Unwritten Rules

David Wagner, Managing Editor | 4/28/2014 | 31 comments

David Wagner
A recent kerfuffle in baseball raises an interesting question about how we all interact in the workplace. The tiff stems from players breaking baseball's code of unwritten rules.

You might laugh, but every community has unwritten rules. For instance, is it normal to let people off the elevator before you enter it? What do you do with your toilet seat or toothpaste cap? That depends on who lives with you, right? Unless you live in a very strange place, the rules aren't written down, but they're known.

In a recent game against the rival Boston Red Sox, Michael Pineda, a pitcher for the New York Yankees placed pine tar on his neck, so that he could coat the ball with the tar in order to grip it better. Putting pine tar on the ball is explicitly illegal. However, after the game, A.J. Pierzynski of the Red Sox told ESPN:

Guys do it. I don't have a problem with guys doing it as a hitter, especially on a night where it's cold and windy. Put it on your hat, put it on your pants. Put it on your belt. Put it on your glove. Whatever you've got to do. But at some point you can't do it that blatantly. I think that's what the biggest issue was. No one has an issue with him doing it, but that it was so blatant.

Really? It isn't the cheating but that he flaunted it? The Red Sox were entirely willing to overlook the written rule about the pine tar, but they had Pineda inspected (the rule says you have to ask the umpire to inspect the offending player) because he broke the unwritten rule.

It got me to thinking. I've covered IT for a long time, but I don't hang out daily in IT departments. Are there unwritten IT rules? There must be. As I said, every community has them.

There are unwritten E2 rules -- don't be unprofessional in your comments, don't spam the chat rooms, and countless others. Societies and pocket communities work the rules out almost without ever discussing them. And it isn't just etiquette. Often the unwritten rules are about making things work their best.

So what are the unwritten rules in IT that I don't know about? What are the penalties for breaking them? Comment below.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Taimoor Zubair   Unwritten Rules   5/14/2014 11:50:27 AM
food dude!
An unwritten rule at my workplace, which is rather interesting is that the person who is late, even if just by two minutes has to get everyone else shawarmas (the arabian sandwiches) ! Sometimes we find ourselves hoping for someone to be late at least.
batye   Unwritten Rules   5/6/2014 1:05:47 AM
Re: Boss' rule
most Co. this days where I worked or have interaction with as contract employee... have this rule Boss is always right... if not look up the rule - Boss is always right..sad Corporate reality... unless you working in/with startup...
Susan Fourtané   Unwritten Rules   5/3/2014 1:14:56 AM
Writing the unwritten rules
Dave, 

"Unless you live in a very strange place, the rules aren't written down, but they're known."

What if I write the unwritten rules to my place? That would be super fun. Then I can hand in the written unwritten rules card to visitors when they come for tea. :D

-Susan 
User Ranking: Blogger
Susan Fourtané   Unwritten Rules   5/3/2014 12:42:00 AM
Re: Boss' rule
mitch-mitch, 

" . . . she edited a line and made a statement that was correct, um, incorrect.  When I went to my director saying I was going to change it back, he said...(those famous words)."

Some bosses seem to find some kind of delight correcting something that has no error for some other incorrect thing. In some cases it might be to justify that they are the boss, therefore, they have the last word. However, this is not always the case. 

If we stop and wonder for a minute why this is so common everywhere we could start trying to analyze what your director do: Nothing. Your director let the wrong thing continue its course. This is probably going to affect someone, right? A supplier? A customer? A consumer? You at some point? Me? Who?

Now, who is to blame? You CIO who might live truly thinking she is right? Your director who shouldn't be in that position because he is not a good link between you and your CIO? You because you chose to do nothing as your director told you do because you fear to go and face your CIO? 

There is a possibility that she didn't know it was incorrect. Many people live believing things that are not correct are correct. Most of the times this is because no one tells them that thing is incorrect. No one corrects them. Just like your director did, they let pass errors others in a higher position make and the errors happily continue being repeated over and over again. 

There is no way they can correct themselves. Next time she finds a similar case she will make the same mistake. This will happen until someone on some sunny day dares to tell her she is wrong in what she is doing. 

