1) Take at least 6 months to understand the expectations of an organisation or the people around us:
Until we start feeling comfortable and settled in an office, we have to take time to go by what the crowd does, to understand where we stand with respect to our work and also based on how we work with others. Once we develop enough rapport to set expectations and have also proved ourselves (that no matter what, we will deliver quality outputs within a said timeline), it’s easy to let people know how we work.
2) It’s good to keep to the rules, but not make a spectacle of it
We might be comfortable sticking to the rules of the organisation – but we must not make a spectacle or exhibition out of it, because, to put it very simply – it can irritate everyone around us. It does no good to show that we are prudent, much less than it does when we silently execute our responsibilities and duties.
3) Take consent, not permission
Most organisations regard us as responsible individuals who will plan day-offs, half-days, leaving early, or vacations after considering workload depending on us. In this case, it is up to us to plan our days well, complete assignments well within time and take off as and when it seems fit. However, in this case, it is important to inform our colleagues/superiors in prior – to help them plan - but taking permission sets a bad precedent. As long as we have a plan in place, we must be able to work out our schedules ourselves. Office is not a school, and it's important to retain our self-respect while also striving hard to give our best.
4) Keep personal life out of office
It’s healthy to discuss life to an extent – in the sense that there might be light stuff worth discussing over the coffee breaks, like a humorous incident at a mall or such. However, sharing personal/private fights, jokes, family disputes, complaints about in-laws, wife-is-a-headache jokes (so passé), and excessive information can really diminish our status in people’s minds. It’s good to be friendly – but maintaining a distance is always healthy.
5) Colleagues might be friends at office, but not beyond that
I’ve tried to stick to this policy – of not extending socialising with colleagues beyond a limit, and not adding them on social media until I exit that organisation. After a year of work experience, I’ve breached it very rarely – and found that it helps to a great extent, because the societal construct in India is such that everyone is allowed to judge your life freely. It is certainly not healthy in a work environment, and can create unnecessary prejudices which can taint a person’s perception of us.
6) Zero gossip, or even hints – except may be about the latest film running
This is a mandatory requirement, or even a commandment. However compelling it may feel to whine/talk about someone, we must not give in to the temptation, because i) it is unethical, ii) every person’s style is different - the way someone speaks with us might not be similar to his/her way of dealing with others, hence taking away from us the right to judge, and iii) there’s a saying that even walls have ears – there’s every chance that a person gossiping with us might be trying to wheedle information from us rather than sharing information with us. While this is the last reason we must think of while being careful, it is definitely an aspect to consider.
This is all I can think of, given my experience till now. Feel free to comment if you have anything to add!