So, you’re coming into the office every day and killing it. You’re not only accomplishing an insane amount of projects, but you’re doing them all well. And, to top it all off, you leave at 6 PM every day at inbox zero. You don’t want to say you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to the company, but you also don’t want to lie.
There’s just one thing: No one seems to respect you—not your co-workers, not your boss, and not even the intern whose sole responsibility seems to be sucking up to his superiors. And this is weird because, well, see above. While your first reaction might be that you’re stuck working among a bunch of unfortunate ingrates, your second might be that maybe, possibly it’s you.
That’s never a great feeling. However, the good news is that if it is indeed you, you’re probably just committing a teeny, tiny, easily fixable workplace faux pas. With just a few adjustments, you can be back on track to being the most successful and the most respected person in the office.
1. You’re Always Late to Meetings
Your ideas might be brilliant, even game-changing, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t make it to that brainstorming meeting on time. Because now, rather than being able to focus on your revolutionary concepts, your colleagues are instead stuck being angry at you for sending yet another “Sry, running late” email.
Give yourself buffer time in your schedule in between commitments so that when meetings, calls, or projects run over their allotted time, it doesn’t affect anyone but you. (Also, read this.)
2. You’re Always on Your Phone
Yes, yes, it’s hard to put your phone down. There are emails to respond to, clients to follow up with, and witty emoji combinations to text to friends (a ghost followed by a hot dog!). But every time you look at that screen instead of looking at the person speaking, you’re telling him or her that you have more important things to be doing.
Stop bringing your phone to meetings. Seriously, just leave it at your desk. And when possible, ditch the laptop too and just bring a notebook. Nothing says, “I’m listening” quite like taking handwritten notes.
3. You’re Always Swearing
Look, I get it. There’s something somewhat exhilarating about letting a four-letter word fly when you’re frustrated in the office. But, if you’re consistently using these words to express yourself, the only thing the other person hears is, “I’m a rebellious 12-year-old stuck in the body of a grown adult.”
Make an effort to cut swear words out altogether. Yes, even after a long night of drinks. Force yourself to find alternative ways to show anger and excitement—and if that feels impossible, take Muse writer Aja Frost’s tips on how to cut words out of your vocabulary.
4. You’re Always Wearing Something Better Suited for a Frat Party
It doesn’t matter how casual your workplace may be, if you roll in at 9 AM looking like you got lost on your way to the dining hall the morning after a theme party, you’re going to get judged.
If you’re not sure if you’re crossing the line between laidback and “luau on the quad,” check out what your co-workers are wearing. Copy them (in style, not exact outfit). Let someone else be the guy who rocks sweatpants.
5. You’re Always Sending Incomplete Emails
While you’re fantastic at communicating updates and the like, you’re often working so quickly that your emails end up being half-complete and typo-filled. So, rather than the receiver thinking, “Awesome follow-up,” he or she’s stuck trying to interpret your message and responding back, “I think you forget to attach the file? Lol.”
Rather than rushing your work and attempting to get as many messages out, as soon as possible, take a moment to proofread your emails. Then, take another moment. There’s rarely anything so urgent that it can’t wait one minute.
6. You’re Always Away From Your Desk
So, turns out you don’t love sitting at your desk. You’d rather curl up on the couches, or grab a conference room, or start your mornings at home. That’s OK. However, if every single time a colleague passes your desk, you’re MIA, it doesn’t look too great for you—even if you’re off somewhere doing amazing work.
You don’t have to chain yourself to your chair, but you should definitely make sure you’re responding to emails and chat messages and staying in communication as much as possible. People are less likely to assume you’re at a leisurely three-hour lunch if you’re responding quickly.
7. You’re Always Telling Borderline NSFW Stories
Your social life’s the most fun. Also the most ridiculous. So, it’s only natural you want to share your stories with the people you spend 40 hours working alongside. The only thing is that they’re a little inappropriate (I know, your date made that vulgar joke, not you!), and more problematically, a lot unrelated to work. If the majority of words that come out of your mouth are about your wild ’n’ crazy life, your co-workers will assume you have a wild ’n’ crazy life moreso than they’ll assume you’re stellar at putting together an interesting statistic-filled presentation.
Make an active effort to discuss work (get ready for a novel idea) at work—be it about an upcoming project or industry news. You’re a well-rounded person, and you should show it. (And fine, if someone else brings up a PG-13 topic, you’re allowed to chime in.)
You’re good at your job, you care about your career, and you deserve to get a little respect around the office. Maybe even a lot. So if you find that’s not the case, you owe it to yourself to figure out why and then fix it.
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