Tips on Learning Office Etiquette
Q: I worked in the health-care industry for 15 years as a geriatric nursing assistant, but I recently decided that my career wasnt paying the bills and went back to school for a B.A. in organizational management and communication. The problem is, I have never worked in an office setting and Im not sure how to go about learning etiquette, how to speak appropriately, etc. I thought that once I got a degree, everything would be self-explanatory, but it really isnt. Can you help?
A: First of all, good for you for having the forethought to be concerned about issues of conduct and etiquette. In fact, in the business world, more emphasis is placed on an individuals ability to make a strong first impression than her ability to get the job done. The good news is, once you understand what to do, its not complicated. Id check out some books on the topic (mine is called They Dont Teach Corporate in College) and also talk to some people already working in your new industry to get a sense of organizational culture and how you should prepare for interviews.
Q: One situation that you didnt mention in your recent piece on negotiation was: How do you negotiate your salary when youre being promoted from within, especially in a poor economy? I feel that employees who have potential to move up from their current roles are at a disadvantage with so many people vying for those plum positions.
A: Since you are being promoted, the assumption is that the position youre moving into already exists. This means that your human-resources department likely has a set salary range for it, and I would ask a representative about it. Even in a poor economy, a newly promoted employee is entitled to receive compensation at the bottom of this range. If there is no established range that you can present to your boss, then you should still ask for increased compensation to reflect your new responsibilities. The increase might not be what youd get in better times, though, so set a time to re-evaluate it in six months.
Q: I like your columns, but the people you feature have done such great things. I spent a huge part of my adulthood raising my children. Im happy with my life and now I have a part-time job with a local association that I enjoy, but sometimes I regret not doing more career-wise. Any suggestions?
A: While the people featured in Reinvent have indeed done inspiring things, remember that a 500-word column is not enough room to chronicle their life stories. Most of them have experienced career lulls and hardships in addition to their successes. If there is a particular profession youd like to explore now, then I encourage you to give it a shot. But please remember that raising healthy children and giving back to your community do constitute meaningful work, and if you have been happy doing these things, then in my opinion, you should have no regrets.
答：首先，你能有这个远见关心行为举止和礼节问题，这是好事。事实上在商场，人们更注重一个人是否能给人以深刻的第一印象，而不是能不能把工作做好。好消息是，只要你明白该怎么做，其实并不复杂。我会找一些这方面的书来看（我的书题为《上大学为了什么：职业规划从校园开始(They Dont Teach Corporate in College)》），同时跟已经从事你这个新行业的人谈谈，了解组织文化和你应当如何准备面试。
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