Once you’ve gotten a good job, you want to keep it. However, in today’s sluggish economy when the bottom line is more important than ever, most of us are replaceable. Even when you are doing well on your assigned tasks, you can get fired if you don’t follow some common sense rules. Here are 10 non-performance related mistakes that can leave you without a paycheck.
Ten mistakes that can get you fired
1. Stealing from Your Employer
Employees steal an estimated $50 billion every year from work, according to Jack L. Hayes International, a loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm. While much of that number involves retail theft, it also includes anything from taking office supplies home to stealing money from petty cash, to giving yourself an unauthorized bonus check.
It doesn’t seem like much, perhaps, but copying personal items on the office copier or using your employer’s mailing materials can really add up against you. Many companies have loss management specialists who are watching what you do even when you don’t realize it, and their reports can get you fired.
2. Having Inappropriate Relationships with Co-Workers
Make sure you know what your company’s policy is on relationships with coworkers before you ask that new employee out on a date. Even if there is no policy, consider the possible ramifications of dating someone from work and the potential for it to cause a problem for both of you.
Also be clear on your employer’s policy on sexual harassment. According to a 2011 study, 11,364 sexual harassment claims were filed in the U.S., costing about $52.3 million in damages. Today’s employers are sensitive to bullying charges in the workplace as well.
A general rule is to treat your relationships with your co-workers with professionalism, and ,whenever possible, to err on the side of caution.
It seems like a no-brainer to not get caught lying on the job, but it happens all the time. Employees lie about being sick when they are well, they lie about doctor’s appointments when they don’t have them, and they lie about their performance on the job.
Lying on your resume – say, listing a degree that you don’t have – can also get you fired. Even if your resume passed an initial review to get you hired, false information on degrees or other places of employment can get revisited at employee review time. An employer can find out you lied and use it as reason to fire you.
Studies suggest that as many as 50 percent of all resumes contain some degree of falsification – from fudging the truth to outright distortions. Even if you have been performing well on the job, if an employer finds out that you misrepresented yourself, it reflects poorly on your character and could get you fired.
4. Gossiping with Co-workers
Everyone needs to vent a bit about their job, but it’s best to find that outlet among your friends and family, not among your co-workers. Make an effort to stay away from those who spread gossip or rumors at your company. Even if you do not engage in the talk, you will be associated with the naysayers by management.
Also, don’t always be the one yakking in the lounge or coming back late from lunch because you got into a big conversation. By the same token, watch taking over meetings with your comments. Choose your questions carefully, so that others know that when you speak, it will be meaningful.
One way talking is a positive, however, is in giving praise to co-workers and management alike when praise is due.
5. Searching for Another Job
If you have decided to look for another job, do not put that news out there in your workplace. Even if you think you can trust your co-workers, this information can come around to hurt you.
It’s a simple case of not wanting to burn your bridges. First, it may take you longer than you think to find another job and you could get fired in the meantime, and secondly, you may need references and recommendations from your current employer . Don’t sabotage yourself.
6. Having a Poor Attitude
Watch your demeanor at work. While everyone has a bad day now and then, if you are habitually slamming doors and snapping at others, you may find yourself out of a job. Try to maintain a cheerful attitude, and your productivity (as well as the productivity of those around you) will be strengthened as a result
Take feedback about your job performance well. Sure you can ask questions, but avoid getting angry when you get any negative review comments. When you use the information as a catalyst to do better, you make things easier on your boss – and yourself.
7. Not Maintaining Your Reputation Outside of Work
Many employers want their employees – especially those in supervisory positions — to maintain a professional profile at all times, as their behavior reflects the company. Watch being the one known for partying at the bar after work or the one who is known to come in to the office with a hangover on a regular basis.
Check your social media profile pages as well to make sure they do not have embarrassing photos or information about you. It should go without saying that you should never post unflattering comments about your job or your employer on your social media accounts.
While this warning may seem obvious, if you want to keep your job, you must not drink or use drugs during the work day. It’s a sure way to lose your job.
8. Bringing Your Personal Problems to Work
There is some leeway with this one, depending on the problem and how short-lived it is, but, as a general rule, avoid complaining about your spouse, your children, your parents, or your neighbors while you are on the job. A big no-no is to complain about personal financial matters as well.
When you excessively talk about personal problems, it not only reveals a character flaw to your boss, but it says bad things about your work ethic as well.
9. Sending or Receiving Inappropriate E-mails
Be careful about the wording of your work-related electronic messages. Be sure to maintain a friendly professional tone. Remember all your email is traceable. Your company can monitor what you send today or retrieve what you sent yesterday if it wishes.
Keep e-mails to a minimum. Be careful with forwards and resist the urge of hitting the “reply all” button unless it is necessary. Keep in mind that the e-mails you send while you are at work should be about work.
10. Spending Time on Social Media or Non-business Sites
To put it simply, spending work time on your personal social media accounts or blog or shopping over the internet could get you fired.
Do your internet surfing on your home computer. A survey by the ePolicy Institute reveals that 35 percent of American companies have either disciplined or fired workers for visiting unauthorized Web sites during work.