30 Unspoken Work Rules That Everyone Should Know, According To The Internet
When you start a new job, it helps immensely if you have a veteran show you the ropes. It’s also a massive boon to your career if you can get your hands on a clear list of expectations the company has for you. But no matter the business, there are some subtle workplace rules that are practically universal and can fit nearly any industry—like avoiding trash-talking others, being polite to everyone, using up all of your vacation days, and keeping a paper trail.
One redditor turned to the r/LifeProTips online community’s members, asking them to share some of the most important unspoken rules in the workplace that everyone should know. We’ve collected the top ones that are bound to come in useful at your own jobs, Pandas. Scroll down to check them out and upvote the ones you agree with the most.
We were interested to learn more about the role that gossip plays at the office and what to do if someone's talking about you behind your back, so we reached out to workplace expert Lynn Taylor for comment. According to her, gossiping at work can be a slippery slope. Taylor is the author of the book 'Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant' and runs a popular blog on Psychology Today. You'll find our full interview with her as you read on.
If you see someone eating lunch by themselves quietly for the love of god don’t take it as an opportunity to talk their ear off. Lunch time is personal time.
In 20 years your family will remember all the overtime you worked but nobody from the companies will.
That person who tells you the most interesting “news” from around the office is the last person with whom you should discuss any of your personal business!
Bored Panda wanted to know what the role of gossip in the workplace is and workplace expert Taylor was kind enough to shed some light on the topic. "On the one hand, you may pick up some insider information about the direction or status of the company or a department. On the other hand, the office is a very small, interconnected, and interpersonal entity. What you say can easily get back to the person you’re talking about," she explained to us via email.
"Add to that the fact of gossip may not be fully based in reality. Gossip travels fast, but may not always be reliable. If you ever played the game, 'telephone' as a child, you know the original story never resembles itself by the time it’s passed along to the 10th person," she warned. "The key is knowing how to discern potential valuable insight that directly relates to the business or your job… from personal gossip. The personal chatter can be a distraction or color how you view your coworkers."
Taylor advises employees to take everything they hear with a grain of salt and not become part of the rumor mill themselves.
Write every email as if you were to read it out loud in court.
We are not actually a family.
The author of 'Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant' also shared some practical advice on how to "avoid becoming easy prey for office tattlers." First of all, employees should ensure that they're not part of the grapevine themselves. Next, they should keep a firm grip on what they talk about.
"Avoid sharing too much personal information with your officemates. If there is no 'content' available, then there is no gossip. You can still make friends at the office, but choose wisely—with people you trust."
Meanwhile, if someone repeatedly talks about you behind your back, try having a conversation with them. Keep it frank but private. "Let them save face by telling them you doubt this rumor came from them—but that you needed to clear the air so it doesn’t go any further," the workplace expert told Bored Panda.
If you didn't cook it or buy it yourself, it ain't your damn lunch!
"Of course, you run the risk that your diplomatic reprimand can be part of the rumor mill again. And that’s why it’s easier to mitigate office gossip about you with a little prevention. Hold your personal cards closely and try to avoid getting into the fray," Taylor said.
"Oftentimes, the biggest office gossipers are looking for others with whom they can commiserate. You’re best served by remaining neutral. Try your best to stay in an observation versus participation mode."
On the whole, gossip in the workplace is unavoidable. However, you can restrict how widespread it is and whether people focus on trash-talking others or have a more positive attitude on sharing information. According to SHRM, one of the dangers of gossip is that it erodes trust and morale in the office. It also leads to lots of wasted time and lower productivity.
Meanwhile, if employees know that someone gossips about everything and anything that they say and do, they might feel more anxious. What’s more, they might not know which rumors are true and which aren’t. Gossip can also end up hurting people’s feelings and reputations, and can lead to friction between colleagues.
You get paid to get on with your team mates. You don’t have to like them, but you have to try your best to get on with them.
HR is not your friend. Source: I am HR.
I am not your friend, I sometimes would like to be, but it would be like a doctor dating patients. I view us as being on the same team and want to win together and am focused on how to help us all win. I am rare... again, HR is not your friend.
If everything is an emergency, then nothing is an emergency.
However, Indeed points out there’s a difference between whether someone intends to spread gossip on purpose or simply exchanges information about the situation at work. Gossip can be positive if someone, say, compliments a coworker. On the flip side, gossip that is meant to exclude someone can contribute to a toxic workplace environment.
If you find out that you’re the subject of your coworkers’ gossip, you can politely ask them to stop. Try to keep calm and cool as you do this. If that doesn’t work and the malicious gossip continues to spread behind your back, talk to your manager and explain the situation to them. Alternatively, speak to your human resources rep—they probably have a lot of experience navigating interpersonal conflicts and can mediate the situation.
Always assume everything you say will be repeated to someone else, even when you’re on the phone in your office with no one else in there. Walls are thin. Don’t gossip, ever. That can make your work life miserable REALLY quickly.
If you work in an environment where you replace other workers (Eg a hospital), arrive on time. My time is just as important as yours. You might not think that arriving 2-3 minutes late is an issue, but I become irrationally angry when this happens. You’re taking MY time now…
It’s not all black and white, though. An expert in the psychology of gossiping, Elena Martinescu, a research associate at Vrije Universitetit Amsterdam, told BBC Worklife that she believes gossip is generally a good thing. “According to evolutionary theory, humans have developed gossip in order to facilitate co-operation in a group,” she said.
She states that gossip helps people understand “which colleagues one can trust and who one should be careful with.”
Meanwhile, management professor Matthew Feinberg, from the University of Toronto, told the BBC that most gossip is benign, though damaging forms of it certainly do exist. Moreover, management professor Shannon Taylor, from the University of Central Florida, pointed out that the main purpose of gossip is to help employees make sense of their environment.
Always drink two non alcoholic drinks before starting in with any alcohol at any work social functions. Give everyone else a head start so you never become the drama discussed the next day. Or don’t drink at all.
Pizza is not a raise. Do not be bought out by pizza and think everything is okay
Don't send any bad news or criticising emails after 2pm on a Friday. The other person can't do anything about it except worry all weekend, and that sucks. Save it for Monday
No one is a rock star and we’re not having a meeting in the war room. We sell software Carl.
Nobody is there because they want to be. Everyone has something or someone they’d rather be spending their time with. Everyone is just paying their bills and goes through the same motions you are. Be sensitive to everyone’s time and work.
Don’t give details about why you are sick or going on vacation when asking your manager for time off. They do not need to know in order to determine whether or not you can take the time off. People love judging if your time off is “worthy” so don’t give them the chance. You also can report a manager to HR if they deny sick time (at least in the US, I’ve seen people fired over this)
If you are being trained for a position accept the training. If you act like you already know it all (even if you do) people won’t share the little things that may be unique to that situation that make things easier.
Treat new hires with respect. One of them might end up your superior sooner than you know.
if you're a woman, don't bring treats in/set up lunches/throw parties and events unless the men are doing it too, or you'll turn in to the office mom/caregiver and that hurts your career prospects. I followed this rule staunchly for a while, then gave in a few times, and now my boss comes to me for all of it, even though there are plenty of men on the team that could do it but don't or won't. Even after pointing out to my boss that he does this, and him realizing how that looks, he still defaults to me.
Please don’t be that person that cuts your nails at your desk.