The workplace is dominated by you would treat everyone as your equal.

In relationships and the “rules of engagement” are exactly the same as social situations with one dramatic difference: hierarchy. Despite forward thinking companies like Google doing their best to create an open and even playing field for employees, no company would function well as a democracy. Decisions need to be made and people need to carry out the work associated with these decisions, so a hierarchy tends to be the best method of making things work like clockwork. Even if there’s no obvious stated hierarchy — it’s there. Just try throwing your weight around a bit and ruffling feathers and you’ll find out pretty quickly your place in the pecking order.

In a social situation relationships are basically more equal. Perhaps some factors like age or sex may create differences, but in general the workplace there is probably someone (or many) above you and others under you. So how do the gentlemen act in such a situation? Well aside from taking into account the hierarchy — exactly the same. You should treat everyone in general as you would like to be treated. There are some aspects of business etiquette that are worth thinking about.

It may be fine for your boss to call you “Tony” (assuming your name actually is Tony), but calling him “John” rather than “Mr. Smith” isn’t appropriate unless he (or she’s) given you permission to do so. If you’ve been given the “We don’t stand on formality here; we’re all on a first name basis at XYZ Corp,” then accept that. If not, then Mr. or Miss or Mrs. is the correct way to address your superior. A gentleman (as you should be aware — should always look sharp), but in most workplaces, you’ll find there is already some form of dress code — so follow it. The rule of thumb is it’s okay to dress a notch above what everyone else is wearing. But just a notch. You want to fit in and not look too “slick.” Of course, this is a shifting scale depending on what industry you work in and where it is. If you’re an associated in a blue-chip New York law firm then you’re going to need to power dress. If you’re a real estate professional in a provincial town — then you need to dress in an appropriate way to fit with your clients.

You must look your best when required. It’s ok to take off your jacket and roll up your sleeves on a hot day and get down to work, but when clients come in or you’re called away to a meeting with executives, put your jacket back on.

Whatever you wear — wear it well.

If you fall out with a friend — then you can give it some time away — or simply not see them again. Not so with people you work with every day. They are going to be there every morning you go to the office until you or they move on to another posi- tion. A gentleman tries to get along with anyone, and keep work interactions at an entirely profes- sional level. Always be polite but firm. Avoid any potentially controversial topics of conversation like politics or religion. Avoid dating anyone from the workplace unless this is someone you connect with like no other! Basically keep your professional and personal life separate.

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