“Like, I was, like, going to like, register for like, a like, course, to like
take….” This is an honest to God sentence I heard at my gym this morning. The
woman was in her early twenties, and she was working with a trainer who costs
about $60 an hour. She must have a job and some money to afford the gym,
expensive workout clothes and a trainer. But who does she work for? How can one
get, let alone sustain, a job in this market where education reigns supreme and
ones’ ability to communicate is paramount.

If you haven’t already guessed, it was her use of the word ‘like’ over and
over again in every sentence that I found so irritating. Whether you are
embarking on a summer job search or job hunting because you’re ready to move up,
it’s a good idea to ‘hold the mirror’ to your own interactions with others and
take a look at how you might be perceived.

In my Respect in the Workplace workshops participants have
identified these behaviors as annoying, disrespectful and promotion busters:

  • Eating other peoples’ food out of the fridge
  • Leaving your dirty lunch dishes/cups on the counter or in the sink
  • Borrowing office supplies from someone’s desk without asking and not
    returning them
  • Interrupting someone who is on the phone because you think your needs are
    greater than theirs in that moment
  • Eating at someone else’s desk and leaving remnants of food
  • Chewing with your mouth open
  • Talking to me while I am on the phone and offering ideas for my conversation
  • Barging into a workspace or starting a phone conversation without asking,
    “Is this a good time?”
  • Women wearing low cut tops which leave nothing to the imagination
  • Flip flopping or shuffling through the office in beach shoe wear; a double
    whammy is unpedicured feet
  • Dirty clothing
  • Too much cologne or after shave and body odor and bad breath
  • Not getting to the point, rambling on and on
  • Gossip
  • Negativity
  • Whispering
  • Using an outside voice, inside
  • Speaking a foreign language in an English speaking environment
  • Monopolizing a conversation…Representing ‘Me Inc.’ all the time
  • Rude, crude language or dirty jokes
  • Squeaky bodily functions
  • Aggressively expressing personal preferences of religion and politics on
  • Always asking for donations to kids’ fundraisers, marathons or service club
  • Sneezing without covering your mouth
  • Putting people down using humour
  • Having no sense of humour
  • Not responding to emails or voice mail in a timely manner
  • Asking for an opinion or advice but never taking it
  • Repeatedly poor spelling and grammar in emails
  • Using slang and words like ‘crap’ or ‘thingy’ (or as I mentioned, peppering
    every sentence with ‘like.’)
  • Not doing what you say you are going to do when you say you will do it

The bottom line is, just because certain behaviour doesn’t bother you doesn’t
mean it is appropriate. If you work with someone whose behaviour is problematic
to you, either speak to the person and make them aware of what they are doing
and how it makes you feel, or learn to live with it. If you choose to confront
the person try using this non threatening script:

      When you…
      I feel …
      (Because)… not always necessary to use this


    So I’d appreciate if you would…

There is no guarantee of what will result but at least you have been heard,
just make sure you aren’t part of the problem.

Colleen Clarke

Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer


Author of Networking: How to
Build Relationships That Count
and How to Get a Job and Keep It