We spend a lot of time talking about getting jobs, specifically for high school and college grads entering the workforce for the first time. However, there’s much less focus on keeping a job, which is just as important, if not more so. If you’ve snagged a job and you want to stay, here’s a list of things you shouldn’t be doing under any circumstances.
You Do Your Job (And Nothing Else)
Beware of the “it’s not my problem” mentality in the office. It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day activities and not consider the people and projects happening around you. Fight these urges at all costs. Even if you feel like a cog in the machine, don’t spend your day acting like it. Take interest in what’s going on outside of your regular work. Be intentional about looking at the big picture of the company.
The worker who’s just there to clock in and clock out can be perceived as replaceable. Put yourself in a position where your skillset is essential for the business.
You Come to Work with Bedhead
Whether we want to admit it or not, how we present ourselves matters in the workplace. That’s not to say that looks are the only thing that matters, but they can certainly hold some weight in your perception at work. If you stroll into the office looking disheveled time and time again, co-workers and, more importantly, your employer could begin to connect that to your work ethic.
That being said, many businesses allow workers to be more casual nowadays, and while that may (or may not) be good for productivity, it means you probably don’t need to wear a three-piece suit every day. Instead, a good first step is being aware of your outfits, the outfits of your co-workers and the outfit of your leader and employer.
When in doubt, dress up, not down. It’s better to be looked at as the best-dressed person in the office, rather than the alternative. If you’re interested in some pointers, check out this useful resource on workplace attire.
You Show Up Late
Punctuality makes a great impression. It shows that you respect others’ time and the projects you’re working on. Showing up late to the office on a regular basis can be perceived as apathy. You may have an excuse for every situation – traffic jams, forgotten computers, sick cats, etc. – but being late all the time can give you a bad reputation.
If you’re prone to tardiness, give yourself extra time to get to work. Leave some buffer room in your day in case things don’t go as planned. Let’s be honest, when do things go according to plan?
You Gossip in the Office
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” This quote, often credited to Eleanor Roosevelt, offers some great insights for the workplace. We’re humans – social creatures that want to talk and connect with the people around us. What we discuss during the 9-to-5 day can have an effect on our jobs.
Descending into gossip can damage the work environment in countless ways. Your leaders are sure to take notice of your behavior, which could cause them to distrust you or, worse, begin looking for your replacement.
You’re Being Lazy
If you’re not doing anything at work, people are going to notice. Being a warm body isn’t enough. If you’re having a hard time finding passion for your work, try setting goals for yourself. This doesn’t have to be something big or grand. You can simply set a challenge to be more productive this month than last month. Make a list showing how you’ll execute on your goals.
You could even ask your leader about getting involved in new opportunities at work. Maybe you could attend more leadership meetings, or you could start shadowing people on a different team. Turn your workplace into a place that excites you.
You Don’t Communicate
Communication is key in the workplace, especially when it comes to you and your leaders. If they don’t ever know where you are and what you’re doing, they’ll start to think the worst, even if it’s not true. Being in regular contact with them is the best way to clear up any misconceptions they might have about your work ethic. Not only will this help you gain the respect of your leader, it will also provide opportunities for mentorship.
The same is true for your co-workers. They want to know that you’re pulling your weight, that you’re part of the team. Oftentimes that means you need to talk about your work. Ask them out to lunch to talk shop. Spend time sharing your current projects and learning about what they do. Not only will this provide better communication, it will allow you to grow as a member of your team.
If your leaders aren’t the best communicators, take the bull by the horns and reach out to them. Set up times to talk about your goals, your accomplishments and the struggles you’re seeing at work. Ask for advice and encourage them to get involved. To help get the conversation started, take a look at these helpful tips for talking to leaders at work.
You Say Everything that Comes to Mind
On the other side of the spectrum, there’s such a thing as sharing too much at work. Your every thought doesn’t need to come spilling out of your mouth during the day. Some things are best left unsaid.
This is especially true for heated situations. People are different. You’re going to disagree at times. The way you respond to these situations will affect how you’re perceived at work. Matching a co-worker’s outburst with your own outburst can leave you both looking like unstable hotheads. Instead, show off your mediation skills and learn how to deal with frustrating people in the workplace.
You Go Rogue on Social Media
More and more companies are investing their resources into social media teams, both for the purpose of providing client care and for monitoring what’s happening with their business’ brand. Be very careful about what you say and do on social media because it can easily get back to the company. As a professional in your field, be professional with what you say on the internet. You never know who could be watching.
Also, double check that the content on your social media page is appropriate. You are an employee of your company – a face that people can associate with the brand. Do your due diligence and make sure that all public-facing social profiles are business-appropriate.
You Try to Be a Workplace Casanova
Co-workers spend a lot of time together during the week, which means that the office is ripe for the occasional romance. Before you even think about pursuing someone romantically at work, take some time to learn your company rules.
Even if your leader gives the stamp of approval on office love, be incredibly careful with your actions. Be sure to keep PDA far, far away from the office, and make it a point to be respectful of the feelings of your other co-workers. If things go south in the relationship department, you need to make sure that you don’t carry those feelings back to the office. If you’re looking for love in all the wrong places, check out these 5 tips for dating a co-worker.
You Don’t Listen
Listening is an essential skill in the workplace. Not only does a good listener earn the respect of co-workers, they also have a better understanding of their expectations. Not listening opens the door to all kinds of miscommunication. Spend some extra time working on your listening skills, which will give you a better presence at work. Your leaders want someone who can listen, sift out what’s important and take action.
Using these tips will not only help you keep your job, they’ll make the work environment better for you and for your co-workers. And if you’re interested in getting more business tips from the Zing Blog, subscribe below!
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