In business, and in life, there are rules. The most important of these rules are the unspoken ones that are simply implied. Knowing the unspoken rules will take you further in life and in your professional career.
Unspoken Rule #1
The rules apply to everyone. Know the official policies and guidelines in your organization, and accept that they do indeed apply to you. Sure, some rules will seem ridiculous and unfair. Chances are there is a reason they were put into place to begin with. Just because you know your jeans are designer brands that cost a small fortune, don’t assume that it’s OK to wear them if the policy says differently. Enjoy texting? Great, just make sure it’s within the guidelines of your organization to do so during work hours. Don’t try to change the system by being defiant about rules. You will be the one to lose in the end.
Unspoken Rule #2
Arrive to work on time and ready to work. At most companies it’s an actual written rule when to arrive. But, it’s unspoken that an employee will be ready to work at the start of that time. Gathering your coffee, eating breakfast, or even still dealing with wardrobe or grooming issues should be done at home, before you need to officially start your day at work. Too many employees today assume that if they are in the office, then “it counts” as being on time. That’s not quite the case.
Unspoken Rule #3
Err on the side of conservative, professional dress. Today, it’s not uncommon to have body piercings and tattoo art. Dynamic haircuts and loud colors are also in right now. However, you represent your company, your hospital, or your organization. How you appear can cost you career advancements. Ask yourself if it’s worth the risk and assume the unspoken rule is to be clean cut and traditionally professional. Most companies have policies established about appearance and it’s very important to know what these guidelines are.
Unspoken Rule #4
You don’t know everything. We live in a society that asks us to be confident in our work. Confidence does not mean you know everything or that you should act like you know everything. Your boss, manager, supervisors and even your co-workers have valuable insight. Being respectful is very important, but being humble is even more critical! If you are asked to do something that you don’t want to do, don’t argue about it. If you don’t understand something, then use a simple phrase like, “help me understand.” Asking questions shows your interest in learning and allows you to be better informed of the entire picture. Not knowing something isn’t a negative. It’s simply an opportunity to learn and become a more valuable team member.
Unspoken Rule #5
Don’t go around your immediate supervisor. If you have a connection with the boss of your immediate supervisor, do not try to use that to your advantage. We see this time and time again where an employee will disregard something their immediate supervisor will ask because they have a connection (family, friend, etc.) with someone higher up.
Unspoken Rule #6
Accept reality and know success will only come after hard work paves the way. Too many employees today feel they are worth $65,000+ right out of school, and have an expectation of a phone, laptop, and even expense accounts. The reality is very different. Nothing will be handed to you, so plan to work hard and earn it. In today’s market, top paying jobs are competitive and must be earned.
Unspoken Rule #7
Do one more thing each day than you think you should. Sure, you are hired to do a job. But, doing just what you are asked to do isn’t enough in today’s marketplace. Go a step further and improve how others view you by continuously going above and beyond basic expectations.
Unspoken Rule #8
Yes, it IS your job! Just when you think something is not your job, stop and correct yourself. Often we are asked to do tasks that fall into the “other duties as assigned.” When assigned something like this, a task you do not want to do, smile and get it completed. This goes back to rule number seven. Do the work, and do better than expected.
Unspoken Rule #9
Be present and leave the phones and other devices out of your work day. We live in a remarkable world of technology. It’s tempting to bring that technology to meetings and other work settings. However, know when this is, and is not, appropriate in your workplace. For example, if you are texting or emailing during a meeting, you appear to be unengaged and not able to complete the tasks being talked about. Since perception is reality, supervisors may find that to be poor work ethic. Consider this the next time you are reaching for your phone at work.
Unspoken Rule #10
Perception is reality. Take a good long look at yourself and your behavior. Do you complain a lot, or are you generally a positive worker? Do you do your job but grumble about the work, or do you gladly take on additional tasks? Are you punctual and well groomed? While these things may seem trivial to you, they create a picture that, for your employer, conveys a reality about you. You control how others perceive you, so take the lead.
It is our sincere hope that you are successful in your career and you can put some of these unspoken rules to good use. Please feel free to share these with your peers, staff, future employees. Hopefully you can help influence others in their quest for a strong career.
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