People Are Sharing The Unspoken Rules At Their Workplaces (20 Posts)


Office etiquette can be a complicated thing; after all, you’re trying to a whole bunch of people reasonably calm and happy.

So there’s little surprise that office culture begets some unspoken rules of the job to make life a bit more manageable. The BuzzFeed Community recently shared some of those unwritten rules. Here are some of the best.

1. The vet

“I’m a veterinarian and if your pet is super cute and friendly and we take them to the back to do bloodwork and it takes longer than you expect, it’s probably because most of us are cuddling with your fluffy super cute pet.”


2. Shh.

“Nurse here never ever say ‘QUIET.’ Shit will undoubtedly hit the fan. Superstitious I guess.”


3. Sex work

“I’m a FSSW (Full Service Sex Worker). The unwritten rule is and always has been: If you see someone you know in public, whether they’re a client or another working girl, you pretend like you don’t know them. I have been introduced to women I have worked with for YEARS and pretended it was our first meeting.”


4. Disk jokey

“Disc jockey. Always have a smile on. People can tell if you’re not happy. You may be down but you can’t share it with the audience.” 


5. Crash

“Air Traffic Controller. Unwritten rule: avoid using the word ‘crash.'”

 Peter, California

6. Remote work

“Our team works remotely and our CEO has recently developed some weird trust issues about the number of hours we work (even though it’s a small, highly collaborative team and we all work our asses off and there’s never any doubt about productivity). In response, we all just quietly do our own thing without making a big deal out of it.”

“If I need to run to the bank or the grocery store, I don’t make it known to everyone. If someone leaves early on a Friday to drive out of town, they keep an eye on stuff from their phone and don’t mention it to anyone. 

We don’t need to be babysat, and we don’t need the CEO bugging us about what we’re up to at any given moment.”


7. No booze

“Elementary school teacher here. Never under ANY circumstances have alcohol in your social media posts   not in your hand, not in your friend’s hand, not on the table, not even a glass of wine in the background. You are held to a completely different higher standard when it comes to your online presence, and honestly I think that’s kind of crap. I do an amazing job during the week in my classroom, I should be allowed to live my life on the weekend and not be heavily scrutinized for it.”


8. Crazy

“I work in a psychiatric hospital. We avoid words like ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’, even about subjects that aren’t centered around the patients. It’s just best to be careful. Those words can be very derogatory, especially in this field.”

 Hannah, Tucson

9. Finish the dough

“I’m a baker and amongst many of the consistent rules, there’s one that throws off the newbies. Work isn’t 9-5, you work until the work is done. If it’s the end of your shift and you still have dough, you gotta finish that dough.”

 Jay, California

10. Don’t touch money

“I work at a casino with over 1,500 employees. Unwritten rule: Do NOT touch found money. I was told during orientation that surveillance can zoom into money to read the number ID and can trace back money to exactly where it came from. Once I saw a $20 bill on the ground in the main hallway for over a week. One day it just disappeared. Still no idea if it was a security guard who grabbed it or some other brave soul.”


11. No notes

“As an actor, you never ever ever give notes to another actor. Even if you think they’re messing up a stage direction, but DEFINITELY not a performance-based note. If there’s an issue you take it privately to the director or stage manager as a concern, and if you’re right they’ll bring it up with them.”

“Giving direction to another actor causes major tension in the cast, and that’s an environment where it’s pretty important that everyone trusts one another. Also, you could just be outright wrong!”


12. Blind eye

“I’m a female US Air Force veteran and the military is full of unwritten rules. Some are fun, such as, when you are part of a unit in the flying world (not just pilots, but navigators, ground controllers, and other staff on flying status) and have a job that requires you to become certified to show that you can do your duties safely and independently, you gift one bottle of any alcohol to the Squadron bar (most flying units have bars built into a common room in their squadron). This can never be written into any rule, or enforced, because it is alcohol-related and the military tries very hard to hide its culture of drinking, but it is what is expected.”

“One of the more harmful unwritten rules is that, as a woman, you turn a blind eye to the sexism and sexual harassment you and other women frequently receive. Military culture relies on camaraderie and building a sense of belonging. Often times, if a female reports sexism or sexual harassment, she is ostracized, which feels devastating. So you accept it and deal with it…and it is so toxic.”


13. Cry in the walk in

“Chef. You will at some point, no matter how hard you try not to, cry in the walk-in. Never acknowledge when someone is crying in the walk-in.”

 Kelly, Pennsylvania

14. Never volunteer

“This is probably true in most professions but I am a teacher and you never volunteer to do certain things  you wait until you’re voluntold. For example if you willingly volunteer to chaperone a dance, (literally no one else wants to do it because it’s a dry-hump-fest) now you’re the person who chaperones the dances.”

“Admin will now always come to you first and now you look bad if you say no. If you never volunteered but were voluntold then it rotates and they’ll ask someone else next time. Admin will be happy with you and then you are off the hook til the next cycle. This can apply to anything from bus duty to note-keeping to sporting events.”


15. Kids

“I’m a nanny. I have *never* (wink) seen a baby’s first steps or heard their first word. They always seem to do it for their parents first, isn’t that funny? The exception to this rule is when the milestone has safety implications e.g. a baby who can roll over can’t sleep in a swaddle anymore. Parents often struggle with leaving their children all day, so I’ll let them have those special first moments   even if I saw it a week ago.”

 Aimee, Washington DC

16. Casual

“In tech, you can’t dress too nicely. In tech sales, you wear jeans, sneakers, and a sport coat to a business meeting. If you move up to a director or VP role the outfit is the same. Just now you buy the designer jeans, sneakers, and sport coat. If you wear a suit and tie you look like a newbie who is lost.”

 Corinne, Denver

17. Corporate is stupid

“Retail. There is the way corporate says to do it and how it’s actually done in practice because they have no idea how things actually function.”

 Amber, North Carolina

18. Sued

“Obstetrician and gynecologist here, recently graduated from residency. In training, we are reminded often (nearly daily) that we will inevitably be sued at least once in our careers. We are encouraged to practice ‘cover your ass’ medicine, which sometimes falls very short of appropriate care.”


19. Biologist

“Biologist. Never touch any door handle at work with your hand. You could end being infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria. Happened to me. I had to be treated with specialized antibiotics given intra-venously.”


20. Check before you call

“I work remotely in IT with data management. One unspoken rule is to ask someone in a chat message if you can call before you call them. Even if they’re green status, they may be busy working on their own thing. I usually say yes but sometimes I don’t want to break away from what I’m doing, and so the person will send a calendar invite instead to talk later. It’s polite and makes for healthier work relations.”

 Jo, Missouri