Working in cubicles there are certain unspoken etiquette rules that you can only hope your cube mates will abide by. For example if your going to eat something for lunch with a strong odor eat it in the café, use headphones when listening to music, don’t have awkward loud personal phone calls, find an empty office or go outside. Everyone has probably done at least one of those things at least once. I am not referring to the occasional offender I am talking about dealing with someone who does these things regularly.
I use to have a coworker (who I dubbed The Hummer) that liked to hum while he worked. The Hummer would hum all day long, in a high pitch, and very loudly. I can not sufficiently explain how annoying this was. The Hummer was new to the company so I had not yet built a rapport with him in order to feel comfortable saying, “Hey your humming is annoying please stop”, our office is so open and the humming was so loud that I felt for sure someone else would say something, if I held out long enough. I didn’t want to be a jerk to the new guy.
Everyone complained to each other about The Hummer, some people even went to HR (yes they went to HR!), but no one said anything to him directly. HR spoke to The Hummer but that didn’t stop the humming. Eventually the people closest to his vacinity were able to move to other cubes, of course that didn’t include me. I finally went to him and ask that the humming stop as politely as possible. Unfortunately that was a waste of time, I had peace and quiet for the rest of the day and things were better for the rest of the week, but then they got progressively worse and eventually back to normal.
Now if this was a friend or family I would just tell them to be quiet when the humming started. Instead I suffer in silence as the Hummer happily hums the day away.
Self promotion is a valuable skill to have and when done well can lead to promotions and a successful career. Most of the time if you don’t shed lite on your hard work it will go unnoticed. Letting the right people know the time and effort you put in t contribute to the success of the company can benefit you when the time for raises and promotions comes around. That being said there is a fine line between self promotion, bragging, and being annoying.
I have had co-workers that feel the need to tell me what time they arrived at work and what time they left the previous day. Some how this comes up on a daily basis whether or not its relevant to the conversation we are having. This is annoying because I don’t care! I am not her supervisor or subordinate we are on the level, and I don’t have any control over her raise or promotion. This person was also annoying because she was the office gossip and a human time clock. She knew exactly what time everyone else arrived and left work and spread the word about people she felt were not meeting the standard hours. I work in an office with flex hours. Meaning people usually wonder in between eight a.m. and nine a.m. and leave between five and six p.m. Of course the go getter is arriving at seven a.m. and leaving at seven a.m.
Her other form of self promotion was to let everyone know how extremely busy she was. I learned the hard way not to ask my usual casual “How are you doing”, because she would go into a rant of how overworked she was and the long hours she was working blah, blah, blah. I would think to myself I don’t care! This same person if leaving early for the day has to let everyone know why they are leaving early (most likely to go to some work related networking event) and that they will be working from home later that day to make up hours. Once again I am not their boss and I don’t care! Its different if these things come up in conversation, but when its thrown out there as if to cover themselves its annoying.
Now this may seem a little callous, but from my experience there are two types of over worked employees; the reluctant over worked employee. This person is one of the very few competent employees and they get work piled on them from all sides. My heart goes out to these people and I feel for them. Then there is the employee climbing the corporate ladder and looking for ways to be noticed and prove themselves. In the second case being “over worked” is self-inflicted. The constant complaining about long hours and all the projects that are being piled on them, is their way of saying look at me look at me I am doing an awesome job. There hope is that word spreads about the long hours and how awesome they are.
In most cases the type two “over worked” employee went into their manager’s office made their intentions clear on their career path and where they wanted to be in the next six months to a year. At that point the manager would have given them a list of “these are the things you need to do to get to the next level”. I don’t have sympathy for these employees and don’t care to hear their self promotions. They drank the corporate Kool Aide, are asking for more work and then complaining about it.
There is also the self promoter that is a bluffer. These people I don’t understand, because they will put in the face time and stay in the office ten plus hours but are either very inefficient at what they do or don’t do anything close to the volume of work they are proclaiming. I would personally rather be home than at the office pretending to work. The self promoter once came by my desk to talk and again talked about how many hours she had worked during the week and on the weekend and how busy she was and would continue to be for the foreseeable future. Then she proceeded to take personal phone calls for the rest of the day. How busy are you really if you are spending two plus hours on the phone for a personal calls.
Self promoting is important, but I think a better way to do it is by being positive. Discussing the projects your working on with enthusiasm will work better than complaining about how many hours your working. It also helps to promote yourself to the right people. Make sure your manager and the decision makers know that your working hard and more importantly providing results and pushing the company mission forward.
I started this blog as a way to vent my frustrations with working in the corporate world. Relatively speaking I have been part of the corporate work force for a short time, a mere six years. Six years and with three companies, that’s an average of two years per company. I find that six months into each job I am no longer the new person and have to figure out how to navigate the office political arena. This is the most frustrating part of any job. Which is why I am planing my escape from Corporate America as we speak. Until then I hope this blog is entertaining. Feel free to leave a comment and vent as well.