after a week of getting perpetually lost on the pothole-ridden interstates/turnpikes/routes of what i will call the armpit of america (a.k.a. new jersey), i had the pleasure of sitting next to a fellow "consultant" on my way home that had clearly downed a few too many drinks before takeoff. it was this experience that prompted me to believe that as we usher in a new year, we all might benefit from a short etiquette refresher.
a few gentle reminders for starting off the new year:
1. it's probably not a good idea to divulge the dollar amount of your contract, your client's name, and your company's name out loud...especially in a plane.
2. if you have the luxury of either an aisle or window seat, try to share the arm rest with the poor soul that got the middle seat.
3. it's very tempting to stash both your backpack/laptop bag and your rollerboard in the overhead compartments. but in reality, this is stealing space from our fellow consultants who simply want to avoid checking their roller boards. what goes around, comes around. please, let's follow the rules on this one and utilize the space underneath the seat in front of us to store our smaller bags, ok?
4. try not to stare at your neighbors' laptop or paperwork. some of us still haven't purchased screen guards. additionally, don't make comments about what you have seen on your neighbor's laptop or paperwork. this only makes your lapse in judgment even worse.
5. if you think your breath might be in question, then it probably is. buy some gum or mints before boarding, and indulge in them regularly. if you're feeling especially generous, offer these to your fellow seat mates. this will ensure you don't have to smell your neighbors' meal deal #4: the hot dog and onion special.
6. naps are definitely a consultant's best friend. but drooling on your neighbor's shoulder isn't cool.
7. if you are a biggie, try skipping a meal or two. nobody enjoys being suffocated by someone else's arm fat.
8. always be nice to the flight attendants and gate agents, even if you're at your threshold for being irritated or mad. they have memories of elephants.
9. use your "inside voice" when you're on conference calls with family/clients/friends. nobody wants to hear about the medical appointment you have tomorrow or the huge hangover you had this morning or the fight you had with your signifigant other. really.
10. smile more often. it's disarming and makes people feel good. :)