Can't we all just get along: A few tips for cultivating workplace harmony

In honor of Labor Day, let's talk about the workplace.

For those unaware, OneChele is not a fan of Corporate America. I spent more years scraping and clawing there than I will admit to on this modest blog. I've been the receptionist, the cube dweller, and the chick in the corner office. My biggest beef with the paycheck plantation was that you could work (and work) and never own a darn thing. So it seemed as though my 90 hour workweeks were for the betterment of a company other than Brand OneChele. So I looked at it as a means to an end (hence the consulting company and now the writing).

The other issues I had with corporate life were the politics and personalities. People that you would NEVER befriend were now seated next to you for months on end, requiring you to chat and act interested as they share their life details with you. Folks that you wouldn't have walked across the street with are now your travelling companions to places you never wanted to go. All this being said, your work group is kinda like a big dysfunctional family. Every day is that Thanksgiving Dinner you're required to attend. So here are some rules of survival:

  1. Don't over share. This is your professional life people; don't drag the personal into it. Keep your political affiliations to yourself, your feelings about the last three American Idols, and the crazy Kama Sutra position you and your baby-boo tried last Saturday night.

  2. Cleanliness really is next to Godliness. You shouldn't overhear people referring to you as "Stinkbutt Larry" behind your back. Lysol or Clorox wipes are a workplace essential. Your keyboard and workspace should not reflect your last five meals. Also, invest in Altoids… Everyone should.

  3. If you are sleeping with someone in the workplace, someone else will find out and tell it. Seriously, if you have a work-wife or work-husband, folks are already looking at you sideways. An overnight trip is not an invitation to get your sidepiece swerve on. Stay in your lane.

  4. Don't get your feelings hurt if I don't come to Happy Hour every Thursday and Friday night. Just because I work with ya'll doesn't mean we have to be friends. On the corporate hustle, I will show up to the bare minimum of these events necessary to convince you all I am good people and promotable. On a related note, don't be that girl/guy who gets sloshed at the corporate picnic/Happy Hour/Team-building retreat. Grabbing asses and table top dancing rarely reflect well in your performance review.

  5. Please pay your portion when we all go out to lunch. First of all, the concept of "let's just split it" sucks. I am the girl who had a $5.00 lunch entrée and an iced tea, why am I paying for your seafood sampler? There is always one person who puts down a $5 after eating $12 worth of stuff. And they are usually the first person back to the office.

  6. Understand that no one loves your kids as much as you do. Yes, they are adorable. I can tell because you have pictures of them with Fluffy the cat all over your cube. Every time you take a new picture, we're all invited over to see your slideshow. Oh, I'm antisocial because I don't want to see Dakota, Jr. dressed as Bugs Bunny for Halloween?

  7. Karma is a B! in Corporate America, try not to step on folks on your way up or you will get kicked in the teeth on your way down. There's no glory in being known as the ### from hell. Really. Any affiliation with the Underworld is a negative.

  8. Brown-nosing just leaves you with sh*t on your nose. And who wants to be around poo-poo nose all day? No one. Your determination to keep your lips pressed to the executives rear end may net you something short term but in the long run… not a good look.

  9. Do not tweet "This meeting is so boring and my boss is an idiot" if your boss is following you on twitter. Similarly, if you and your co-workers are linked on LinkedIn, is it a good idea to update your resume weekly with the status update, "Someone get me outta here!" Also, the nekkid photos of you and some dude named Julio on your Facebook page were only "harmless" until your next employer saw them. Think Privacy Mode.

  10. Even if we are in cubes, respect the space. It's bad enough that I overhear your every phone call and digestive disruption (FAIL). Could you maybe not discuss your cousin Ray-Ray's probation hearing knowing eight people can hear you? Is it too much to ask that you save the boiled cabbage leftovers for the breakroom? My rule for cube living: pretend your life is a reality TV show where people see, hear and smell everything you do from 8:00 to 5:00. Think on it.

And since we're all post-racial here in BougieLand, I thought you'd appreciate this SNL skit starring Queen Latifah. Enjoy!

Any tips to share?