In this day and age, it's especially tough to find a work/life balance (thanks, technology). Since phones and computers make it super convenient to stay connected at all times, it can be difficult to transition from taking care of personal matters to a work mind-set and vice versa. Barring an emergency, you should be committed to tending to professional business during work hours and when you're at your desk. That being said, we could all use a little reminder about the boundaries expected by our employers, and Forbes recently published guidelines for the things you should never, ever do at work. Below are, in our eyes, the most important things to avoid doing at your job.
- Using office hours to take care of extracurriculars. We absolutely encourage you to join a charitable organization and lend yourself as a volunteer for a good cause—but do this outside of your paid workday. It's one thing to use your office space after-hours, but it's another to take advantage of your time on the clock, even if it is for a deserving cause. Make sure you have enough free time to take on an unpaid project if you've decided to participate in an organization outside of work.
- Preaching to your co-workers. Under no circumstance—no matter how fervently you believe in something—should you push your attitudes, beliefs, or religious views on co-workers. Nor should you be preaching about your own personal affiliations in general. Abide by a separation of church and job law.
- Becoming romantically involved with a higher-up. It should go without saying that dating your boss or a person you report to is a huge no-no. Not only will you put yourself and your career in jeopardy, but you'll ruin your reputation inside the office and out.
- Running a business on the side. Starting your own business while being employed by another happens often, but that doesn't mean it's okay to use resources, time, and professional property (that doesn't belong to you) to give yourself an advantage. Tend to your side business appropriately—on the side.
- Searching for another job at your current job. This is another obvious one, but it's pretty common. Despite how unhappy you might be, applying to another company during work hours shows a tremendous amount of disrespect toward the one that is paying you for your time. This activity can also be tracked by your current employer, which could lead you to being fired before you're even offered a new position. It's just a bad decision all around.
- Being open about legal or financial matters. If you find yourself in a legal or financial situation that does not involve your job, you shouldn't be discussing the issue at work. Not only could this reflect poorly on your character and potentially lead your employer to pass judgement on your actions outside of work, but it is also personal information that has no place at the office—for your benefit and that of others.
- Conducting loud phone conversations. Everyone around you is trying to concentrate on their own business, and they certainly don't need to be involved in yours. Keep your phone conversations to appropriate levels as you'd expect others in your office to do as well.
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