Gen Z: bad office etiquette might be holding you back at work

Good workplace etiquette is essential for career progression, according to etiquette expert Myka Meier. Meier is the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, which offers business etiquette courses to companies and individuals and teaches soft skills such as communication, dining etiquette, professional development, dressing, and grooming. In a recent interview with Business Insider, Meier shared common etiquette mistakes people make at work and provided advice on addressing these issues.

Meier emphasized that good etiquette can significantly impact one's career advancement, stating that "if you are not practicing good etiquette, your career, in my opinion, will not progress half as fast as if you are practicing good workplace etiquette." She highlighted that Gen Z, who are new to the workplace, are still learning about office etiquette and need to educate themselves on the subject.

According to Meier, certain etiquette rules are timeless and include arriving early for meetings, dressing professionally, and eating with good manners. However, the number one rule is showing respect to other people, which is essential for building positive relationships in the workplace. Meier shared a famous story about Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, who would take out job interview candidates to eat to "see how they interacted at the dinner table," Meier said. "Did they treat the servers well? Because if not, that's how they are going to treat their team.  "Could they eat a meal correctly and respectfully to the other people around the table? Because that's how they are going to be eating in front of a client. That was his test," she said.

Meier also noted that some workers have forgotten how to act at work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a demand for her courses at an all-time high. She highlighted that not only obvious offenses like eating a smelly lunch and dressing too casually but also major companies, including KPMG and Deloitte, have said their newest recruits lack important soft skills due to taking virtual classes in college. These skills include struggling with making eye contact, collaborating with colleagues in the office, and presenting in person.

Overall, Meier emphasized the importance of good workplace etiquette for career advancement and suggested that Gen Z should educate themselves on office etiquette to succeed in their careers.  

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