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January 21, 2011
Job Etiquette: Are You a Nutcracker or a Sugarplum?
 
With the holidays behind us and the start of a new year, this is a good time to rethink the rules of employment and the manners of engagement. As the lead, how would you act out the following two scenarios to receive a standing ovation?
 
Act 1: Scene 1

You’ve decided enough is enough.
 
A. You spell job relief by vengefully spouting (a temporarily euphoric) “I quit!”
 
OR
 
B. You have a sensible exit plan that segues into a happy dance on another work floor.
 
As much as you want to, it’s best not to act on impulsive pride. For example, “Would you ever work here again?” is a question I answered once while filing my exit papers in the “moving on” process. The correct answer was far from the no-brainer I thought. Ready to emphatically check “no”—as in “way ever,”—my older, wiser co-worker intervened, giving her stern unsolicited advice: “Always check yes,” no matter what the circumstances, she lectured, explaining that it’s best to leave on good terms.
 
She then dropped her haunting bottom line: “You never know when you may need to return.”
 
While survival instincts guide us, hopefully they also restrain us so we think before acting, especially during frustrating times. 
 
Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of Empowering Sites, offers some worthwhile tips that translate to the above scenario:
 
Timing. Give enough notice—two to four weeks, or whatever the employee handbook expects.
Negotiating. Be sure to settle any outstanding salary, vacation, sick, and personal days.
Hiring. Offer to help your current employer find your replacement.
Training. Volunteer to train or work with your replacement.
Completing. Finish all open assignments and give a progress report to your supervisor and co-workers.
Obtain. Obtain contact information from your co-workers and supervisors for networking purposes.
 
Most importantly, say “thank you” before you say “goodbye.”
 
Act 1: Scene 2

Your BFB (best favorite boss) moves on.
 
A. The thought of a new regime makes you want to superglue yourself to his/her coattails and leave with the files under his/her arm.
 
OR
 
2. You choose to loyally stick around with an open mind to new challenges and the change that’s gonna come.
 
An empty nest is not a good feeling when a work family member flies the coop, often prompting mixed feelings of isolation and uncertainty in your own career track. When your old boss leaves the building and another one enters, so does a new protocol. There are two ways to view the situation: resist, or embrace the rein(ter)vention. 
 
Before sinking into an unchallenging, cozy rut, try to be open to new variations that might work refreshingly well for both sides.
 
Appropriate job etiquette can be vague and without a script, calling for you to gracefully ad-lib in the most professional manner possible. Share your scenarios—we’d love to know how you would act.

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Phyllis Briskman is a verse contributor and does PR/marketing. She sharpened her first pencil as retail fashion copywriter, writing to count before Twitter tweeted its first hello. Later, she flew the cubicle to do freelance creative becoming a writer of all trades, from beauty to fitness for catalogs, magazines, and websites. Born to brainstorm, she's named retail businesses and website domains. She loves quick wit, survives on laughter, is a little hokey, but aims to please because that’s what life’s all about.

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