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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Golden Rules of the Workplace

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

daughter of the Old-Timer


I have worked for the same company a little over 35 years, and the vast majority of that time I’ve been a member of the human resources team. I’ve learned a lot in that time, and wish I knew “back then” early in my career what I know now, toward the end of my full-time working years.

It may surprise some of you to know that my first full-time job after college graduation was right here on these same newspaper pages, as a sort of “Girl Friday” for a year in the Peshtigo Times office. I used my Journalism degree and did a little of whatever needed to be done, and in a strange twist of irony, it was my high-speed typing skills from setting newsprint that got me my next job. And that turned into my 35 year career! So thank you to the Peshtigo Times for tolerating me before I learned all these good things I know now.

1. Like you can’t pick your family, you can’t pick your coworkers. But it will make YOUR life and your employer’s life better if you do your best to be respectful and get along in the workplace. If you hold personal views that conflict, don’t talk about those topics. Toward the top of the list would be religion and politics. Your coworkers don’t have to be your friends, but your employer has value for a peaceful workplace. Do your best to contribute to that goal.

2. Arrive on time, and be willing to stay late when necessary. Be that “go to” person who can be counted on. When the day comes, as it inevitably will, that you need some time away, it will be gratefully given. Abuse the goodwill of your employer, and expect that at some point when you DO really need time away, it will become an issue. That will seem unfair to you, but you have painted yourself into this corner.

3. Try to be upbeat and reasonably cheerful. All of us have a bad day from time to time, or go through the hard times of family problems or illnesses, but in large workplaces there always seems to be a handful of people who live under a permanent raincloud. (I have a term for these people but it can’t be printed.) Their lives are endless drama and conflict and they choose to let everyone at work know about it. If you need to ventilate go ahead and do it - with your friends, away from the workplace. “TMI,” or “too much (personal) information,” is not appropriate at work.

4. At work, it’s not all about you.

5. Appreciate the good points of your workplace. If you don’t see any good points, do your best at the job while looking for a new place to work. Life is too short to be miserable every working minute. I truly and deeply believe this.

To the entire Peshtigo Times staff, I send my sympathy on the loss of Mike Gardon. I enjoyed working with Mike “way back when,” and remember his dry sense of humor, his endless good-natured teasing and his kind nature. Mike lived my “rules for a good workplace” all the time.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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