Most of us have common sense. At least, I think we do! Common sense tells us that we can't show up to work in our pajamas, take a day off without permission, or borrow our co-workers car without her knowledge. However, there are certain things that we shouldn't really do at work that many of us do, either because we don't pay attention to what we're doing or because we don't realize how it looks. Here are 9 top things never to do at work.
1. Look Sloppy
Most of us know better than to show up in sweats, but your favorite worn out sweater with picks all over it or your scuffed up flats that lost their shine two years ago should be in the same category as sweats. A good rule to follow is to never dress better than your boss, but never worse. You can find that happy medium. Black is always safe and in order to keep it from looking too much like a funeral you can add pops of color here and there. And don't get sloppy with your attitude either. You may have been at your workplace for the past five years but that doesn't earn you the right to walk all over others! Treat them the way you would want to be treated!
2. Using Office Time for Personal Time
This includes texting, calling friends, emailing, or working on your menu for next week. Unless you have permission to do these things or you work in an office where you do nothing but stare at the wall and arrange the paper clips into odd shapes all day, these things are not acceptable. I was blessed with a very understanding boss at the last public job I worked. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) was deployed and we only got a certain amount of time to talk on the phone per week. Usually it was on a weekday early in the morning. My boss gave me permission to slip outside and take his calls anytime of the day! I realize that may not be possible with every job, but never assume you have permission. Ask for it, and if it's not given, do your best to keep a cool attitude about it.
3. Personal Hygiene Routines
Clipping or filing your nails, flossing your teeth, applying makeup, and tweezing random hairs should all be done at home on your personal time. Besides the fact that it's unprofessional, your co-workers probably don't want to witness your grooming routine first hand. If it's an absolute emergency, at least go into the bathroom where you can do it in private.
4. No "Overcommitting"
Only commit to what you can do. Trying to take on more than you know you can handle in order to impress your boss or get that promotion can be viewed as admirable, but there are two things to look at here. You over commit and then aren't able to deliver and the project goes out of schedule potentially leading to failure and demotion/loss of job. If that's not the case, then this might be: You over commit and stress yourself out to the max putting personal relationships and relaxation time on the line. You make your deadline, but then your boss is going to assume you are always capable of this kind of delivery and then you're going to have pressure on you constantly to work in overdrive.
5. Nix the Personal Relationships
Sleeping with your boss may get you promoted, but it can get sticky. What if he expects you to continue the favors in order to keep your position? Or maybe he holds it over your head. And it's the same story for co-workers. If it doesn't quite work out, you have the awkwardness of seeing each other on a daily basis. And if it does work out, you've got to find the balance of work and relationships. Not to mention the possible competitiveness to each other for promotions or jealousy issues with other co-workers. Summing it up, there's nothing wrong with being BFF's with the copy girl but keep it down low with the guy in the next cubby over.
6. Never Show up Sick
You may be desperate to get more hours in or let your boss see how committed you are, but everyone else in the office isn't desperate to catch your cold! If you just have a mild case of allergies or a little sniffle, that may be no reason to lay at home and watch movies all day but a violent case of the flu is definitely something to leave on the couch. Just think how you would feel if someone showed up sneezing and coughing germs everywhere or making runs to the restroom every 10 minutes. Gross, right?
7. Spread Gossip
We'll never get completely away from office chit chat and the latest scoop, but that doesn't mean you have to be the one dishing it! Or even listening in. Rumors are hurtful and could get in the way of your work ethic or slow down your goals. No one likes to be talked about anyway so try to make friends instead of enemy's. It will take you a lot farther!
8. Abusing Office Privileges
I've already mentioned making personal calls and sending emails out, but there's more to abusing office privileges then just using the copy machine or telephone. Showing up 5 minutes late or clocking out 5 minutes early, taking and extra 20 minutes on lunch, chit chatting it up with your co-workers while you have customers on hold-all these things can be constituted to abusing office privileges. Of course, I understand that some days just don't work out as well as others and some of us have more understanding bosses but that doesn't mean you can't give yourself a check up every so often.
9. Being Irresponsible
If you want to keep your job and go anywhere with it, it's important to be thorough and complete in everything you do and how you do it. From appearances to deadlines and common courtesy, dedication, understanding, willingness to help and knowing when to say no, being punctual and using your head smarts, all these things will get you to the top and more importantly keep you there. Don't be rude and don't take advantage of others. Treat people the way you would want to be treated and try to be patient. Remember everyone has bad days! Be an example co-worker!
Different jobs of course have different standards and protocol. But nearly every job has the same general need. That would be the need for you to do what you're supposed to do! What are some of the things that you think you should never do at work?
Top Photo Credit: ~ielle~ ilarialuciani.com