You would think that people would know that certain behaviors are out of bounds in business. I’ve never seen a manual for having common sense in business. Maybe it’s time to start writing one now. I recently heard yet one more story about doing something dumb at work. Maybe I’m assuming too much–and it has nothing to do with generational differences.
Let’s party dude! One engineer (yes, even they know how to drink too much) was new at his company. It was his first company meeting. At the reception, the young professional hadn’t seen so much free liquor since his college keg party days. This time the bar was filled with a lot better booze than beer. Despite having all his peers and management there, the free booze was too enticing. He drank too much and talked too much. When he finally staggered to his hotel room, he got sick and overslept the next day. When he staggered into the meetings hours late, it was as if all eyes were on him. Common sense tells you that at company functions, whether they are after 5 or not, are still company business. Behave yourself and stay away from the liquor if you can’t control yourself.
What did she say? The liquor control goes for spouses, too. At one holiday party, one professional’s wife had a little too much to drink. There was a Vice President who was new to the region and the party was his first introduction to the new team. He was a nice guy and was a little portly. Instead of having a polite conversation about his move and what he had seen in his short time in the new city, the spouse with a few drinks in her says, “Looks like you’re getting enough to eat.” Common sense would have spouses talking with each other before the party . They would discuss who will be there, names of spouses and a couple of tidbits of information about what each person does. A spouse can make your career or sink it pretty quickly as this one did.
Eating like a pig. I once worked with a guy who could have been a lifetime project for Miss Manners. At company functions (at mostly upscale restaurants) he ate as if he hadn’t been fed in months. Watching this guy shovel food into his mouth was the least disgusting thing he did, and his eating was pretty disgusting. He would first open the pepper shaker and spill half of it on his food. Then he would open the salt shaker and do the same. He made sure that he ordered way more food than he could eat because what he didn’t eat he planned on taking home. One time I observed him eating a bowl of mixed nuts. He picked out only the cashews and touched every nut in the bowl. Yuck! Common sense would be to understand that people avoid slobs. People with good table manners are much more promotable than those without them. They’re also more pleasant to eat with.
Whine without cheese. One woman worked on a project and it didn’t turn out the way she wanted it to. She began to complain about it to anyone who would listen. She didn’t miss an opportunity to share with others her dissatisfaction and complaints. Word got to her boss’s boss and she was told to stop it. Common sense would tell you that in business and in life, people don’t like complainers. Either do something about it or be quiet. In her case, there wasn’t anything to do. She needed to get over it and move on.