I started a new job in a completely new place and I want to be the best colleague I can be. What are some tips or commonsense things for me to remember and internalize about appropriate workplace behavior?
At past jobs, I've been an asshole. I would gossip, take sides, make friends, make enemies, make inappropriate jokes, get too personal, be too distant, interrupt people, slack off in meetings, use social media at work, be really negative, the whole nine yards. It's immensely humiliating to remember that I've been such an insufferable colleague in the past. When I'm outside of work, I'm a sensible, diplomatic and mature person, but when I'm surrounded by the characters that show up in your typical workplace
, I can't seem to rise above it and I revert to my behavior in my high-school burger flipping gig rather than that of a 30-ish white-collar professional. I feel like workplace politics represent a void in my social understanding and I want to fix that.
What are some tips or commonsense things for me to remember and internalize about appropriate work behavior? How do I identify and recover from a faux pas? How do I straddle the line between distant and too-familiar when it comes to socializing with my colleagues? I'm at a web firm and it's expected that I continue using social media if I want to be on the best terms with my immediate team, so tips on how to behave online are also welcome. For example, I need to learn to stifle potentially-offensive non-sequiturs in my tweets, especially now that my colleagues have friended me.
I welcome ideas from every situation (surely everyone has dealt with someone like me in the workplace), but specifically, I'm female and work mostly with men on a 4-5 person team within a 15-20 person department. (Gender matters: I've had problems in the past with colleagues who think I'm flirting just because I make jokes with them in the room. Do I need to go humorlessly G-rated if I want to be taken seriously?)