Figuring out how to act at work can be tough…
And although it can be easy to let your personal life and/or habits spill over into your work life, or lose your cool in difficult situations – approaching things in the wrong way could be affecting your reputation, not to mention your career progression opportunities.
To make sure you’re always on your best behaviour, here are five things you should never do at work:
Suck up to your boss
Sucking up to your boss for special treatment is a risky game.
It’s even riskier if you choose to pursue a relationship with a superior member of staff, simply to get ahead. Getting involved with your boss could even create problems that might end up negatively impacting your career in the long run.
Not only is it against most company policies (for obvious reasons), it may also jeopardise your professional relationships with other members of the team – especially if they know what your true intentions are.
Bring your baggage
Whether it’s taking dramatic phone calls at your desk, or moaning about the ins and outs of your relationship – there’s a time and a place for your personal matters, and it’s not at work.
Not only will you seem unprofessional, you could also distract your colleagues from their job, not to mention cut your own productivity in half. And although a limited amount of personal conversation can be fine (with the right person), it all depends on your workplace dynamic.
As a general rule, steer clear of venting in front of senior staff – and do your best to gauge what’s appropriate to talk about in the office, and when.
Forget to put it on silent
Whether it’s your computer/phone/tablet/insert other annoying electronic device here, it should always be on silent when you’re at work.
Because even though you may enjoy a bit of full volume Justin Bieber at 3 pm on a Tuesday, not everyone’s working style will respond well to noise (or to JB) – so use your headphones. The same goes for loud or vibrating email or IM notifications on your PC or laptop, or messages or phone calls on your mobile.
And aside from inducing a few sighs (see also: evil glares) from your colleagues, you could also be distracting yourself from your work without even realising it.
So if it isn’t urgent, always save it for your break (yes, that includes Snapchat).
OK, so everyone has bad days at work.
But even if you’re not feeling it, openly complaining about your work, company, or colleagues is a no-go in any workplace. Not only could you come across rude, it could also make your employer re-think whether you’re a good fit for the role after all.
Instead, take a break to think before you say anything in a blind rage. It’ll be worth it in the long run, especially when you realise you didn’t actually mean most of the things you were about to say on impulse.
And, if you are seriously unhappy, calmly flag your issues with your HR department (or to your boss directly). Then, focus on the resolution you’re looking for, instead of the negativity. That way, you haven’t burned any bridges.
No shouting, no arguing, and no accidentally quitting your job in a tantrum. Everyone wins.
Backstab or gossip
Although it might seem like an obvious workplace faux-pas, you might not always be fully aware of it when you’re stabbing someone in the back.
Whether it’s because you genuinely didn’t think your colleague deserved that promotion, you think someone is being treated better than you for the wrong reasons, or you just want to let off some steam – if you deal with your qualms in the wrong way, it’ll make you seem like the lesser person.
And no matter what the situation, undermining or insulting others behind their backs will never end well. It won’t paint you in a good light, and your plan to sabotage your colleague is unlikely to work either (everyone can see through a gossip).
The courageous thing to do is to confront the issue head-on. Because talking about it might make you feel better temporarily, but it certainly doesn’t solve the problem.