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When Dorm Rats Become Suits - Cubicle Etiquette for 20 Somethings

It's graduation time, and a bunch of you will be giving up the late to bed, late to rise lifestyle and entering the wonderful world of 9 to 5. Just like you dreamed about since you were a kid.

In case you don't end up working for a Web 2.0 company - where the dress code is slacker chic and the office rules are basically anything goes as long as you don't burn the place down - you'll need some tips for surviving the corporate minefield.

Life skills and career coach Nicholas Aretakis, who specializes in mentoring college students, recent grads, and young adults early in their careers, has given some key advice on "cube etiquette":

1 - Control the Volume of Your Voice. Unless you got hired as a sportscaster, talk at a moderate volume when on the phone and with coworkers. It's not the library -- but it's not a frat party either.

2 - Keep Personal Phone Calls Brief. If you have to make or receive a non-business call, do it away from where others are working.

3 - Turn Your Cell Phone Ring to Low or to Vibrate. Also, consider changing your ring tone to something neutral and businesslike. You don't want Jay-Z asking the whole office to "Show Me What You Got".

4 - Don't Eavesdrop. If you can't help it due to the proximity of your desk, at least don't join in conversations you're not part of. Johnson doesn't want to hear your opinion on his son's sudden desire to play with dolls.

5 - Be Respectful of Shared Spaces. Dispose of Food Containers in the Cafeteria or Break Room. Old pizza boxes in your dorm room may have been fine with your roommate, (they actually helped mask the smell of your laundry), but a week's worth of Taco Bell wrappers festering in your waste basket might upset some of your co-workers nearby. And not so nearby.

6 - Use Discretion with Your Cubicle Decor. Your workspace is a three-D business card. So think twice about those Jenna Jameson video posters and your Satan bobble head.

7 - Don't Get Drunk on Business Trips. Remember that you're an ambassador for your company on the road. And that kiss-ass from accounting going with you isn't nicknamed "Eyes and Ears" for nothing. Save the shots of Cuervo for the weekend.

8 - Don't IM, Surf, or Social Network on the Job. Save all nonjob-related online activities for home. Don't forget that your boss has the right to monitor your emails. Meaning that comment from GeekVyxen69 concerning a bottle of Jager, some USB cable, and her "naughty little hub-boy" can become corporate knowledge.

9 - Don't Engage with Chatty Coworkers. They'll waste more of your time than a Baldwin brothers film festival. Politely tell them that you're on a deadline and will find time to talk later.

10 - Don't Procrastinate. All-nighter for the Econ 101 mid-term, fine. All-nighter for your sales presentation tomorrow, not fine. Keep your inbox -- on your desk and in your computer -- empty.

11 - Don't Gossip. Leave that to Perez Hilton. Gossip is toxic and will always come back to bite you in the ass. (Same for Perez Hilton.)

12 - Be Reliable. Say what you'll do, and then do it. Having a reputation as a party animal may have won you the respect of the guy in the frat house, and half the sororities on campus, but having a reputation for reliability is the best way to win the respect of coworkers and your boss.

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