Wednesday, March 5, 2008

don't just imitate a role model colleague

For a guy like me, lacking "commonsense" in communication protocols, the obvious advice below isn't obvious -- it's basic -- Don't imitate a role model blindly.

A role model with 4+ years spent in the current company can freely mention (generally, without reference to any individual) changing job, but if you are less than a year old here, it's a taboo topic, like the name of the reining Chinese emperor (in ancient times).

Even if in a group every colleague seems to freely talk about this sensitive topic, I would say safety-first -- a new employee should avoid the risk unless she doesn't care about negative consequences.

Someone well-established in the office can openly criticize the company. She can compare the current company with competing companies, and few would question her loyalty. She can suggest many "improvements" but if I were to do the same, many would take it as lecturing and GS-superiority.
Americans like joking. Some may make jokes of a colleague's weight or marriage and it may seem to be an OK joke, but can I do the same? Absolutely not unless that person is my best friend.

As a consultant, I was told to dress in long sleeve shirts everyday. Then I saw some employees dress in T-shirts. Should I follow? If I do, some may feel I'm not showing enough respect. I should not over-dress either, coming in business suits everyday. I guess I should imitate other consultants.

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New York (Time Square), NY, United States
http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin