There’s a new workplace etiquette for the new millennium, and, no surprise, it’s all about transparency and authenticity.

The new etiquette is driven by the fact that young people who grew up online don’t know how to operate any other way except transparently. The good news is this means they have great social skills; the bad news is they have no idea that they’re breaking all the old rules.

Here a list tips to help people who aren’t used to living an authentic, transparent work life flourish under the new rules.

1. Forget the exit interview.
An exit interview won’t help you, and it’ll probably create bad will. If you have people to thank when you leave a job, do it at lunch. If you have ideas for how to improve the company, offer to consult. Of course the company will decline, because they don’t care. Otherwise you wouldn’t be quitting, right?

Stop focusing on the exit interview and focus on how to quit like a pro. When you get a new job, your old boss is part of your new network. It’s up to you to make sure that parting ways goes as smoothly as possible so that you can shepherd this person into your network of supporters.

2. Don’t ask for time off, just take it.
When you need to leave work for a few hours or a few days, you don’t need to ask for permission — you’re an adult, after all. Make sure your work is in good order and send an email to the relevant people letting them know you’ll be gone.

This will seem discourteous to older people, who expect you to ask rather than tell. So be sure to give a reason why you’re cutting out. People like to know they matter and where they stand.

3. Keep your headphones on at work.

If you use social media tools, you’re probably good at connecting with people and navigating office politics — good enough that spending all day at work with headphones on won’t hinder you.

If you don’t know what what social media tools are, then you’re probably not innately good at making connections and need to take those headphones off before you’re crushed by office politics.

4. Say no to video résumés.

This is one of the dumbest recruiting trends ever.

Any human resources person in their right mind would hate video résumés. If there’s a stack of 100 paper résumés, the hiring manager will spend 10 seconds on each to decide which ones belong in the garbage. So how annoying is it that it takes 10 seconds just to launch a video résumé?

And it’s not just that they’re totally inefficient. Video résumés open up HR departments to a whole new level of discrimination accusations. There’s a reason why newscasters are all good-looking — it’s because we favor the good-looking on-screen. So if you don’t get hit on every time you step into a bar, forget about the video résumé. You probably look better on paper.

5. Invite your CEO to be a friend on Facebook.
That’s right, Facebook is for everyone now. And although the youngest members of the workforce are a little worried that having the adults there will ruin things, adults are psyched to be there. No one wants to miss out on all the fun.

So there’s a good chance that your CEO is registered, and it’s likely that she’ll really want to hear from you about what to do on Facebook, since she surely has no clue.

6. Do reconnaissance on your probable boss.

This tip comes from 20-something Hannah Seligson, whose book, “New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenches,” gives great tips on getting through the first years of work — most of which comes down to etiquette.

Seligson recommends you find out all the dirt you can about your future employer, because the best gauge of how a company will treat you is how it treated other employees. So asking people directly is fine.

Remember that it’s often the boss who makes the biggest difference in the workplace, so try using LinkedIn to search for someone who had the job you’re interviewing for. Former employees will always give you the most candid comments.

7. Don’t try to improve a coworker.

If you work with a jerk, just avoid him. We already know from dozens of studies that thinking you can change someone doesn’t really work.

Companies know that getting rid of difficult employees isn’t worth the cost and headache, too. So if the jerk isn’t moving and the company isn’t moving, you need to get moving with your job hunt.

8. Don’t blog under a pseudonym.

It’s enticing to hide your name when you blog, because you don’t want to get fired, or harassed, or held accountable at work for the opinions you have at home. But the truth is that the majority of adults who blog are doing it for business reasons.

Writing a blog that people can actually find among 77 million blogs is very time-consuming. It’s a big commitment to write about what you know on a single topic, but blogging will help your career a lot. So why bother doing it if you’re not going to take credit for it where it matters most — with potential employers who haven’t met you?

9. Call people on the weekend for work.

With the Blackberry going where work has never gone before, it’s no surprise that the lines between work and not-work are blurring. The people who grew up being super-connected don’t differentiate between the workweek and the weekend, so they don’t mind working over the weekend on bits and pieces leftover from the week.

Of course, this also means that people are going home early all week long at random intervals. The result is that the weekend is fair game for phone calls.

If your coworkers don’t like being called on the weekend, they can tell you. But remind them that a flexible work schedule lets you put relationships first all the time, and a work schedule that cordons off five days a week for work and two days a week for a personal life means that the personal life takes a backseat every week of the year.

The best way to get a life is to stop being so rigid about the distinction between time for work and time for life.

10. Be nice like your job depends on it.

In fact, your job does depend on you being nice. The old days of office politics as a means of backstabbing are dead — young people are bringing their team-player, I’m-competing-against-my-best-self mentality from their self-esteem-centric homes into the workplace, and there’s nothing you can do except be nice back.

Anyway, the truth is that the most likable people get promoted, so this is an instance where following the unwritten rules really can save your career.

89 replies
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  1. L. Bates
    L. Bates says:

    Maybe I need to clarify a bit.

    A “heads up” is more than an email saying, “I’ll be leaving at 3 today.” Poke your head in my office, or give me a ring to say, “I will be out of the office on Wednesday at 3 PM, ok?” is a heads up. Doing it day of, without very good reason, or over email is immature.

    This type of heads up will also give me the chance to tell my employee, “Wednesday is bad – we will have a client here. Will another day work?” if need be. Can’t do that to an email at 2:45 PM.

  2. Michael (aita_tocs from yahoo)
    Michael (aita_tocs from yahoo) says:

    Yes, I’ve found my way over here from the Yahoo main page. Yes, I did post a rather long, and extremely displeased comment about how I did not agree with the article for most of its entirely. Yes, I will have you know, I love my current job. Yes, I tell my management when I have a problem with something. Yes, I have a myspace AND a facebook. So let me start this follow up.

    First off, please do not bunch all of the yahoo users into one tightly knit bundle. Secondly, it should be a little concerning if the vast majority of the users responding to your article, are responding negatively.

    My opinion is that the way the article was written, this looks really, really bad. I noticed in Jody’s comment that she mentions it doesn’t say not to give a heads up when you are not coming into work, but when reading the article i was completely under the impression that you were suggesting to simply call or e-mail that you weren’t coming in.

    Be nice, yes, i completely agree with the concept of being nice, but not to the extent of how you phrased it in you article. It sounds like you are saying to be nice, no matter what. I do not agree with that at all. Being nice to keep you job just doesn’t seem like you’re really being nice. Sounds more like you’re telling people to put on an act.

    Please, please, please, do not call me on the weekends. If you just lost all of your files, papers, computer, car, etc, sure. But if you need to know when ‘John’ needs those reports on his desk by, send me an e-mail. E-mail on the weekend is a much more polite way to get in touch with someone on their off time. Their can check it at their leisure, when it is not an inconvenience to them. Keep multiple contacts e-mail addresses handy, so you’re never stuck with just one person to turn to for the need to know info.

    So I totally meant to bash on your ideas, yes. I won’t deny that at all. But I do think you need to seriously reconsider how you write about things such as this, especially on such a diverse topic, with so many different atmospheres in workplaces currently. From what I can see, it looks like a lot of people feel like I do about how you wrote this. I don’t know if you go through and read each and everyone one of these comments personally, but if you do, I’d absolutely love to get a response from you and take this conversation further. Thank you for your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Randy
    Randy says:

    You have got to be kidding me with this stuff. I am GenX myself, and have no idea where she is getting this stuff. It's absolutely terrible. I would LOVE to see someone walk in to a company in Madison, WI, and do a single one of these little "nuggets", and see how quickly they are handed a sturdy box with handles.

    #1 – €“ Exit interviews can do a lot more harm than good, but if you handle them correctly you can make it a HUGE plus, and ensure that your previous boss IS a new networking partner. Under no circumstances, should you decline the option to have one, or WORSE YET, offer to consult. I'm assuming that Ms. Trunk was outside smelling some wonderful WI dairy air when she thought that offering to consult would be a good idea. If a person has all of these wonderful ideas on how to improve a company, maybe that person should bring them up, you know, WHILE THEY ARE EMPLOYED THERE! To quit a company, and then turn around and offer to help make it better, to me, only proves that the person has already done so by quitting. Thanks for the offer; I'm sure that we'll manage to survive without you.

    #2 – €“ Let me point out that I have a virtual office with a Fortune 50 company that has a culture that is predominately geared toward balance of life and flexible schedules. With all of that in mind, I STILL make it a point to clear it with the people in the corner offices before I step out for an afternoon, a day, or whatever it is. If nothing else, it lets your boss know that you are responsible, and it also gives him/her a way to reach you immediately, should s/he need to. One big thing to keep in mind for ANY GenY'er reading the "advice" from Ms. Turk, is that any effective communicator first understands his/her audience. If the GenY group don't feel the need to ask, because "they are used to leading a completely transparent existence", then that's all well and good. Just remember that the people that are responsible for the GenY group getting a paycheck DON'T PRESCRIBE TO THAT AT ALL. When the GenY people are in leadership roles, then things will change. Right now, that's not the case. So, always remember the golden rule: Those with the Gold, get to make the rules. If your boss expects you to ask for approval for time off, you can either ask for time off, or receive a whole lot of it – all at once. When you are the big boss in the corner office, you can run your office however you would like to, and then you get to try to track down 15 employees that are scattered to the wind in order to schedule an important, last minute meeting about a fire that just flared up.

    #3 – €“ This is just asinine. Ms. Turk, I would love to chat with you one day and find out why on God's green earth, you think that wearing headphones and/or IM'ing all day at work would EVER be acceptable. Unless you are a radio DJ, or work in a recording studio, you should NEVER have headphones on during work.

    #4 – €“ I agree wholeheartedly.

    #5 – €“ Again, not a lot of need to beat this dead horse. You might have some WONDERFUL ideas. You may have some true insight into making an impact in your organization. Even if all of that were true, unless you work for a company with less than 100 people, your CEO does not want to be your friend. In fact, if they are on Facebook, I can say with some certainty, that they are looking to network with their contemporaries, NOT some junior person within their firm. I actually just attended a conference here in Chicago that had an international study of current college students and recent graduates (less than 2 years in the workforce), and they categorically stated that they would NOT want anyone from work contacting them, or even viewing their Facebook or MySpace sites. Ms. Turk, I'm not sure where you are getting your information that these are the rules for the "next generation", but you may want to check your sources.

    #6 – €“ This isn't a bad idea, at all, as long as it doesn't come across as a negative thing. You also have to keep in mind that the information that you are receiving will be inherently biased. Unless you know very well someone that is already working for that boss, I would recommend that you merely temper whatever you hear.

    #7 – €“ So much for the team-work first mentality. Evidently Ms. Turk is a prescriber to the "team work only if it helps me" school of thought. What, pray-tell, should a Gen Y'er do when THEY are the brand new person to the team, and they need help to learn the ropes, get the big picture, and generally be mentored past the "I'm completely lost" stage that everyone (no matter your experience level) starts in when they join a new organization? GenY'ers don't mentor people? They don't help out the newbie? That's going to be interesting, seeing that most of them ARE the newbie, and will continue to be for several years. Tell me again, how this is different for the Baby Boomers who are digging in their heels in order to keep THEIR rules in place? Notice that I only addressed the situation that entails business knowledge things, and not personality traits. I agree with her in that you can't change someone's personality. You can work to find an appropriate way to communicate with someone that you may consider a jerk, but that's COMPLETELY different than trying to get a tiger to change its stripes.

    #8 – €“ I agree, but I would add that you should be under the impression that anything that a person blog's is going to be read by the CEO and your parents. If a person considers those two things and are still OK with putting it out there, then by all means, go ahead. While it may be time-consuming to find that one blog in the haystack of 77 million, most companies do background checks, and most of those now check for blogs, and what you put out there may come back to haunt you.

    #9 – €“ Maybe if a person didn't leave whenever the heck they wanted to, and didn't work with one ear on their work and the other in their headphones, they would be able to actually get all of their work done between Monday and Friday. There are exceptions to this. As one person stated, senior staff will want to be contacted with major fires that may need to be put out. I have also left a text message or a quick VM to confirm an early meeting on Monday morning, or something like that. Anything else will be further evidence that you are not able to separate personal life with professional life, and THAT'S a red flag with an employee.

    #10 – €“ I again agree absolutely with this one.

