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Employee Handbook

There are some really basic things that I wish everyone was immediately taught when they entered the workplace. I should clarify immediately that these are not all things which I have encountered among my co-workers or clients. Some of them are actually about me. So in the unlikely event that any of my co-workers or clients find this and get annoyed that I'm saying you don't know things which you DO know - chances are that I am not actually talking about you.

When you answer the main phone, or someone else's phone, ask the name of the person calling, where they're calling from, and what it's regarding. You don't go find the person, and say "You've got a call," without being able to tell them what it's about or even who it is. If you're putting the call through to their extension, you need to talk to the person before just hitting transfer. And if they say they don't want to talk to the person just then, or they're busy, you go back and say "I'm sorry, they're not available right now, can I take a message?" And then you actually give the person the message. It doesn't matter if you're not a receptionist, if you're answering a phone, you do this.

Do not wear t-shirts with sexual innuendos on them to work, even in a casual workplace.

If you have a handy computer system which stores all kinds of useful details like phone numbers and invoice dates and project stages, you need to actually make sure you're putting that stuff into it, rather than not touching it and then complaining six months later when it doesn't have the email address for that person you met at that conference.

If you make a mistake, it's okay, tell the people who need to know ASAP, and find out what needs to happen to deal with it.

Your "browser" is the window you open to access the internet. There are different kinds. You should find out what kind you're using before you call tech support.

Use an email client which has threading. If someone sends you a file, and you reply, and they reply back and tell you to look at something in that file, you need to be able to access that file immediately, not ask them to send it to you again.

Read emails before you reply to them.

If you spot your co-worker over the weekend doing anything which makes you hesitant to stop them and say "Hey Joe, how are ya, see you Monday!", it is not appropriate to mention to them on Monday that you spotted them there. Do not say "Hey I saw you at that political rally / sex club / religious event / funeral, how'd it go?"

Always be polite and friendly. Never be rude to receptionists or support staff because you think they're "just" receptionists or support staff.

HR can actually be immensely useful.

Do not work with email campaigns late at night on a Sunday. Bad things will happen and you will want to quietly die.

If you haven't mastered the difference between "their" and "there", or you say "Pacific" instead of "specific", or you tend to use one full-stop for every hundred words, you need to have someone proofread important emails before you send them out. You also need to have someone proofread your proposals, and anything you're setting up as a form letter or auto-notification.

Your monthly purchase of whisky at the duty-free shop does not go on your expense claim, even if you're in the airport because of a business trip.

If a job advertisement asks you to send your CV and a covering letter, you need to send both of those things. In fact, you need to do all the things it says in the job advertisement, in the way it says on the job advertisement. If it says email it in, email it in. Do not "drop in" with a hard copy. Do not call the company to ask questions just to make it seem like you're taking some initiative, rather than because you actually have questions.

You get promoted out of the boring job by actually showing that you can do the work, not by complaining about how boring it is and how much more you could do.

If you ever find yourself telling people "that's not my job" even though you can do it and have time to help, don't be surprised when you never move up from that job.

If you're applying for a programming job and you have programming experience, you should probably put that on your CV.

You should not put your photo on your CV. Ever. Even if you look hot. Especially if you look hot.

If you're buying something from a company which sends quotes and invoices, the process is that they send you a quote, you accept it (usually with a Purchase Order) and then they send you an Invoice, which you need to pay. Invoices and Quotes are not the same thing, and if you need an Invoice to raise a Purchase Order, your system is screwed up. It's like asking for a receipt before you decide to buy the thing.

The quote will have had the payment terms on it and you accepted them when you accepted the the quote. If the quote and invoice say "Pay in 14 days" and you'd rather pay in 30, you still need to pay in 14, in the same way that you need to pay your power bill in the next month even though you personally would rather pay over the next year.

The fact that you deal with the billing and ordering licenses for your shiny software does not mean that you're the admin for that shiny software.

If you don't know what OS you're on - or what an OS is - you shouldn't be an Admin on anything.