Playground Rules Apply in the Workplace

Playground > Real World.

Remember the good ole days of elementary and middle school? Do you also remember the set of unwritten rules you had to live by? Don’t wear the same thing as another girl. Being BFF’s means you have to do everything together. No cutting and no saving seats, but you can try. Well the office doesn’t operate very differently than the playground. Here are some old school rules to live by.


If she was her best friend first, she will stay that way.

Be careful whom you trust at work. Just like in the schoolyard, there are going to be alliances. I once got seriously burned by talking badly about my boss to a co-worker, but because she was better friends with my boss than she was with me, the news got back the boss. In this case, it’s probably better to only talk about work to people who don’t work with you (or never have). Oh, and never talk about your boss!

Today’s gossip but tomorrow’s old news.

Just like in 6th grade, if you screw up or embarrass yourself it might feel like it is a big deal today but tomorrow no one will really remember. So just hold your head up high and get through it. Also, remember these moments are the best learning experiences you can get.

Switching schools doesn’t have to mean goodbye.

Always stay in contact with co-workers that have left your office and be sure to keep up the relationships if you quit. Networking goes a long way. With sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, there’s no excuse not to stay in touch.

“Promise you won’t tell” usually means they will.

If you have a secret at work that you need to keep, don’t tell anyone at work, especially if it has to do with work! People who promise they won’t tell anyone are often the first ones to spread gossip, so if you have big news keep it to yourself or only share it with your true BFF co-worker.

The bigger kids make all the rules.

Waterfall, Skimie, Catchie. These were all different terms for rules that varied for the same game – Handball. Everybody likes to play the game his or her way and everyone has a preference. The rules are made by the big kids, simply because they are big kids. Oh yeah, and they can change the rules anytime they want. Why? Because they are the big kids. The same rules apply for work. The boss and your superiors are the big kids and they make the rules. End of story. Don’t argue and don’t try to do it your way unless they give you permission. But here’s the bright side: you will be a big kid one day soon!


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One Response to Playground Rules Apply in the Workplace

  1. Lauren says:

    I love this article! The advice is so true and I like the analogy. Very creative and helpful.

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