It’s been said that getting fired can be a blessing in disguise. You know, the cliché that getting the pink slip is simply the universe telling that you’re going in the wrong direction. Okay, maybe that is true, but if you find yourself getting that same message every nine to 18 months, it probably means the universe is telling you to get your shit together. Even if you haven’t gotten to that point, we’ve pulled together nine ways you can avoid all sorts of workplace trouble.
It’s Can’t Be All About the Money
Don’t give the impression that you’re working just for a paycheck. While it may be 100% true, that attitude is the hallmark of a clock-puncher and will kill all chances for advancement. Just remember, if you’re so unhappy with your job that you live for the 15th and 30th of each month, it’s time to start sending out resumes and get the hell out.
Know Where You Are & Why You’re There
Make sure to understand the corporate culture of your organization and where you fit in it. If you don’t know, find out what is expected and what it takes to thrive in your role. Don’t make the mistake of keeping your head down and just nodding, “yes” to every idea. If you do, you’ll be gone in short order.
Miss a Deadline & Your Dead
This is a no-brainer but it bears repeating. Deadlines are real and must be met because, believe it or not, the world doesn’t move to your beat. Missing a deadline will most likely back up the whole slew of other projects that need to happen. Worse, it will make your boss look bad and that is a recipe for disaster. Work late to get the job done if you have to.
Check Your Ego
As much as we all loved watching Jeremy Piven play the ego-crazed Neanderthal on Entourage, no one likes dealing with the office egomaniac, and for good reason: They’re obnoxious, overbearing and often trivial people. So, don’t be that guy. Instead, listen to what your coworkers tell you, ask more questions than you answer, and learn from coworkers.
Keep the Gossip on the D.L.
The whole water cooler chitchat thing is a fact of life and acceptable, and is even expected in small doses. But don’t chatter endlessly about who’s sleeping with who. Instead, get all the hard facts and leave the sordid details for Instant Messaging (okay, well maybe that’s not the best idea if your company monitors I.M.’s). Endlessly chatting it up reflects badly on you and takes time away from turning the wheels of your career. Your boss will notice if you spend more time yapping than working.
If You Didn’t Do it, Don’t Take Credit
It’s always the office go-getter that will flub this one. Clawing their way up the corporate ladder, these types will often do anything to get their bosses attention. Of course, they overlook one basic point: It’s dishonest. If you do this, word will eventually reach the boss, and your credibility will crumble instantly. That, and from then on your co-workers will root for, and cheer for, your ruin.
Personal Emailing Can Be Your Death
This is a tough one. No matter how bad you want to send out a personal rant, remember; the company e-mail system is for company business. They can see everything you do. Don’t use it to gossip, and don’t write anything that you don’t want read by the boss. You’ve heard all the horror stories of someone hitting “Reply to All” and mistakenly sending a juicy note about the CEO to everyone, including the chief.
Cardinal Rule of Cube Life: You’re Not Alone
There should be a whole series of Miss Manners books dedicated to cubicle behavior. The first and only rule to remember is that just because you can’t see everyone does not mean you’re alone. Remember: Privacy’s nonexistent in a cubicle, so don’t have phone conversations that you don’t want others to hear, especially the ones where you complain about coworkers or your boss. And, on a personal side note, please don’t clip your nails, eat fish, hardboiled eggs or chomp bubble gum, whisper, pass gas, cry, sigh repeatedly, or slurp coffee. These may not get you fired, but they sure as hell won’t create any goodwill for you with your cube mates.
Don’t Always Pass on After Work Drinks
Now, it’s not mandatory that you join the softball league but if you constantly avoid hanging out with co-workers after hours, it can look bad. You don’t want to be seen as someone who thinks you’re too good for them. Plus, there is an upside, get a few drinks in your coworkers and pretty much anything you want to know will be sloshed right out.
Now, this definitely isn’t an all encompassing list of the many workplace pitfalls you can run into, but if you can manage to stick to these, chances are you will avoid having to ever explain why you resume is riddled with six month job stints.