You might be surprised as she thanks you for letting her know and in that way avoid others to see she made a mistake. You see? :) Most importantly, as the error is corrected no one is going to be affected. :D

-Susan
User Ranking: Blogger
mitch-mitch   Unwritten Rules   5/2/2014 2:57:28 PM
Boss' rule
The one I seem to dislike the most is "The boss is always right".  A project document I prepared was distributed to the CIO, she edited a line and made a statement that was correct, um, incorrect.  When I went to my director saying I was going to change it back, he said...(those famous words).  UGH!
David Wagner   Unwritten Rules   4/30/2014 12:03:57 PM
Re: Changing of the rules
@kstaron- That's annoying. Any business where colleagues don't know each other as people is bound to fail. The worst part about it is that a manager having an unwritten rule about that just makes an atmosphere of fear. At the very least that should be made clear.
David Wagner   Unwritten Rules   4/30/2014 12:03:57 PM
Re: Changing of the rules
@kstaron- That's annoying. Any business where colleagues don't know each other as people is bound to fail. The worst part about it is that a manager having an unwritten rule about that just makes an atmosphere of fear. At the very least that should be made clear.
impactnow   Unwritten Rules   4/30/2014 11:26:21 AM
Re: Changing of the rules
It's very true, every manager has their own unwritten rules that suit their work culture. Sometimes it works many times it doesn't because employees are already part of another set of unwritten rules. Changing the rules is difficult especially when they have been in place a long time.

 
kstaron   Unwritten Rules   4/30/2014 11:18:39 AM
Changing of the rules
I remember once when a managerial change came around the unwritten rules changed. The previous manager encouraged us to tlak among ourselves not only about project we were working on but about our lives in general our hobbies our kids and such. Her idea was that if we are friendly with each oter when we worked together we'd do a better job, we'd be more likely to go to each other about work issues, and in general be more productive. It worked well and we were really more like a family than just coworkers. It made us a good team. 

Post managerial change I was talking with the coworker next to me about kids for a few minutes since he'd just had his first. We got dinged by the new manager because we weren't talking about work. That manager had unwritten rules about efficiency, so taking a few minutes to catch up wasn't in her rule set. We all had to adjust to the new set.
impactnow   Unwritten Rules   4/30/2014 10:33:35 AM
Re: Who ? and
Nemos the thing about these unwritten rules are they are rarely logical. Its very frustrating when you are a newbee and you break one of these unwritten rules, there is both frustration and embarrassment. I wish that you were handed and unwritten rule handbook when you started a new job.
Page 1 / 4   >   >>


The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from David Wagner
David Wagner   5/30/2014   21 comments
For almost three and a half years I have had the pleasure and real privilege to write the Geekend for you every Friday. Fortunately, that privilege isn't ending, it is just moving to our ...
David Wagner   5/23/2014   69 comments
Most of us have gone through the pain of losing a beloved pet. Maybe you lived a long and happy life together, and it died peacefully. Maybe it was tragically struck down by a car or a ...
David Wagner   5/22/2014   47 comments
It is a rare thing when you find me advocating for the government to get more involved in regulating technology, but when it comes to the Internet of Things, that is what I'm advocating. ...
David Wagner   5/21/2014   13 comments
E2 has long trumpeted the days when 3D printers would sit on our desks and print prototypes, consumer goods, and even body parts right from our desk, but a new cloud manufacturing company ...
David Wagner   5/16/2014   40 comments
With Disney's success with the Avengers franchise, geeks everywhere are being treated to an outrageously large number of TV shows and movies based on comic book superhero characters. For ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
[email protected]
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
SPONSORED BY DELL
CASE STUDIES
EBOOKS
PUBLIC SECTOR RESOURCES
VIDEOS
WHITE PAPERS
WINDOWS SERVER 2012 RESOURCES
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video


On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments


Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments


The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments


TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments


Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments


IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments


TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments


TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments


The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments


Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments


New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments


The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments


We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments


Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments


Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments


Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments


On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments


Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments


A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments


VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments


Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments


Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments


Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments


The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.