Top 10 Things Not to do at Work

Top 10 Things Not to do at Work

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When it comes to your job, it takes more than just meeting a quota to move up in the company. It takes panache, assertiveness, and even a bit of couth. Often times our “Miss Thang” attitude can turn us into “Miss Unemployed” well before the stroke of midnight. Just as you try to have some class in your personal life, it is equally important to have some class in your career. So to all you self-proclaimed *bad word here*, leave your two snaps and a twist at the door and check out these workplace no-no’s.

Here are 10 things you do NOT want to do at work:

So that hunk down the row has caught your eye, or there is some fresh meat filling out an application. As hard it might seem, ease up on the hunt. Dating someone you work with comes with a lot of hardships. If you work in a large company where you rarely see the object of your affection, or if you work in two separate departments, it can sometimes work. However, if you are desk buddies or work in departments very close to one another, you might want to avoid it. Office romance can blossom into one of those beautiful, rare flowers that bud once every 10 years, or it can blow up in your face—and often those who work around you. You can end up so heartbroken you quit a job you really like, or ruin the other person’s career in the process.

This one is sometimes hard to follow through with. I think it’s fair to say about 99.9 percent of us have been guilty of using our work e-mail for personal use. Not only are you wasting company time and resources, but you are putting yourself at serious risk of violating company policies. It’s easy to laugh when you hear an embarrassing story of how some wife sent a racy e-mail to her husband, only to have sent it to her boss. It’s not so easy to laugh when it’s you that sent it.

Being realistic here, we aren’t going to completely stop forwarding on those funny messages, or e-mailing our friends about weekend plans. However, the steamy letters or the 2007 calendar of half-naked studs should be nixed. Businesses have elaborate systems that can flag anything with inappropriate language, keywords like "resume," to addresses that aren’t recognized as secure users. It’s better to save your butt than get fired for forwarding the picture of one.

Sometimes 30 minutes is just not enough to get lunch, and that sandwich joint is just around the corner. It seems so easy to slip out the back and return unnoticed in 5 minutes, right? Think again, 007. You might get by once, maybe twice, but making a habit of it is sure to land you in hot water. The thing to remember here is you are on company time and off company grounds. What might turn into a 5-minute drive can turn into an air-care trip to the ER. You’ll also have a lot of explaining to do too if your boss is looking for you, or if there is a family emergency and someone is trying to locate your whereabouts.

“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Cursing, vulgar or discriminating langue might be accepted amongst your peers, but the gal in the next row doesn’t think it’s so funny. Odds are, the co-workers you see every day and hang out with are used to your mouth and share the same views and philosophies that you do. However, that person who overheard you can report you in a second, faster than you can finish your rant as colorful as the rainbow. Bite your tongue and take the conversation elsewhere. And remember; don’t use that company e-mail to express your thoughts to your friend down the hall!

It’s a wonderful fact that we live in a country where we are free to vote. Whether you are left wing, right wing or somewhere in the middle, it’s best just to keep your views to yourself while at work. It’s great to be patriotic, and free speech is one of rights, but the passion you share for your political party or issue can start an all out office war.

Human Resources can keep a lid on disclosing individual pay rates, but can’t keep employees from talking amongst themselves. I’m telling you, nothing good comes from sharing your hourly or salary rate with your co-workers. Having your diploma mounted on the wall proves you have put in some long hours at college, but who’s to say the guy that’s been there for 10 years hasn’t worked just as hard to move up the ranks? Even if your company has a flat starting rate that every Joe Schmoe makes who walks through door, don’t discuss it. When we talk about how much we bring home a week, factors like insurances, child support, taxes and other benefits aren’t usually brought up in that comparison. After all, not many people brag about paying backed support or having their wages garnished.

The rumor mill never seems to close. What we hoped would stop after high school graduation actually doesn’t. It is pretty sad how much grown adults relish in a good gossip session, especially us women. The thing with gossip in the workplace is that something false puts someone’s entire livelihood at stake. I have seen it first hand—someone thinks that girl is sleeping with a married supervisor; it starts as a rumor, someone else contacts the man’s wife and the next thing you know girl’s reputation is ruined and the man is losing his family. All from one very wrong suspicion. Moral of the story, leave the trash talk to Jerry Springer.

Raise your hand if you have ever said, “I don’t care, they can kiss my butt!” (or another choice word). If you really believe that, and honestly don’t care, it shows. Your “whatever” attitude might also be portrayed as aggressive behavior. Often times those negative thoughts are portrayed in your appearance and your work. Changes in attitude and work are noted by supervisors, and can even become an issue during your performance review. If you are having some personal issues that affect your attitude at work, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your supervisor or human resources — they can assist you in finding help.

Programs such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Worker’s Compensation, or short/long term disability were created to help those who really need it. However, there are always those that abuse it. The thing to remember is that abuse of these programs are usually violations of a business’s Code of Ethics, and can also result in trouble with the law. All it takes is one anonymous tip to a hotline from a fed up co-worker who caught you red-handed and you can face some serious allegations. Avoid abuse of company benefits and government programs. Sick days, bereavement, tardiness — those fit this package as well. Keep in mind, nothing in life is free — you will pay for it somehow.

Be thankful you are working. Outsourcing is a real thing and many states are considered "at will." Just because a business fires you, it does not mean you are entitled to unemployment. A business can argue that you weren’t a good worker and you can end up with no financial aid from the state. So hold your tongue when you get the urge to say, "Well, fire me then!"