I Just Work Here

Sometimes the best advice is simple: Be nice

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Happy Birthday, I Just Work Here!

After a year of sharing workplace advice, columnist Rex Huppke has learned one thing: It's best to be nice. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / June 24, 2012)

•Watch for non-verbal cues.

•Know what your hot-buttons are and don't let them rule your behavior.

•Listen with your heart as well as your head.

It sounds simple, I know, but minor tweaks to the way we interact with others in the workplace can have far-reaching effects.

If you can't morally get on board with this concept, consider the fact that it makes good business sense.

Late last year when I interviewed Mark Murphy, CEO of the management consulting firm Leadership IQ, he said companies that have the most engaged employees are ones where bosses listen to workers, where there's a sense of trust, where creativity and intelligence are valued.

Of the hundreds of emails and comments I've gotten from frustrated and confused workers over the past year, only a handful have mentioned money. Contrary to popular belief, that's not what drives people.

The longing out there is to have a job that provides a sense of fulfillment in an atmosphere that is as supportive and convivial as possible.

But enough about you — let's get back to me for a moment.

The past year has undoubtedly been a wonderful experience for all of you. I've enjoyed it as well.

In terms of the column's impact on the American workscape, I think Maegan Zarley, director of wardrobe at a Chicago-based company called The Image Studios, said it best: " 'I Just Work Here' has enlightened America's workplace with ingenious rules and style guidelines to get even the novice corporate climber to the top."

Also unexpectedly, Oregon-based career development expert Dorothy Tannahill Moran offered this: "Rex had the good sense and taste to ask me for this anniversary comment. That means you can really trust his judgment rather than simply trading on his good looks."

Wow. I'm truly flattered by these kind words, which I most certainly did not solicit intentionally and with explicit directions.

Which leaves me with one last piece of advice before we embark on Year 2 of "I Just Work Here":

If you want something in this working world of ours, you've got to ask for it.
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