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The unwritten rules of the workplace

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Have you ever been at work and discovered something that you really wish you’d known about? And then, when you do find out about it, you realise it could have been the one thing standing in the way of your career advancement the whole time.

Alright, so maybe some of these unwritten work rules are more important than others – but it doesn’t change the fact that these things matter – and they might matter to your boss.

Some of these unspoken rules come from Reddit, others are ones we’ve experienced or thought up ourselves.

1. Do what you said you were going to do. Or, if you can’t, tell someone

Don’t be that person who says, “Oh, I forgot. I actually couldn’t do that in the end because I got too busy.” That person is never getting promoted.

2. If someone is doing you a favor, don’t complain if they’re not doing it fast enough or “your way.” (via Reddit [-]YogaPantsAficionado)

In other words, be grateful for the help or do it yourself.

3. Only talk when you can improve silence. (via Reddit [-]KingKryptonite)

I’m looking at you, annoying person in company meetings who feels the need to talk just so they can hear their own voice/attempt to sound authoritative/remind people they work there.

4. Only ever get as drunk as your boss, or don’t get drunk at all

There is an extremely fine line between getting drunk enough to become your boss’s best friend… and getting drunk enough to get fired and lose his or her respect.

5. If a person goes from engaged in a conversation to apparently disengaged (turning body away from you, short uninformative answers) this person wants out of the conversation and you have already blocked the polite attempts to exit. (via Reddit [-] zazzlekdazzle)

Body language is everything. If you don’t know how to read it, learn.

6. Let people out the elevator before getting in

This is just called being polite. It also goes for all you commuters on the MRT. STEP ASIDE, PEOPLE.

7. If you have a complaint, make sure you have a solution

If you have a solution to something you don’t like at work, you look innovative and forward-thinking when you bring it up.

But if you simply complain because something is pissing you off, you just become the office’s resident whiner.

8. It might be company policy, but it’s not always company culture

For example, company policy might say you’re allowed flexible working hours and are free to roll in at 12pm and leave at 3pm a couple of days a week.

But if no one’s doing it, even though they’re allowed, then clearly it’s not really the way to get ahead in your company.

Got more unwritten rules to add to these?

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Rebecca Lewis
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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