My Last Day at Work
Office Etiquette 1
On June 16, 2020 my supervisor and I stood in the parking lot waving at one another. Before we got into our cars we congratulated one another because we hadn’t cried. It was my last day working as a Student Engagement Advisor. I was not layed off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my work term had come to an end.
I had worked as a TA for my unit before so I knew most of the people already. I didn’t know them as well as I do now. On my first day, there was a plant in my office (that I eventually killed) from my supervisor. I was asked multiple times what the correct pronunciation of my name was (I appreciated this, they did get it right.. every single one of them..the short form, but that’s a pass too!). I was introduced to other staff members and trained by the Director of the Student Success Centre, since my supervisor was in a conference. It was a good day. I pored through documents to determine what my job would really be like. I had no idea!
It was a roller coaster with days when we needed to have high energy levels, run around campus, get things done, and stay sane. Then there were days when I needed to do a presentation, rush back to my office for a meeting, set up for an event, head to a promotion table, get to another meeting, clean up after an event, and then prepare for the next day. Finally, there were days when my appointments didn’t show up, which gave me unsolicited free time that I initially didn’t like but I learned to accept.
It all came to an end on June 16th 2020. My supervisor got me cinnamon buns, she got me doughnuts last week. I got a black panther necklace from my team mate (he rocks!), a gift card to buy books, and we had a zoom meeting to say goodbye. I realized that they knew me rather well. I love books, I appreciate doughnuts and cinnamon buns (especially if they are bought for me), and I presented a conference paper on Black Panther (I have a strong connection to the movie!). I enjoyed working with my unit. It wasn’t all a bed of roses, but it was a great environment to be in.
I realized that I was true to myself throughout my term. I also think I was a great employee and co-worker and we all brought out the best in one another.
Here are some tips that I want to remember and continue practicing:
- Do your work: Apart from doing my work and completing tasks on time. I tried as much as possible to be excited about tasks. I was excited to get things done and produce stellar work. I did not try to con others into doing what I could do. I also went out of my way to do things that I didn’t need to do, like manning the front desk when the administrative team was short staffed.
- Smile: I love people and the fact that my face is very expressive helps me show how much I love people. I love meeting new people and having the weirdest conversations. I didn’t intentionally think to smile often, frankly it’s my personality to smile and laugh sometimes even when it’s not appropriate, but I do know that smiling lifts my spirits and others too.
- Dress well: There’s something about dressing appropriately and well that elevates your mood, posture, and confidence. I prepared what I would wear the next day before going to bed. Sometimes, I would try different combinations on before going to bed! Wearing clothes that fit in with our policies and regulations made me feel good and feel like I fit right in. Also, dressing up sets you up to be taken for meetings, even in the president’s office with no reservations from your boss or supervisor.
4. Culture — snacks and treats: I loved the snack culture at my office. I loved how often we had snacks especially on days when I did not pack lunch when I worked there as a student. As a full-time employee, I loved being able to contribute snacks too. On my first day, I brought snacks in and the director said “you brought snacks, you will fit right in!” I loved it when we had snacks and I showed my gratitude and appreciation for them as well. It got to a point where one of my co-workers would bake treats just for me!
5. Share: It took me a while to start sharing personal information but I did start in bits and pieces. I think sharing is subjective and I ordinarily wouldn’t encourage it unless you trust the party you’re sharing with. My unit comprised of mums and young adults and it was hard not to share because they shared stories of their children, events, and past with me easily and constantly. It felt like we were a family and once I got comfortable, I shared too.
6. Ask/Tell: If you are unsure about something, ask. I know there were days when my supervisor may have been tired of me hurrying to her office to ask questions or her opinion. Asking questions shows that you take things seriously and you care about the outcome. It is better to be irritating when you ask questions than to seem foolish after assuming or making a mistake. If you do something that you feel uncomfortable about or feels wrong, tell your boss about it. Don’t try to cover up mistakes. Owning up to your mistakes takes a lot of courage, but shows that you have integrity.
At this time, there are so many people that are out of jobs due to the covid-19 pandemic. I hope we all remember to be kind in this season. I have been out of a job for a week and it’s a struggle. I’m trying really hard not to stress myself too much with tasks and worthy endeavors. For some, they may be trying hard to fill up their schedule. I know God will make a way in his own time. I am learning to trust in his goodness.
I will continue with my reflections next week. Thank you for reading this. Please clap and share!