Three Behaviors That Will Improve the Vibe in Your Workplace.
Common courtesy is not so common.
I take the subway to work every day and work in an office with 40 other people who seem to be oblivious to the fact that are not there alone. I can leave the subway, but unfortunately I cannot leave my job.
Dirty dishes soak in the sink. Empty copy paper wrappers and paper clip boxes are left within a few inches of waste baskets. Lights are left on in the conference room, for hours.
I have come to the conclusion that several of my co-workers must have mothers, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends or fathers who pick-up after them or they’d be living in dumps with piles of trash and garbage. They’d be tripping over them.
The dirty laundry piled on the floor must magically disappear and then reappear clean and folded in their draws. Dishes must be teleported from the sink, to the dishwasher, and back into the cabinet with the snap of a finger.
My only question is this: What color is the sky in your world?
But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, even with all the years of education, they were never taught to play nice. Or maybe they just forgot.
We all forget sometimes. That’s okay. It’s when you forget all the time that you create the bad vibes.
As a guide, I’m recommending a book on the basics of good and fair behavior. If it applies, read it. I am because I need to refresh my memory, though I must admit a book on patience might be more useful.
In All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten Quotes, Robert Fulghum gives us three quotes that are, in general, not practiced. Although there are 16 in all, three in particular stand out and are relevant to my point. They are:
1. Play fair.
2. Put things back where you found them.
3. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
And yes, he does capitalize number three.
Over six million copies are in print in English, it has been published in thirty-seven languages, and sold in 103 countries.
The Kindergarten Credo, as Fulghum calls it, is not kid stuff and is not simple. It is elemental, fundamental.
It is the Golden Rule.
Numbers two is straight forward. Putting things back where you found them is just that.
#1 Play fair.
In kindergarten playing fair means not cutting in line, letting everyone have a turn, and when there’s only one of something left, cutting it into two equal parts.
#3 Clean-up your own mess.
Cleaning-up your own mess means cleaning your dirty dishes in the sink, putting your crayons back in the box, and throwing away that empty chocolate milk carton.
#1 and 3 Playing fair and cleaning-up your own mess.
As an adult, these two may take on different meanings, but let’s keep it elementary, Dear Watson. Kindergarten relationships and life are far less complicated. What I mean is by putting these two together is, cleaning up your own mess is playing fair.
It’s a little thing that only takes a few seconds and little things mean a lot. They show you’re thinking of someone besides yourself. In fact, you’re thinking about a lot of people besides yourself.
Cleaning-up little messes keeps it from becoming the big mess it will become if everyone, little by little, does not clean-up after him or herself.
In any environment, putting things back where you found them means other people won’t need to spend time looking for them or sifting through the fall out to find what they need. This includes the documents left on a copier that people decided you don’t need after all, which is also a waste of resources by the way.
Cleaning up after yourself also shows you have a little bit of the team spirit you need to get along with other people.
From a bigger perspective, we all want the world to be a better place. There’s the push to be vegetarian, vegan, to stop using one-use plastic, stop abusing animals, justice for immigrants, legislation for gender rights, and on so forth.
How do we hope to create this just world if we do not behave fairly in small ways like throwing away our own trash?
You have to be able to stand before you can walk and walk before you can run.
So start where you live and work or anywhere you interact with people. Consider how what you do, and don’t do, affects them.
You’re not the only one working or living there.
And you’re not an island.
In the scheme of things, you’re more like a continent.