Last week Richie Frieman, who is known as Modern Manners Guy, answered two workplace etiquette questions that are commonly asked in Workplace Etiquette Part I.  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’s back to answer two more questions. Here’s what he has to say:

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

Should You Discuss Salaries at Work?

The fact of the matter is that if you actually knew what your coworkers made, it would probably create a bad situation in the office. Whether from bitterness or pride, resentments would form and that would lead to tension. And that’s bad for business. If you were supposed to know how much another person made at your company, the employee handbook would not specifically state that you should NOT discuss salaries. There is an actual, valid reason for this rule. It’s not just a power trip by management to control you.

If you have ever managed a group of people, you know that salaries are not always equal to talent. There is disparity due to any number of reasons such as demand for the job, number of years of experience, contacts, etc. You still might wonder how much your colleagues are making and if you are being treated fairly, but just work hard and do your best to make sure you are being paid what you are worth. Don’t worry about things you don’t know or cannot control and focus on your own job performance.

How to Handle Annoying Coworkers?

Working with other people can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience…unless a few of those people don’t follow proper manners and spoil the atmosphere for everyone else. Here’s how to deal with the most egregious office etiquette offenders:

The Space Invader: When a coworker busts into your cubical or office, blocking your way and disturbing your productivity, the best thing to do is to create a sound defense. When you know that the office invader is coming, make your area non-welcoming. Place your purse, your jacket, or an extra stack of papers on the extra chair or the open space on your desk so they can’t park in it for hours. You might also mention that you have to take a call in a few minutes and when that “time” comes, hop on the phone, dismissing them with a smile and mouthing, “I’ll catch up with you later.”

The Loud Musician: Many people love to have music playing in their work areas, but what happens when the lack of manners becomes the soundtrack of the day? When your neighbor starts blasting her Kenny Rogers greatest hits CD, you can handle this in two ways. You can politely ask the offender to turn down their music, or suggest they switch to headphones. Feel free to remind them that headphones have come a long way over the years and they are more comfortable and stylish than ever.

The Loud Phone Caller: Last week, Shawn and Gretchen broke up. Gretchen begged Shawn not to leave her but Shawn, who works on Wall Street trading energy stocks, whose family is from Connecticut but went to school in Florida, has decided to move on. I learned all this because my colleague Gretchen has chatted with and cried for Shawn every day–over the phone–for two months. And he still won’t commit? What is he thinking? One day last week their phone fight could be heard seven rows away. Now, I get that you might have to have personal phone conversations during the workday, but just remember that if you don’t have an office door you can close, other people will be subjected to your private calls.

If you’re the one having to listen to someone yelling, crying, or loudly telling their best friend about the new person they are dating or the colonoscopy she just had last week, it’s essential to nip this in the bud quickly. This situation can affect not just your productivity, but your reputation as well—if you’re on a business call and the person on the other end can hear Gretchen weeping about being on a break with Shawn, that’s never good for business.

You need to take that person aside and let them know they are speaking way too loudly and even becoming an embarrassment. If it takes you having to be their shoulder to cry on for the moment, do it for the sake of your fellow coworkers. They’ll appreciate it. Plus, someone had to tell Gretchen that Shawn has also been seeing Abby in marketing for the past three weeks anyway.

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