—being too friendly and looking like a sycophant can be even more damaging—use common sense).
  • Disallowing adaptability; in today’s lean business model, graduating students (and seasoned professionals) must broaden their skills and value.  In other words, learn more than what is expected!


The advisory board members were clear on the above concerns (naturally there were more) when employing recently graduated students.  For those executives and employees from all levels, the mentioned bullets do not discriminate.  Thus, if you are looking to progress in a company, consider how you are perceived by your peers and supervisors.


Take a few minutes and share experiences (direct or indirect) related to the topic at hand, no doubt it will be entertaining and valuable for our readers.


Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

Education Career Services:

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