So you got a new job? Congrats! Working in a new place is exciting, but also a big adjustment. If you’re unsure of how to present yourself, avoid an awkward faux pas and check out this list of 10 Things You Should Never Do at Work so you at least know what not to do.
1. Avoid doing something because it’s “not your job”
So what if something isn’t in your job description? Just do what is asked of you to your best ability, regardless of whether it’s what you signed up for or not. The more good work you do, the better appreciated you will be.
2. Look for another job on the job
There’s no denying that some of us hate our jobs. It can take years to find work that you’re satisfied doing on a daily basis. Until this point, though, save the job searches for when you’re out of the office. If your boss finds out that you’re looking elsewhere (especially if it’s on her watch), it’s a safe bet that you probably won’t have that job you hate for too much longer. Or a reference.
3. Talk about anything that wouldn’t be OK for the whole office to hear
If you’re in a small space, or even a big open one, it’s almost impossible to keep any conversation a secret. Keep your chit chat office appropriate, and avoid gossip that could affect anyone you work with.
4. Spend half your day on websites unrelated to work
No matter how bored you get, try to stay off of all your favorite social media sites. It looks like you couldn’t care less about doing the work assigned to you or trying to get ahead if your screen is constantly filled with fashion blogs and the Kardashians. If you really get that bored, ask your boss if there’s anything else that can be done.
5. Take personal calls in the office
Even if you don’t care if your coworkers hear about your personal life, they probably would rather not. I can tell you with certainty that when someone’s yelling on the phone about his car problems three times a day, there will be lots of eye-rolls that ensue.
6. Make every day casual Friday
You’ve probably heard the phrase “dress for the job you want.” I find this to be good advice. If you’re dressing on-par with your boss, people will naturally see you as being more professional. If you throw on a wrinkled shirt and jeans, there will probably be a lower level of respect. It may seem like common sense, but it can be tempting to dress down when all of your colleagues are.
7. Hold grudges
It’s almost impossible to never have any tiffs at your workplace. People don’t always see eye-to-eye, can make mistakes, and generally just get in bad moods every once in a while. Try not to take it personally. If you do, it can make for an awkward and unpleasant work environment.
8. Bring in anything with a strong scent
Save the weird lunches and overpowering perfumes for another time and place. Strong smells are distracting and probably super irritating to the poor person in the cubicle next to you. Don’t subject them to that.
9. Act like your boss is your equal
She might be the “cool boss,” but don’t get too comfortable. Always keep an air of professionalism between you two to avoid making her uncomfortable with your overly-casual attitude.
10. Burn bridges
There’s nothing worse than investing time in a job that you can’t even use to your benefit in the future. Stay on good terms with your boss and coworkers. Don’t quit with two hours’ notice. Don’t write an angry letter that you’ll regret. Just keep cool and remember that you don’t have to keep the job for the rest of your life.
None of us are perfect, so it’s quite possible that you’ll catch yourself doing one of the things on this list at some point in your career; I know I have. Try to avoid them as often as possible, and if you do mess up, try to keep this advice in mind while you build that reputation back up!