  4. Matt M
    Matt M says:

    I read the article on Yahoo and read some of the comments. I think that the point of your article was to give older, non-Gen Y or Gen-X, people ideas about what may be new appropriate workplace norms amongst younger employees. Instead, I think people misunderstood it as “this is the way it is at every company now” as if you somehow magically know how every singel company works. I am 27 and I have worked at a number of different companies of different sizes and also had many clients where I got to see much of their culture and norms firsthand. I think that your comments are right on for many younger people(ie under 30) however, the culture is generally set at the top of a company and until the people in Gen Y start to get into those ranks these are probably going to be the exception rather than the norm.

    Also, some of the tips like Calling on weekends and taking off when you want assume that your work is something that is organized into portable tasks or projects that have deadlines but the ultimate completion goal can be reached in different ways. So, basically it makes sense that if you can complete this project in 40 hours whether you it 8 hours for 5 days Mon-Fri or 10 hr/4 days then you can leave when you want or ask questions when you want.

    I think there are still many jobs out there that require someone to basically be “on-duty” for a set time and there is no way to perform that duty at other times or locations such as, the IT helpdesk, doctors, most of the HR dept, etc. If the post had made this distinction then I think it would have alleviated some of the bad comments. I also wish that you had more posts about this type of job since most of your posts seem to show a bias toward the type of job where tasks are finite and portable.

    Keep up the good work though.

  5. Christopher Reilly
    Christopher Reilly says:

    Your comments on Yahoo were in my opinion short sighted, arrogant and patronising to anyone who has spent more than an hour in the real world. Stop and think about the advice you are giving. You have a responsibility if you are published and read to give good advice and to promote a positive attitude towards work. What you said bordered on the immature and the bratish.
    Some impressionable people will be held back by this seed you could have planted. Shame.

    Also, do not dismiss the comments that are being made or delude youself that this is an group attack, many of the comments were made by people who have not posted before, like myself. The numbers dont lie. First rule of business.

  6. Jill Fornetti
    Jill Fornetti says:

    I also disagree with the article and did read it on Yahoo. Really? You only saw bashing and no reasons for disagreement? I found lots of reasons and examples from the comments and agree with almost all.

    Seriously Penelope, your phrasing is very misleading. I agree with some of the statements you make, but there is an underlying theme of knowing the work place, fellow co-workers and not just using this a a general rule. If a company asks for an exit interview, you go. I agree, they are worthless, but you are still being respectful to the company and others. Know your workplace on asking for time off or giving advance notice. You know what type of approach is appropriate. The same goes for headphones, there are appropriate positions and environments where this is acceptable. It appears to me that special projects or circumstances dictate whether I’d answer a call or email during my free time. I was sucked into the 24/7 life before and will not go back. I think there will be less and less tolerance of 24/7 connection with work and more people will be creating bouundaries for personal space, not the other way around. Would I potentially ‘friend’a CEO of a small company? Maybe. Fortune 500? Really? The linkedin suggestion is much more appropriate. Be nice because that’s the best thing to do not because it will get you a promotion.

    Overall I did not find any of your points to be worthwhile or valid. Nice try, but you missed the mark big time. The comments were much more enlightening than the article.

  7. fugglemucker
    fugglemucker says:

    Now after reading all the comments posted here,
    I’m not sure if I am more shocked by Penelope’s
    appalling advice, or the fact that blogger “James”
    Considers Penelope to be more of a Life Coach”
    than a financial advice. If I thought that Penelope trunk was my “life coach”, I would apply for free agency- or start running illegal dogfights to get me kicked out of the league for good. Seriously James, if you think that Penelope is your Life coach, then my only advice for you is- step away from the edge and don’t jump!

  8. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I cannot believe most, if any of these suggestions would fly in most offices. All the jobs I’ve had and those of my friends and relatives, these pieces of advice would cause a reprimand or firing. Especially the, “Don’t ask for time off, just take it”.

  9. Dale
    Dale says:

    I apoligize for a couple typos…I don’t usually write when annoyed…but in this case I was…

  10. Dave
    Dave says:

    The people that laugh about Facebook didn’t follow your link. Facebook is not just another myspace. It is a web platform. Sign up and check out the applications area…then you will start to understand the potential.

