From the moment the alarm beeps, you’re on the clock. Brush, floss, pull on your pants; it’s time for work. The days can mix together, a blur of clock ins and clock outs and mindless conversations over cubicle walls:
“We’re going on a coffee run! Want anything from Starbucks? I just love Starbucks, it clears my head and like, do you want a creamy, chocolate latte with light soy and coconut milk?”
Work can be mundane if you let it, but beware, trying to spice up the work place can have unintended consequences, and there are lines you just shouldn’t cross.
1. Never go on the coffee run
Do yourself a favor and avoid the caffeine-induced joy that comes with the daily grind. It’s a fact that colleagues will plan their entire day around this one moment of freedom, but don’t fall into the trap. Inevitably, the coffee run will turn into a gripe-session, laced with the personal elements that force friendships to blossom. Do you like those quiet moments of aloneness? Wave to them as they fly away if you accept the coffee run invitation.
2. Smile, but not too big
You don’t want to be that person, the one who comes up with cute nicknames for coworkers you haven’t truly bothered to get to know. You know, the one with the water cooler talk and the fake laugh even your mom would see through? Be genuine; smile, but not too big. How much do you really want to know about everyone? If you’re game, they’re game. Get ready for the baby shower invitations and the stolen moments to gossip about someone else. It’s all in the smile. Grin, lift a chin, and even fist bump, but watch how big you smile.
3. Avoid the personal prints
Tempting as it may be to print out the boarding pass for the next upcoming trip, avoid printing these items with the company printers. Anything can happen when a printer malfunctions. Maybe the paperwork gets jammed, or worse, the project gets stuck in that ink-less, toner-less printer limbo, and only surfaces when the repairman arrives. Personal details could be revealed to everyone if the job isn’t finished, or picked up, quickly enough. Want to stay a closed book in the work place? Then don’t print on the company printers.
4. Shmooze, but don’t become the teacher’s pet
The boss man or boss lady likes an employee with the initiative, but watch how far a relationship develops with the top people in command. A casual comment about a coworker could go horribly wrong; worse yet, the boss could like you so much that you get more responsibility. The days made under the radar, fiddling with your online timecard software could disappear if you show enough initiative.
5. Do not start your own Fantasy Football League
Not only does this little project leave you on the hook for all the cash dumped on your desk, but now you actually have to care about Sunday, Monday, and random Thursday night football games. Now you’re left watching, waiting, and monitoring your team, just hoping you beat Bill from sales.
The office is a petri dish of personalities, germs, and fruitless relationships. Consider your motives before embarking on your next business adventure, and for goodness sake, call out sick when the office goes on a retreat.