Off the Clock or Not?

We have all listened in on other people’s conversations at one point in time. You could be sitting alone and you can’t help but hear the conversation that is going on at the other table. It could make for interesting entertainment if you are alone especially if you have to cover a smile or stifle a laugh because it tickled your funny bone. But what is your opinion when you hear out right damaging insults and rants about a person, or company? I bet you feel awkward and uncomfortable. Only to add to your misery would be if you know the person, company or situation.

Civility is having respect and proper engagement with others. This doesn’t mean people cannot rant and voice their opinions. It only means that there is a time and a place for it. They should be aware of their surroundings and not imposing on common public space. Key word here is public.

So when it’s break time, lunch or after work cocktail time, do not bad mouth bosses, co-workers, company problems or clients. You never know who is within earshot of hearing a conversation either from the same office or an outsider who knows where you work.

Another consideration is when out for lunch are you identifiable as to who you work for (logoed shirt or sweater). So besides spouting off at the mouth is having one beer, wine or drink wrong? No, but say you work for a car dealership, what message does that send to potential clients or customers who may be in the same establishment. “I saw my mechanic on lunch drinking so what kind of a job will he do on my car when he goes back.”

Remember every action has a ripple effect. Make it a pleasant wave!

Elizabeth Backman

Elizabeth Backman is the owner of Pro Etiquette. Founded in Victoria in 2012, her business has now expanded to Greater Vancouver and is offering a program for regular in-house training, professional development days, speaking engagements, as well as private and individually tailored sessions. In addition to sessions aimed at the professional and corporate arena, a special-focus series is available for children and teens. She is an active member of the Rotary Langley Central Club and is engaged with her community. Email her or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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