    I won’t comment on the other “tips”…they all require a healthy grain of salt and lots of contextualizing to rehabilitate into something approaching practicality. For most of us, they describe a fantasy workplace.

  11. torvald
    torvald says:

    I believe this article is absolutely soaking with self-righteous, self-important advice. Let me make a few things clear before I get into any more detail. I am 23 years old, a new member of the workforce, and I love my job.

    Ms. Trunk’s advice gives my generation a bad name, and I believe (thankfully) that most young people are smart enough not to heed her suggestions. People go to work because they are paid to do a job. When a person applies for and accepts a job, it is assumed that he or she wants the job. That job will and should be on the employer’s terms, to which that employee HAS AGREED. It is selfish for an employee of Generation Y to think that he or she has enough knowledge and skills to make it OK for him or her to dictate office etiquette that suits his or her own wants and desires, rather than those of the company and co-workers.

    I think it is evident from reading the majority of Yahoo! comments that 90+% of workplaces do not function in a way that allows Ms. Trunk’s suggested behavior. I am not denying that these tips are perfectly fine for business professionals in certain environments or certain companies, but I think it is imprudent to offer these nuggets of advice when numerous others have confirmed that following them will hinder rather than help young professionals in most workplaces.

    As Ms. Trunk is not a member of Generation Y, I dearly wish that she would stop writing about how that generation thinks and acts. It is volatile to write an article such as the above without clearly thinking through the harmful consequences that likely could and would result from following the proffered advice.

  12. L. Bates
    L. Bates says:

    Well, interesting question. Most weeks, I delete the comments from Yahoo readers that add nothing to the conversation. But this week I left a lot of comments up. As sort of a little exhibit of the kinds of comments we refer to when we refer to "the comments from Yahoo".

    – €“Penelope

    Does your employer, Yahoo, know you feel their patrons are less worthy? I’d be happy to let them know for you.

    * * * * * * *
    Believe me, they delete way more comments than I do.


  13. B D Baker
    B D Baker says:

    Ms Trunk, you are doing your young sycophants a great disservice by providing this sort of “advice”. You may not like or appreciate the Boomers or Gen Xers, but they are the bosses today. They provide jobs for people who want to work. They are not doing anyone a favor by providing them that job. You work for them, they do not work for you.

    The idea, for instance, that you should be able to leave whenever you want for as long as you want without first getting clearance from the boss, flies in the face of adult reponsibility. Other people depend on you doing your job, when you are supposed to be doing your job. Coworkers, internal and external customers, management plan their activities around everyone doing what they’ve been hired to do, when they are supposed to be doing it. To simply leave whenever you feel like it is disrepsectful to all those who depend on you. Do this enough and you will be fired and replaced with someone more trustworthy and dependable.

    To follow every piece of advice in this column would result in a great number of Gen Yers being unemployed. Perhaps you should actually get a job at any number of corporations and try this little experiment yourself and see how long you keep that job.

    Imagine being scheduled for surgery only to find out at the last minute that the surgeon decided to go diving in Aruba that morning. Or calling the police to discover the cop that handles your neighborhood decided he wanted to go hang out at the beach that day.

    This is some of the most irresponsible dribble I have ever read. The young people who think so highly of you should understand that they will, most likely, remain unemployed if this is how they choose to conduct their professional life. I, for one, would not hesitate to fire someone who told me they would be gone without first scheduling it with me. I need people I can depend on, not some immature manchild who thinks they can act anyway they want and get away with it.

  14. Reed Hubbard
    Reed Hubbard says:

    This column has certainly generated a lot of commentary, either highly negative disagreement or assention with a note that the others just don’t get what Ms. Trunk was trying to say.

    Neither side says good things about the writer.

    Either she is completely clueless as to the workings of the modern workplace, or she is not good at clearly expressing her thoughts and conveying her message.

    I would say that what is most striking about this list is that it is almost an apologetic for the lack of professionialism currently displayed by the “wired” generation. Before any Gen X, Y, Z etc. -ers scream, I’m not saying that there is no professionalism among younger workers, but what Ms. Trunk appears to be saying is that here they come, they’re gonna do their own thing, and you old people better adapt or else.

