Oct 23, 2012

Navigating the Work Climate

You've completed a job search, updated/drafted the resumé, had to wait for an interview, gone to it, and now have a new position. I skipped an entry about how to conduct yourself during an interview because there are already a ton of websites out there. But, I'm now sharing some advice based on my experiences in a variety of positions over the last few decades, and most of them are common sense, plus based on the company handbook if you bother to read it...

Okay, very basic common sense, but regardless what your new position is, some suggestions from having all of these positions. "FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT" is what people notice when you show up for work and how you will be judged. This includes your immediate supervisor, but also each and every co-worker or customer/client that you come into contact with. And people "talk." Welcome to the grapevine of gossip chain. They do affect your future, but only if you let it.

Manual Labor / RetailMixed (labor / office)Office
Body Clean, odor freeClean, odor freeClean, odor free
Hair (on your head) Clean, brushedClean, brushedClean, brushed/styled
Facial Hair (men) Company policyShaved / trimmedShaved / trimmed
Clothes Uniform (if company policy)
Non-offensive otherwise
Company policyCompany Policy
Breath Clean teeth, odorless Clean teeth, odorless Clean teeth, odorless

What I'm getting at by the table above, is that your body should smell good each and every day that you show up for work, hair should be clean and at least brushed (if not gelled into a current style), face should be smooth, clothes should fit the position accepted, and above everything else, breath should be fresh. It may take gum or a spray, but everybody encountered shouldn't be offended by the cigarette/onions/or the drink from the late last night used to talk to them.

I operated a manual labor business as a contractor by following these suggestions. I got more customers because they "felt" that I was more respectable than the competitors. I worked in the auto body industry because I adhered to company policy, but wasn't restricted by fixing a Corvette by sanding it by hand. I was in management because I wore ties that appealed to my supervisors. I adapted to the field that I was in, and strove to achieve the pay check and bonuses because of HOW I ACTED. Impressions are important, find out what policies are in the handbook for your company, ask questions, and always dress for success.

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