Top Breaches of Net Etiquette at Work

Etiquette at Work Admit it -- you know you've done it at least once: Written a long e-mail complaining about a co-worker, project or even your boss, then hit the "send" button, and realized you sent it to the very person you were griping about. Or maybe you were checking your messages during a meeting, and inadvertently exclaimed so loudly over something that everyone stops and stares at you. These could be deadly faux pas, according to a recent HR managers survey from Robert Half

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For the survey, the HR managers were asked, "To what extent, if any, can technology etiquette breaches -- for example, sending e-mail messages to unintended recipients, checking e-mail on a Blackberry during meetings, etc., adversely affect a person's career prospects?" Sixty-one percent of them responded that these breaches could affect them "somewhat,: and only 23 percent said "not at all." Fifteen percent said the breaches would affect them "greatly."

"Etiquette breaches, such as paying more attention to your smartphone than the people you're meeting with, can make others feel less important and cause you to miss information," said Brett Good, senior district president of Robert Half International. "Other mistakes, such as sending a confidential e-mail to the wrong person or impulsively posting an offensive comment on Facebook or Twitter, can have more serious, career-impacting consequences."

In their new guide, 'Business Etiquette: The New Rules in a Digital Age,' the experts at Robert Half give labels to the most common offenders, and tell us how to avoid becoming one. Among them are:

  • The Venter. That's the tattler -- the indiscreet person who can't resist the opportunity to complain about work, and post job-related gripes on their Facebook pages, on Twitter -- even on personal blogs and in comment forums after related news articles. Also, whenever they send an e-mail, it's usually negative. Advice: If this is you, you should follow your granny's advice of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all." Keep the negativity to yourself and only put supportive, upbeat comments out there. If you must vent, do it verbally, in private, with someone you trust -- and don't write it down.
  • The Noise Polluter. That's the person who is always shouting into his cell phone, no matter where he is or who he's with. He'll take a call or make a call anywhere, and never goes outside to finish it. Whether in a meeting or at a colleague's desk, he freely takes and makes calls, oblivious to his surroundings. It's nearly impossible to concentrate or carry on a normal conversation when he's nearby. Advice: If you're guilty of this, set your phone to silent mode at the office so it doesn't bother anyone, and if you must answer, take personal conversations outside or behind closed doors.
  • The Cryptic Communicator. This person relies on texting shorthand for every type of correspondence, and sometimes even verbal conversations. Strange or informal abbreviations, bad punctuation, and spelling and grammatical errors leave people confused and dismayed. Advice: This person should simply slow down, and not assume anyone knows any text abbreviations. The extra time it takes to spell things out will be well worth the appreciation of colleagues.
  • The Pop-Up Artist. While others are trying to complete assignments, this chat fanatic insists on sending inane instant messages, tweets or texts. All day long and into the night he sends pings and pops with banal, non-urgent messages that people learn to ignore, causing trouble when there's actually something important to convey. Advice: Make sure you only send IMs, tweets or texts when it's important and urgent. No more cutesy messages for you. Why not try paying attention to completing your own projects, rather than constantly sending people status reports on them? For most people, e-mail is immediate enough.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Editor

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

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dave

I recently bought a new cell phone at my local Sprint store. Since it was a much more advanced phone than my previous one, I was happy to be offered the Sprint "Ready Now" service -- a brief tutorial by the sales rep on using the new phone. But the guy kept answering his own cellphone throughout the lesson, to ask me each time he finished, "Now where were we." I got so disgusted that I finally replied, "Here's where we are, keep your phone." The clueless d*bag actually seemed shocked, not a shred of remorse over his rudeness.

February 17 2011 at 5:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruth

People who need to be on cell phones constantly irritate me to no end!
Every time I go to the supermarket...you see the aisles lined with people
talking on their cells...as they stroll thru th aisles ....WHY would anyone
need to chat while shopping? Even see this at check aisle lanes....ridiculous!

BUT WHAT I REALLY REALLY HATE IS: PEOPLE WHO END EVERY CALL WITH
"I LOVE YOU"........this is so personal...esp. hearing it at the workplace..
I had one co worker who ended every call with her constantly interupting
mate...with 'I LOVE YOU'.....do i really need to hear this?

Americans are spoiled brats who think they must be communicating 24/7
either by cell , texting...twittering.....FOR GOODNESS SAKE...GROW UP!

February 17 2011 at 4:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BP

You can have alot of fun with one of those cell phone jammers.

February 17 2011 at 3:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denizio

I'm watching a baseball game on TV and I see a guy on the 3rd base line on his cell phone. Leave it alone! Hang up and watch the game. unbelievable.

February 17 2011 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Denizio

A sales manager I worked for made you turn off pagers, cell phones and blackberrys as soon as you came in the meeting room, and if a cell phone rang at the meeting, the owner was fired on the spot.

February 17 2011 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Cell phone manners? No such animal-

February 17 2011 at 12:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Cell phones seem to be the new gold chains-and believe me, you look just as ridiculous. I once sat in traffic school with a guy who had run through a school zone at 10 over the limit-that's a $980.00 ticket in Utah-because he was distracted by that cell call he just couldn't wait to make. To show you how important this moron thought he was, and how some people just don't get it, he actually answered his phone in the middle of the class! And here's the hat trick: he gave the instructor a dirty look when he was told to put it away. If ever there was a poster boy for this article, it's that guy. Too bad the instructor would have gotten fired for forcibly inserting that phone in the ultimate hiding place-I'm sure we all would have helped hold the guy down.

February 17 2011 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

Cell phone manners are an incredible imposition on other people; in line at stores and banks, in restaurants and other public places, not to mention while driving and endangering other drivers which is illegal in most states. I don't understand why someone would want to start a conversation in a doctor or dentist's office. I think they are trying to look "important."

February 16 2011 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R42Eklund

I finally had texting turned off on my phone. When I'm with a customer I don't want to be interupted. If I have to take a call I excuse myself and leave the area. Sorry, if you really need to talk to me you might have to wait.

If someone working for me thinks that a tweet or an IM is more important than the job they are doing for me then I don't need them working for me.

My wife has one of the phones that does the text thing, 99% of the messages are nonsense and in no way related to what she is trying to do at the moment. Call me anti-social, but I don't think there is much that's so important that I really must know it right now.

February 16 2011 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

I'd prefer it if you stuck around while taking your personal calls so that if I need you I can find you. As soon as my co-worker steps out, calls for him start pouring in.

February 16 2011 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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