    I heard all this a decade ago when the “new economy” was being crafted by blue-jean-and-T-shirt 21-year-old CEOs running chatroom websites and online delivery services from converted warehouses. Most of those same guys are now serving coffee at the local Starbucks drive-thru. Just because it’s new, it’s not necessarily good. Nor is it necessarily good business.

    The workplace has become more flexible in many ways. Working from home, flex hours, casual dress…all these really became normal in the last 10-15 years. However, accomodating changing lifestyles is quite different from indulging juvenile pursuits, and leaving when you feel like it with little more than an e-mail, or listening to Maroon 5 on your headphones while you IM, chat and blog, or sending your CEO Facebook invites…none of these generates anything but the most intangible of benefits for both employee and employer. I doubt that we’ll all do business on MySpace in the future, so I’m not convinced at all that adding your management to your buddy list will do anything more than paint you as an overgrown adolescent in their eyes.

    Regardless, no matter how business and the workplace may change to accomodate new paradigms, there is no excuse for behaving unprofessionally. Leaving for days without arranging for the appropriate permission is unprofessional. Jamming out on your headphones for eight hours while you IM and blog is unprofessional. Skipping an exit interview, particularly one that the company requires, is akin to a middle finger in the rear view mirror and is unprofessional. Regularly calling or texting people on the weekend, particularly those with whom you have no relationship outside work, is unprofessional and possibly inappropriate (how will your co-worker’s wife feel if a 22-year-old single girl is constantly sending him messages all weekend?)

    Some of the descriptions read like something a teenage cheerleader would tell a new arrival to her junior high school…full of broad assumptions and specious logic. For example, the line, “If you don’t know what social media tools are, then you’re probably not good at making connections, etc.” is absurd. It’s akin to , “If you don’t know what a Toy Watch is, then you’re probably not cool enough to sit at the popular table.” Just because I’m not familiar with the jargon du jour (“social media tools”) or because I don’t use them to communicate, there is no grounds to assume I cannot connect with others. People have been communicating for centuries before “web-centric microsocietal access methodologies” (that’s what hip people call them today, Penny!) were around, and anyone forced to rely upon them to communicate is not, in my opinion, capable of functioning adequately in the real world. Put down the blackberry and have a proper conversation, for goodness sake!

    Bottom line, this list is darn near useless, aside from fodder for parody. I’m just surprised you didn’t suggest inviting your Vice President into your World of Warcraft guild. A few raids into Karazhan could be great for your career!

  15. Kayte
    Kayte says:

    I have never read a yahoo article before today, but the title of your article caught my eye. I am NOT a conservative, I work for a non-profit, and spent a number of years in the theatre world (for which death is the only excuse for not showing up). I am saddened by the lack of quality in this public discourse, and will try to share my views without insults or name-calling.
    The reason I read your article was because I have had several encounters with young workers (both as a co-worker and as a customer) that were not positive, in fact they were frustrating and angering and I was hoping to gain insight. Now I know. I, and it appears many others, will never understand your “tips” because they are so outside the realm of reality (the reality that we must all survive in) and the strong reaction you received was not “angry” but, perhaps, frustrated. We, the majority, have learned to work in a world that IS truthful. That is why there are so many rules and expectations and ETIQUETTE. Because the world is filled with people from different generations, and cultures and abilities and deficits, and we ALL have to work together with as little strife as possible, and the best way to do that is NOT to come into an existing culture and assume that whatever YOU feel is the right way, but to rely on rules and etiquette to make these differences easier to manage. I think we all need to be more patient with each other, both “old” & young. But to disregard the basic respect of someone who is either your boss or your co-worker under the guise of living “transparently” is wrong. I honestly think less transparency is called for. Really, the best advice I could give a young worker is this: We all have something to offer (old or young) and be gracious, be kind, be sympathetic, be hard working, but most of all be grateful. Grateful for all that you have; including a job were the boss understands that we can all be “jerks” sometimes.

