We learned so much from Ernestine, didn’t we? She taught us how to behave in the workplace… be tough, but use humor at the most crucial time (when you actually want to beat the tar out of someone). She taught us that we need to wake up, get up, dress up (making certain you have earrings and a matching bracelet), and show up to work on time! We also learned that it’s okay to snort on occasion during a conversation and laugh at the appropriate time. Thank you, Ernestine!
When Ernestine’s job phased out, they introduced her to a computer and put her in a cubicle with enough room to turn your chair exactly one half turn in two directions, but not enough room to stretch your legs out in front of you. She no longer worked for the telephone company, but for a health insurance company. The building was in downtown Wichita, Kansas and she worked on the 6th floor.
Wait… that’s not Ernestine – that’s me. Okay – we’re talking about me and my job.
How do we take our manners to work with us? I’m so glad you asked. I happen to have made a list. I made this list a few years ago, long before I retired. I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share it – and it seems the opportunity has present itself, so… here it is.
- Whether you got up on the right side of the bed or not is unimportant… you must begin by looking at yourself in the mirror and practicing your smile. Good manners in the workplace begin with a good attitude, and a good attitude depends on your view of yourself. It’s true! If you like you, then it follows that others will like you too! I’m not advocating the self-love, can’t get enough of myself junk that hit songs are made of these days – NO. I’m just saying a healthy self-esteem is a step in the right direction, that’s all.
- Pray about the coming day. I hear you saying, “I don’t have time for devotions in the morning – I have to get to work!” Did I say anything about having actual devotions in the morning? If you happen to be a disciplined person who gets up and hour earlier to accommodate that into your routine, then good for you. For the rest of us… pray while you’re in the shower – God hears you there too, you know! By the same token, if you get up early enough to take a jog or a run or a skip around the neighborhood – you are disciplined enough to take care of your physical body… doesn’t your spiritual self deserve some time too? Jus’ sayin’…
- Be geared up to have a great day, but be prepared for worst case scenario. Don’t let anything blind side you. Remember who you are and that regardless of what happens, God loves you. People do not always love you, but that’s not in their job description. Let’s face it, we don’t pick our family and we don’t pick our co-workers. These are just people who need to make money. That’s the only reason they are there – just like you. Don’t expect to make friends. If you do make friends, that’s a bonus!
- I had a pet peeve about elevator etiquette. If you think about this rationally, it makes sense. When you get to work and need to get in the elevator to get to the 6th floor, it’s okay to push the button and stand there – that’s fine. But don’t stand right next to the doors of the elevator! If there are folks inside the elevator who want to come down to the 1st floor, they will need to have some space – give them room to exit the elevator before you get on! For Pete’s sake, don’t just charge into the elevator right after the doors open! It made me cray cray when someone would do that and I’d be trying to exit with some degree of decorum and integrity intact.
- Don’t talk about anybody ever… gossip is not pretty in a family, in a church, or in a workplace. It’s dangerous territory – do your best to rise above the temptation. It is tempting because some people can make you nuts, but keep that information to yourself. A better idea is to just pray for the ones who grate on your nerves. Funny thing, but once you start to pray for them, you don’t dislike them so much and sometimes you begin to understand them better.
- It’s perfectly fine to speak cordially to co-workers, but to stand around and chit-chat and laugh and carry on is rude and annoying to others. It’s distracting when some are trying to think about – you know, work.
- Be available at break time or at lunch for co-workers. Some ministry doors have been opened to me at work. It’s amazing how much you can share with a co-worker about your faith over a Wendy’s burger.
- Did you know that when you’re talking on the phone with a person, when you smile, they can HEAR that you’re smiling? It’s weird, but it’s true. Genuine courtesy is refreshing. We’ve all met people who seem fake and robotic where courtesy is concerned. Work on making common courtesy a part of who you are as a person. With a little preparation and thoughtfulness, you can be a person with genuine courtesy. It’s still better to give than to receive and to think of others before yourself.
So like Ernestine, we can go to work all scrubbed up and spiffed up, with our smile, sense of humor and manners on board. Have a GREAT day! 🙂