Avoid mixed messages at work

I’ve been asked to comment on a number of interesting issues and they all fall under the category of sending mixed messages at work.

What do I mean about a mixed message? That would be behavior or clothing, or an attitude that indicates that you are seeking a sexual partner, or converts for your religion, or MLM customers instead of doing the job you were hired for.

If you intend to be well compensated for your work, you should act professionally and focus on what you are there to do. That doesn’t mean that you need to be stiff or unfriendly, it means that you use your social graces to get your job done, not to hit on, or seduce other employees.

You dress in a manner that shows you are there for business. Today that include jeans or khakis, but the basic rule is to dress so that your clothes represent the businesslike norm of the company. If the president and managers wear tank tops, then you had better follow suit.

If your peers wear polo shirts or white shirts, you should consider doing likewise. Even among geeks, where fashion sense is almost non-existent, the mode of dress, although occasionally disheveled, usually reflects a common sense of purpose.

Women wear a variety of outfits in larger companies, from casual geekwear to power suits. The appropriate outfit communicates a businesslike attitude about work. Dressing like Paris Hilton conveys something else entirely.

Inappropriate outfits are intended to be distracting and signal a lack of dedication to the tasks at hand. There are senior managers who respond to female employees in provocative outfits, but the long-term benefits are minimal. Guys showing off their bodies rarely make points when it comes to performance reviews.

There is usually time for social interraction on the job and this often makes a difficult job bearable. Networking with other employees provides you with valuable information and can often help you negotiate difficult assignments safely.

Office romances are a fact of life, but they can be quite destructive if they are entered into casually. Relationships between married and unmarried employees usually end with one or both being fired. Most companies require that married couples work in separate departments or separate divisions, for good reason.

The romantic relationships that seemed to work best were between people who were dedicated to their jobs and maintained a businesslike relationship while at work.

Work is not your life in most cases. It is what you do to feed and clothe your family. It is wonderful when work is so satisfying that you love doing it, but you will do best at work when you stick to business when working and avoid fondling, proselytizing or selling stuff to your fellow employees.

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