30 May 2012

Professionalism: where do YOU stand?

My least favorite thing about work is this: never quite knowing what is appropriate. This is my first job of any kind, let alone an office job, and I have no idea what to call people. I've stuck with first names so far and that seems ok; everyone else calls each other by first name, so this makes sense.And then what can I wear? I'm decently attractive and female, so my heels can't be too tall, not too much makeup, not too much jewelry, absolutely no cleavage, or suddenly I'm not being "profesh". Or am I just oversensitive? Being afraid of being negatively judged makes every glance seem like a condemnation.
Then, there's the worst thing of all- what can I say? I know these people decently well; or, at least, the people they are at work. They ask about my weekend, and where do I draw the line? How much can they stand to hear about me sitting at home watching movie after movie with my parents? If we talk about tattoos, can I talk about my ideas for new ones? Too personal? Is that even more personal than the ink I actually have?
It's so frustrating to be learning a new professional situation and have to be simultaneously feeling out an entirely new social climate. I want to be friendly, because I genuinely like my coworkers, and I want them to like me. However, I don't want to be overly personal; but then, I don't want to be some kind of ice queen. Why does the line have to be metaphorical?? Can't there be a physical line for office etiquette? I'm a good kinesthetic learner, so if I had to actually go stand across the line whenever I commit a faux pas, I think I'd understand this much better and much more quickly.
Advice appreciated on this one! Remember, I work for NPR; they don't keep us too caged up around here.

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