Got your own career conundrum you’d like advice on?
Then sign up for the WCA peer mentoring program. It’s free to members!
It’s all about peers who care helping their fellow WCA members.
Meet our WCA Peer Mentors Up Close and Personal — and get your own questions answered….
WCA’s Annual Get Smart Conference, Wednesday October 2
Three 45-minute Peer Mentoring Sessions – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Compiled and edited by Julie Tereshchuk
I am fairly new to this office (and industry) and I think my work ethic is being tested. I was surprised at the amount of non-work activities that seem to go on when the boss is away: personal phone calls and social media, looong lunches and plenty of off-topic chatter. I guess I am a stick in the mud, because I try to keep my head down and just get my work done. Am I hurting myself with the “team” by being a goodie-two-shoes?
Unless you are management, your work is to stay in your lane and to focus on your work. In doing so, you’ll maintain appropriate boundaries with management as well as your peers, and your work will shine as a result of having your full dedication.
It is a difficult choice… fit in or do the right thing? In this case, I would lean toward the latter. You may not get as much office gossip, but you also won’t get in trouble for being a part of the slacker team.
As you move on, in your career and tenure, you can determine who to trust with mentorship, should you decide to stay with the organization. For now, I would keep my nose clean and “lead by example!”
Focus on the results, they are all that matter. If your colleagues are behind on their communications/deadlines (especially their commitments to you), then that’s an issue. If you can’t participate in the office small talk and get your work done, then both of those things are problems that need to be addressed. But if the work isn’t being affected, the amount of non-work activities doesn’t matter.
I would advise being friendly and collegial so as not to alienate yourself from the rest of your team, even if you secretly resent some of their behavior. That doesn’t mean you need to compromise your work ethic or your values; “off-topic chatter” could be friendly but short conversation that builds camaraderie between colleagues. Keep your focus on your own goals and priorities and try not to worry too much how other people are spending their time.