They say we typically spend more time at work with our colleagues than in our homes with our families. Considering the average work day is roughly eight hours, this statement applies to many individuals who are apart of today's workforce. But what we fail to realize during those eight hours, is that there are eyes and ears wherever you go. This does not mean that there are necessarily spies with hidden microphones under your desk, cameras in the bathroom stalls and GPS trackers on your ID badges. What I am suggesting is something quite different. Bare with me as I elaborate further.
The phrase “The Walls Have Eyes” I learned on a college campus about twenty years ago. After it was explained to me in the context in which it was applied, it made perfect sense. What I came to realize later in life after entering the workforce, is that it also applied to various environments including our jobs.
We need to be conscious of our appearance.
Whether we know it or not, no matter who you are, when we initially meet someone, their appearance creates preconceptions about who we think they are without even getting to know them. Someone once told me,
“We should dress for the job we want and not for the one we have.”
We cannot expect to be awarded more opportunities in the future, if we dress for a job that requires less than where we are presently. A shirt and tie, tailored suit or a blouse and skirt may not be required on most jobs, but it is essential that we dress in clothing appropriate for our jobs.
You should look presentable enough so that if you are called into a meeting with members of your area or members from other areas of the company, you will not feel less of an employee than any other individual in attendance. It is important that you understand that there are managers, supervisors and executives that pay attention to how employees maintain their appearance on a daily basis. Keep in mind that this may not apply to every job out there, but there are many that it will.
Be aware of what you are saying.
Please be aware of what you are saying amongst those in your surrounding area. Everyone has had moments of frustration with a colleague or something in particular that has occurred at work. For example, it is not the best idea to be with a colleague on your team in an elevator with associates from another team airing out your grievances. One of the associates from another department could potentially be a manager that works closely with your direct manager. That moment of airing out of grievances, can easily escalate to a one-on-one discussion with your direct manager and even further disciplinary action, such as a written notice or even termination. So please, try to keep the moments of frustration to a minimum, off-site and reserved for non-work hours.
Mind your "Social Media" manners.
The final point concerns social media. Just about everyone is connected to some form of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram and many others. These tools can be very beneficial to us all if used in the appropriate manner. But if not, they can be a detriment to anyone one of us.
Heads up: When it comes to posting information on social media sites, please know that many, if not all organizations, now have departments that monitor what associates are saying and doing within these platforms.
Even though, in many cases, we use these applications for personal use, we have to keep in mind that the opinions or statements that we post will always be out there in the internet universe once we hit that “SEND” or “POST” button. There is no taking it back, as your post, becomes public knowledge at that point. It would be very sad for anyone to lose their employment and livelihood over a post on a social media site. If there is something that you feel is too controversial, potentially demeaning to another person, culture or organization or just simply negative in general, please do not post that information. Keep the explicit photos to yourself as well. It is not worth it. We have earned too many great opportunities to waste it all on minuscule items that don’t deserve our time or energy. Let’s keep all social media posts, shares and comments positive.
This information is based on my professional experiences and observations over many years. The lessons learned have served me well and have been key in the success of my career. By sharing these lessons learned, my hope is for you to use this knowledge to improve your chances for success, as we all continue to strive for excellence in the workforce.