I’m leaving! Now what?

Cartoon from: http://www.cartoonchurch.com
You’ve given your two weeks and might be thinking, now what? Treating the last two weeks just as you treated the first two will leave you and your company in good positions. Be positive. Be friendly. Work hard.

Some people tend to slack off during the last two weeks. I suggest taking the opposite approach. Put forth extra effort. Make sure all of your projects are completed and as close to perfect possible. Assist in rewriting your job description and make sure to include the additional tasks you do daily (such as filling the printer with paper). Check in with the people you work with internally and externally and ask them what information they need to help transition someone else into your position.

Make your contact information available to only those who will need it or work directly with you (I’ll address the goodbye e-mail in a post next week). While you have left a detailed description of how to post a piece to the company website, the next person might not understand exactly what you meant. The option to contact you can relieve some of the stress. Make sure if they do contact you that you respond appropriately.

Leaving the company on a positive note doesn’t just solidify your reputation within the company you are leaving, but it helps leave a good impression should you need to contact the company again for references or any other reason.

While some people would suggest asking for a letter of reference from your boss as you are leaving, I disagree. Find a way to keep in touch and ask for a reference only when you need it.

Change is stressful for everyone. Doing what you can to relieve as much stress as possible for your co-workers and supervisor is the least you should do.

TMI at Work

Comic from: http://www.cartoonstock.com
Some people are great sharers. You will always know what they are thinking and feeling because they will tell you. Usually, I’m one of them. You’ll know where I stand on issues, topics and projects.

Then there are those people who share a little too much. I realize that bonding over ailments is something athletes (professional and recreational) do regularly. “A stress fracture, yikes, I’ve had one of those and here’s my story,” is a fairly common conversation during a run, in that context. Only. But telling me at work about your stomach issues, or other very personal maladies, will make even me uncomfortable.

There’s a great article from the CNN about 13 Things To Keep Private At Work. I emphatically agree with all the points.

Now, for how to address these all too common faux pas. If you notice your co-workers avoiding you or their body language indicates they are uncomfortable (blushing, leaning away, etc.) you might be over sharing. There are different bench marks for different topics. Such as would you tell a total stranger on the metro about your health issue? Would you let your children overhear you talking about your ex-wife that way?

I’ve found it is much better to err on the side of caution and share too little than too much. If the person wants to know more they’ll ask and if you are comfortable sharing, then go ahead. Otherwise keep your mouth shut.

Generations in the Workplace: How to Get Along

Comic from: http://www.spherioncareerblog.com/hot_topics
There seem to be a million books, articles and posts on this topic. While I don’t intend to devalue this topic, I’m slightly concerned that this is an ongoing issue. Shouldn’t just the act of being polite and respectful make “trying to get along” irrelevant?

My current co-workers range in age from just graduated college to closer to retirement than they want to admit. While we all have different methods and ways to get the job done, isn’t the main point that we all get the job done?

Is the problem really generational, or is it more communication or work style? In my office there are over-communicators (I’m one of them) and those who only give information on a need to know basis. I know some great multi-taskers that are not members of the Millenials or Generation X. I also know some Generation X people who couldn’t multi-task if they had to.

I think the solution lies in understanding how the people you work directly with daily want to communicate and get their work done. If your manager only gives information out on a need to know basis, asking a barrage of questions probably won’t help you. Additionally, if your manager can’t multi-task, letting him know that you have a question when he gets to a stopping point might be the best way to get his full attention. If you’re afraid you might forget your question, write it down!

There’s a great article here on Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees. It has helpful timelines and a chart of personality and workplace characteristics.

The main point is to be polite and respectful, even overly polite and respectful, of everyone you work with daily. If you just follow that, I believe the generational differences will be minimal.

Dress Code

From: http://icandressmyself.blogspot.com
I really should have touched on this topic sooner! I love work clothes. In fact, at the moment I only own a single pair of jeans.

I’m lucky to work in a true business casual environment. This pretty much means no jeans, gym clothes, t-shirts or tennis shoes. Basically what you would wear to church is ok. The exact outfits I am most comfortable in.

How each person defines business casual seems to keep our Office Manager pretty busy. We have an outdated description in the handbook, but it refers to panty hose and beard length, two items no one seems to care that much about anymore. Some people push the limits and wear skirts of an inappropriate length or shorts that are not work appropriate. Me, I try to err on the side of caution. I love twin sets and wear them regularly with dress pants.

Unlike in elementary school when it was super cool to wear the exact same thing as your best friend, it is not super cool to do that at the office. Even unintentional, I’ve found it makes for a bit of an awkward day.

My work bestie and I have a way around this. Since we tend to wear the same outfits, we let each other know when we plan to wear a particular paring (this week it is because I still have not caught up on laundry from our vacation). For instance, I mentioned I was planning on wearing grey pants and a black shirt on Thursday. At first everyone around us laughed, but now they know our discussions are to ensure we don’t wear the exact same thing on the exact same day.

Dress codes vary by office. What goes as business casual in one environment can be too dressy in another. My suggestion is to overdress for the first week or so until you have a good read on what is acceptable. No one ever got sent home to change because they were too formal!

p.s. Ladies, my favorite site for getting new ideas for work outfits is Work Chic. I highly recommend it!