It can be hard to handle workplace etiquette, especially if you need your job and are scared to rock the boat. DoorMats keep their mouths shut tight when things annoy them, but may seethe inside, causing stress to their emotional and physical health. Even if you want to take a stand, it’s hard to know what to do. That’s why I’m delighted to have Richie Frieman as my guest today.

Richie is as he is known as Modern Manners Guy, through his wildly successful podcast series on, which have been downloaded over 6 million times, provides short, friendly tips to help you live a more polite life. Today he shares suggestions for how to tackle two workplace problems in ways that will empower you. Next week I’ll have two more. Here’s what he has to say”

Modern Manners Guy’s Tips for Workplace Etiquette Part I
By Richie Frieman

Should You Talk Politics at Work?
First of all, I seriously doubt you’ll ever work in a place where everyone is on the same political page. Heck, you won’t even find a workplace where everyone agrees on the best pizza in town! And we all know how heated those office debates can get. Combine pizza, politics, and passionate people and what you have is a recipe for disaster.

If you absolutely HAVE to talk politics, do it in a very small group of very close colleagues; colleagues who you regularly hang out with outside of work and who won’t be offended if your viewpoint clashes with theirs. Notice, I said “colleagues,” not bosses. Refrain from bringing up political talk with your boss at all costs! Disagreeing with the boss’ political choice is the Quick and Dirty way to end up at the bottom of the lineup.

Generally, waving the flag for a certain candidate or political cause is something you should stay away from at work. Don’t get me wrong, you should have your beliefs and act on them in off hours in any way that you see fit. But we all know that politics can really offend people. I’m sure you’ve seen this happen. Someone puts up a sign or poster advocating for one candidate and the guy in the cubicle next door is steaming mad.

So whether you work in a small, friendly, family-based office or in a huge corporation with thousands of employees, discussing politics in the office will always end up backfiring on you (unless you work for a politician). At work, it’s more important to work than to promote a certain cause. Leave that for the weekend.

What Should You Wear to Work?
Some companies scoff at the “no tie” idea whereas others would not dream of wearing a tie. So the best way to choose appropriate attire at work is to start with your company’s dress code.  The employee handbook usually has a pretty specific description of what is and what is not acceptable to wear.  Stepping outside of this dress code is not a good idea. Not only do co-workers take notice, but soon they make the dress code violator the main topic of conversation around the water cooler.  “Did you see what so-and-so was wearing today?  Can you believe that? I can’t believe no one has said anything yet!”– and that is never a good thing.  This situation can lead to resentment as well, especially if everyone feels the violator is getting away with it. Soon others will follow suit and that results in a human resources nightmare.

As a general rule, work should be a place where you dress more conservatively than in your social life.  Work is not the place to showcase anything you might remotely consider wearing when working on your suntan. In fact, as a general rule, if you plan to wear it on the beach or a hot date, you shouldn’t wear it in the office. Aside from not wearing your bathing suit to work, that generally means not wearing anything too tight or short. Drawing attention to yourself is a distraction that the workplace doesn’t need.  And not only that, it’s not good for your personal career. Whether or not it’s right, people make judgments based on how we present ourselves to the world. Wearing something that’s too tight or revealing can only harm your professional reputation.

Stick to this rule: Productive members of society–and those who wish to improve their opportunities at work– should never improve upon the visibility of their undergarments.

Take your cues from your boss or the more senior management. If you notice your boss or your boss’s boss baring their toes, then you can take that as a good indication that your new beach shoes won’t draw the ire of Human Resources. If however, your boss shows up in 120 degree weather still wearing his faithful dress shoes, then you should probably stick to your more formal footwear, too. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear your flip flops on the way into work or when you’re relaxing outside on your lunch break. Just keep a more work appropriate pair of shoes at your desk so you can change when you’re on the clock.

Check out for more great advice!

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