In Good company at work

By: Stanislaus Jude Chan

In Good Company is a refreshing comedy, rallying againstcorporate treachery and mass globalisation. Behind the laughs,the Hollywood blockbuster carries some important lessons for thefirst days on your new job!

First Impressions

Why do actors get typecast? Keanu Reeves finds it easier toshake off a legion of demons than his Neo character inConstantine; Bruce Willis dies hard even as a doting father inUnbreakable; and Cameron Diaz by any other name is still assweet. Because it saves the director some very precious screentime presenting a character to the audience. Need to portray amiddle-aged advertising sales manager who has dedicated 20 yearsto the job? Dennis Quaid fits the bill perfectly. And one lookat Topher Grace already prepares you for his hilarious renditionof a whiny and inexperienced marketing whiz kid.

What first impressions do you create? People typically make uptheir minds about you two minutes after shaking your hand.That's 120 seconds. Or approximately the time it takes to digyour nose in public - which, incidentally, kills your image andis a huge no-no. Make the effort to wake earlier on your firstday, arrive 10 minutes ahead of time, and dress sharper thanusual. First impressions last, and you do not want to beremembered for the cabbage in between your teeth.

After Work Fun

Dan Foreman shows off some fancy moves when his advertisingsales team takes to the court in the department basketballmatch. Determined to prove he is a winner, despite hisconsiderable age, he inadvertently injures himself in theprocess. While we snigger at the pre-historic Dan, this episodeshows how you, too, can score points outside the office.

Many companies have formal or informal after-hour activities,ranging from football games to a couple of drinks at the nearestwatering hole. These are excellent opportunities to bond withthe new colleagues. Get involved, but do not overdo it. As inall things, moderation is the key. You do not want to end upwith a cast on your arm, nor insanely inebriated after happyhour.

Personal Business

We see Dan taking his daughter Alex out for a game of tennisduring office hours, which could be acceptable - or not,depending on company policy. But when Carter Duryea takes theabovementioned out for lunch, stares smitten at her photographon his computer monitor, and starts a relationship with her,alarm bells go off.

Studies reveal that most of us are guilty of sneaking in someamount of personal business on company time: Checking email,buying stuff online, instant messaging. The aim is to keep theseprivate distractions to a minimum and stay focussed on work. Twomore rules here. Number one: You do not start dating thedaughter of the man whose job you are taking over. And numbertwo: You do not violate rule number one. Such romances onlyserve to complicate matters and are advised against, especiallyon the first day of the job!

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