  16. B D Baker
    B D Baker says:

    “The comments from Yahoo”? You mean, the comments from a much broader cross section of the American workforce. The comments that do not come from your fawning, young, inexperienced, starry eyed fans? The comments that tell the truth about what it is truly like in corporate America? Ms Trunk, if your true intent is to sabotage the younger workers so the older workers may prosper, then you are doing an excellent job. If you think that your “advice” is going to help them advance in the corporate world, then you need to set foot into the world that the rest of us live in and discover just how out of touch you really are.

  17. Ray Gardner
    Ray Gardner says:

    As a first time reader I was taken aback by your #7 comment in “10 Tips for the Office Workplace Etiquette" about office jerks and your obvious assumption that it was a “he”… Wow! What a sexist remark. I’ve notice that you feminist broads only use the politicaly correct phrase “he/she” when it suits you. Are you for real??? Many times I have had to work alongside female jerks – And that’s distressing…

    Furthermore, your advice to simply inform your supervisor that you're leaving for a few hours or few days is ridiculous. Any manager worth his/her salt would tell you not to bother to report back to work until you're called. Your job is a privilege not a right and you owe your employer a day's work for a days pay. You "kids" better start shaping up or you're going to be on the outside looking in. Remember, there is always going to be someone to take your place – €“ you're not that good –

  18. charles knight
    charles knight says:

    Penelope and your young readers,

    I am neither antiquated nor invalid and I will NEVER be obsolete in the multi-million dollar business I founded. I can tell you that many of your young readers however, will never be a viable player in my organization.

    My typical employee earns 20-25% more than others in their chosen career and they are treated with the utmost respect and dignity. This above market salary however does bring additional expectations. I, therefore demand the same considerations to be afforded to my management staff. There IS a hierarchy in my company and it exists for a reason. This organizational structure will be adhered to or an individual will work elsewhere. I am truly sorry if our work schedule interfers with social aspects my employee’s life. Frankly that is why most occupations are referred to as “work” not “play.”

    Time for many of your readers to grow up and become adults. College days are over and it is now time to meet responsibilities IF you want to join the work force. If not, then I hope MOM and DAD have the means to financially support your immature lifestyle!!

    What I say may not be popular, but it certainly is truthful!!


    Charles Knight

  19. Peg
    Peg says:

    Penelope either anticipated this negative response, or she is simply stupid. I cannot believe she is stupid. There is more to this than we know.

  20. Roger Chillingsworth
    Roger Chillingsworth says:

    There are things that you wished were true and things that simply are. One is a fantasy, the other reality. Mz Trunk is dealing in a fantasy world. Reality is that leaving when you wish paints you as untrustworthy, undependable and inconsiderate. Reality is wearing headphones all day paints you as immature and self absorbed. Reality is calling people at home during their off time is rude, insensitive and invasive. Reality is inviting the CEO to be your ‘friend’ is immature and unrealistic. I work for a $18 billion company. Doing these things will, at the very least, keep you from advancing, at the worst, they will get you fired. Mz Trunk is not doing you any favors by offering these “tips”.

  21. g.j. whaley
    g.j. whaley says:

    with all due respect, since my last response was removed from this page, ms. trump’s recommendations in this article, to my mind, go past self-serving and inconsiderate into irresponsible. this might be why ms. trump’s title reads former executive.

  22. Damien Abner
    Damien Abner says:

    Dear Penelope,

    In response to your article I am thanking you for your great advice. To be honest I’ve be scarred since leaving my last job at Ayres Suites Hotels in Diamond Bar, California. My friend died from cancer back in September 2003 and when I “asked” 3 days in advance for time off to go to his funeral my boss said no. So, on the day of the funeral I called in sick. The next day I showed up for work and was shocked to read a nasty letter from my manager demanding a doctor’s note. When my boss showed up to work she made several offensive comments and told me I was suspended indefinitely. So I quit.

  23. Dianne
    Dianne says:

    Well, I had my doubts about much of the advice but I realize there is a generation gap going on here so I decided to give one a try despite my great reservations. I tried Facebook because I work at a college and thought maybe it might be useful to connect my office to the students. Huge mistake. My work email has been flood with virus laden spam ever since (yes, I can trace it accurately back to the Facebook connection). I cannot imagine any employer appreciating work computers flooded with non-work email of the spam and virus variety. Be very careful what you sign up for. I would not recommend Facebook at all given my recent experience.

