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Friday, August 26, 2011

What Not to Do at Work: 10 Tips for Recent Grads

In this tough economy landing a job can be challenging, but once you find one it is a true blessing. Congratulations you can now somewhat relax because there are no more sweat mark circles under your armpits. You're officially on your way to staring a new career. You've got a suit that fits you perfectly, several blouses or shirts to mix and match your way into getting comfortable in your new office chair. There's just a few things to point out that will keep you on the right track, and not land you in the "hot seat."

Chere Thomas knows a thing or two about keeping her job. When discussing how her co-workers got fired she stated, "At my company we are reimbursed for mileage when we drive for work related assignments. One person decided to pad their mileage to and from an assignment and it cost them their job when their travel expenses were audited. They stayed at the same hotel as everyone else and claimed an additional 10 miles to the assignment a day. They basically lost their job for 50 extra dollars."

Besides the obvious of coming in late without communicating to your supervisor, or leaving work early without approval, there are other ways of getting "the boot."

1. Ringtone - Make a custom ringtone for work, not a popular song or jingle, but basic ringtone. Better yet turn your phone on vibrate at work, because you really shouldn't be answering it anyway while on the job.

2. Relationships - Do your best to keep your relationships professional. The line of inappropriateness can easily be crossed so be cautious.

3. Grooming - Clip your fingernails at home, not on the job. If you have an office mate then believe you me, she/he doesn't want to see your fingernail clippings sprinkled all over the floor like confetti.

4. Manners - "Yes Ma'am" and "No Sir" are proper and appropriate phrases to use the first day on the job to your well-seasoned colleagues. Once he/she tells you to call them by their first name, then follow their advice. Until then, stay on your best behavior.

5. Pay attention - Be sure to observe more than you talk, during the first week of your new job. Your new to the environment, and want to make sure that you don't cross any murky waters early on by saying something outlandish.

6. Think before you click: Never tweet or post anything negative about yourself or your job to your social netowork. With today's technology, people can tweet the wrong thing and be fired, not hired, or convey an image detrimental to their reputation and career. Google yourself often and find out what's out there about you, because these days most people are Googleable.

Danielle Howard, Senior Consultant at a Fortunate 500 Company stated, "Remember there's not "I" in Team, but there is an "I" in promotion. It's not about working hard but about working smart. A lot of people don't keep track of a running tab of their success at work. When it comes time for a review you should have a good understanding of your value, remember you are your own biggest advocate." She provided a couple of more tips on what not to do on the job.

7. Flirting - Hitting on your co-workers is inappropriate and can make or break your ability to be seen as a professional.

8. Drinking on the job - Taking longer than one hour lunches or participating in an early "happy hour" is out of the question.

9. Social Media - Using social media at work while in a meeting or while you should be working makes your productivity questionable.

10. Movies - Downloading bootleg movies or songs on the companies PC, and looking at porn in never OK.

What's the craziest thing a co-worker has ever done that got them in the "hot seat?" What not to do at work?


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  1. Discussions concerning politics, religion, race can often lead to divisions among coworkers and clients. Those conversations are best left to general terms or unsaid.

  2. What not to do at work includes making judgments about co-workers when talking to other co-workers or the Boss, dressing down, way down even if it's
    a Friday. Never floss during a meeting and please don't get too personal with others. It may come back to haunt you. I learned the hard way.

  3. Good points! I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way, but glad you shared these helpful tips with us! Thank you!

  4. Good article! I would add that email forwards and chain letters to coworkers can also be inappropriate. Some topics you find funny may be offensive to others. My manager sent me a "joke" email and it made me feel extremely awkward. Also, don't always decline to socialize with co-workers when they invite you out for drinks. After a certain point you may isolate yourself and miss out on job related opportunities. Remember while out with co-works to not over drink! Even if you drink juice or soda the "face time" is key