By Ashia Gallo
In the age of casual Fridays and after work drink buddies, the lines sometimes blur between professional and personal life. It is important, however, not to get entirely TOO comfortable. Breaking certain unspoken rules of the workplace can lead to awkward office moments and even harsh consequences depending on the severity. Here’s a short list of some ways to watch your back and ensure you know what is and isn’t okay for the work environment.
- Do not disclose how much you make: Just don’t do it! Many employers keep paychecks a secret on purpose. Want to quickly ruin your chances for that raise/promotion? Start chatting and comparing income with fellow workers. Your openness WILL get around.
- Don’t date coworkers: Never been a great idea, but people still insist on playing with fire. We get it, it is convenient and fun and you always get to see your partner. But, more times than not, the relationships don’t work out. The awkwardness is deafening.
- Do not use technology for personal use: You’ve heard it a million times in training and from your supervisors. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Yet, when no one’s looking, you check that notification and like a few of your friends’ new pictures. Don’t fall into the trap! Many companies track their employees’ Internet use and you don’t want to find yourself in the unemployment line for sneaking to comment on your best friend’s weekend outfit…
- Avoid gossip and office drama: This will come back around to bite you in the behind. A few comments about office happenings are completely fine, but keep it to a minimum. Do not indulge in conflicts between other coworkers or constant gossip. Nothing worse that it getting to the boss what you really think of his/her dating life when you thought it was only an innocent joke over lunch with your coworker.
- Do not steal office supplies: If caught, you give the impression of an untrustworthy employee to both your peers and your superiors. Post-its, pens and printing paper are not worth you becoming “that person”.
- Do not become repeatedly late or absent: No one cares if you’re not a morning person or if you are sick of being at work this week. Constantly showing up late (or not showing up at all) shows non-professionalism and puts more work on your coworkers. Not to mention, if employers see your lack for appreciating your job, its only a matter of time until you simply don’t have one.
- Don’t talk about religion, politics or other controversial topics: Most likely, the views of your coworkers are not going to all coincide with your own. Be sure not to fall into the trap of intense debates that turn into permanent negative feelings toward your peers. Sure, as adults we can have calm, rational discussions, but not everyone knows how to keep it that way. Avoid the drama altogether by keeping conversations on light topics.
- Do not try and cheat the clock: Leaving early for lunch here, coming back later there, and then leaving a few minutes earlier than your coworkers. These “harmless” tricks will have your coworkers turn against you faster than you can imagine. Play by the rules and clock in/out when required. Those little habits can turn into patterns that your boss may use to boot you out.
This is just a short list of many! In essence, think of how you would want to run your business most efficiently if you were the boss. If your behavior is not falling in line with what you’d want, you may want to check youself!