  24. jim flynn
    jim flynn says:

    I will quality myself as being older and in the software arena working in a more defined environment. For me and many others who work in like companies you do not take time off without setting it up ahead of time (we are talking days, for hours you are a professional – days may affect others you are not aware of so you may get a warning the first time and be gone the second. Note: If you are invaluable to the company you should be gone anyhow. An invaluable employee is setting yourself up for trouble.) As far as the exit interview goes, do it if you expect to use any of the people for references.

  25. L. Bates
    L. Bates says:

    Hey, Penelope – do me a favor. If you’re going to delete my comment on why just taking time without asking for it is bad, at least have the decency to remove my follow-up clarifying comment. I’m not trying to clarify YOUR statements.

  26. Michael Hanson
    Michael Hanson says:

    Penelope, I will admit I left a harsh remark on the Yahoo comments page, but after reading it over and over…I still feel the same way. Whether or not it makes you “happy” at work to try the 10 tips above is irrelevant. If everyone did what made them “happy”, the world would be a terrible place to live in. I am a student in college and all I see left and right is this trend to “rebel” against conformity. Screw your boss, yeah! Suck up to him and when he hires you, ditch the exit interview because he realizes you are a terrible employee. It’s not what you are writing that’s wrong, it’s your intentions. Plus you completely contradict your own tips…Don’t try to improve your co-workers… so you wouldn’t give them this column to read? Everyone should try to improve their fellow peers. That doesn’t mean you will have an effect on them, but you should as least try. As for the unemployed/don’t-work-for-a-real-company/nerds with no social skills except on a computer people that have positive comments to say, I say this, please continue to give good comments so there will be plenty of employment for everyone and it will make your unprofessional job seem hip and up to date. I don’t think you are a bad writer Trunkie, but this article is not your best.

    * * * * * *
    Hi, Michael. I totally agree with you that we should all try to help each other improve. I think these tips are consistent with that. To let people be their best selves we need to take away workplace constraints that do not focus on results. We each work best in different ways. We need a workplace that acknowleges that a wide range of workstyles can succeed and we don’t need paternalistic rules to force everyone to do things “the boss’s way”.

    On the flip side, i think that helping one’s boss to succeed is so important that there is a cateogory on the blog for it: “managing up”. Check that out. When I write posts in that category I get the exact opposite comments from yours — that I am an idealist if I think we should all help each other at work.


  27. Michael Hanson
    Michael Hanson says:

    Oh, and if your trying to reach the young crowd, you’re not. Notice how every person with a positive comment is not from a person looking for a job nor a CEO, yet it is mainly composed mainly of the middle wage worker who has no aspirations of achieving anything except a stable job.

  28. Maurice Walshe
    Maurice Walshe says:

    number 2. Don't ask for time off, just take it.

    errr are your realy sure that such good advice ok if you have a self directed hours job ( as i used to at BT I more of less decided what hours I worked.

    But just taking time off mm could be risky even more so in the USA

  29. Mary
    Mary says:

    I saw you on I believe it was CNN. I totally don’t understand the point of your article. Sure in a perfect world one would be able to say “I need a few days off” and get them. I had one boss propose that I use my vacation a few days at a time. How on Earth can I tour the south of France one day at a time?

    I’m fortunate I can listen to internet radio at work. I do have sick time so I can in fact call in if I need a day here or there.

    #8 is sheer lunacy!!! If one is working in a field where one is trying to drum up sales or get more clients then perhaps it would be beneficial to blog under your real name. If one has a personal blog about everyday occurances there’s no way in heck it would be acceptable to have your boss reading that! Reference duced!!

    #9 is insane! I won’t be doing that anytime soon.

    I’m offended at the people who defend you. Most of the people in the world do NOT work for Yahoo or Google! Most people can’t take their dog to work or walk around barefoot or take a nap on company time. The world doesn’t work like that for most of us.

    Oh yeah and where I am if you don’t complete your exit interview you don’t get your last pay check.

  30. Anna
    Anna says:

    I wholeheartedly disagree with not asking for time off. Especially for a few days! If you are the CEO, maybe, but even then informing is the polite thing to do! In this economic climate are you crazy???

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    New office etiquette: rational or radical?…

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