So you’ve landed your first job. You’ve pressed your suits, you’ve done the paperwork, and you’re already planning your two weeks of paid vacation. You’re trusted to do a job of which you are capable, and there’s bound to be plenty of opportunities to get ahead. While there are lots of tips to get you through your first months in the business world, we’re going to make it easy for you. In the workplace, there are many things you will do right. But suck it up and recognize: there are many, many things that you will do wrong.
Check out these eight things you should never do at the office, and learn from our mistakes:
1. Have Sex.
Whether it’s a solo job (gross) or a two-person tango (ew), don’t have sex at the office. Not only is it unhygienic, but it’s disrespectful to your partner (even if it’s your right hand) and your workplace. Although the thought may have crossed your mind, don’t act on it. There’s nothing more embarrassing than getting caught, and getting caught can happen at any time of day or night. Pro Tip? Don’t have sex with co-workers. Or your boss. It’s dramatic, complicated, and uncool. There are better ways to get ahead.
2. Get Drunk.
There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called happy hour. Don’t drink at work. And don’t drink at your desk. Mixing alcohol and workdays should be left to the pros — ad executives from the 1960s.
Tacky, tacky. And tackier still to complain on company property. The gossip train is one that you don’t want to ride, especially when you’re new to a job. If you’re going to gripe, vent your frustrations to a neutral third party that’s not involved with your office in any way, and do so after working hours. If you have titillating tales that simply must be shared (see above), make sure you’re completely fine with your boss finding out. Your boss will always find out. Be as kind as you can, and be mindful not to say or type anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with the whole world knowing — copy and paste have been the ruin of many a burgeoning career.
4. Take A Disco Nap.
If you let your head hit your desk, you’ll probably be told not to let the door hit you on the way out. A large lunch or a bout of insomnia might make you yawn, but do anything you must to stay awake at work. Coffee, energy drinks, or blasting music into your earbuds are time-honored tools of the tired trade. Nothing looks more unprofessional than falling asleep on the job, and there’s no quicker kill to your career and reputation. If you’re too tired to come to work, don’t. Be alert and present. Seriously, it’s only eight hours.
Cubicle life can make even the most chillaxed of us a bit stir crazy, but don’t play practical jokes or induce illness to get yourself out of work. You could end up wearing a bear suit for fun, or making your cubemate vomit. Pro Tip? If you want to play hooky, eschew the theatrics. And if you want to prank someone with ipecac, make sure that they’re at least two cubes away.
One things for sure: no one likes the office complainer. Don’t work and play well with others? Even in forced social situations, do your best to get along. If water cooler talk makes you cringe, avoid it with earphones. And if there’s no escape, you can participate by being a listener. No one cares that you woke up on the wrong side of the bed; you should be mature enough to be pleasant most of the time. If you’re completely anti-social and new to a job, let your co-workers know that you’re impossibly shy, so that no one will take your cantankerous demeanor to heart. And try to crack a smile every once in awhile, why don’t you? It can’t be that bad.
If you’re about to go postal, don’t take it to the office. When you’re in danger of murderous rampage, try public parks or a bell tower instead. Even if you kill everyone in your midst, the company will survive without you. Killing your team members or that boss you just can’t stand might sound like poetic justice, but it’s super illegal and will land you in jail. If you survive, that is. Ron Swanson keeps loaded guns in his office — why should your boss be any different?
If you’re completely unhappy in your job, you should probably quit. Be sure to do this professionally (with a written resignation two weeks before your end date) and, if at all possible, silently. Don’t pull a Jerry Maguire or a Jim from Half Baked and rage-quit your job while making a scene. That’s prideless, and nobody that’s interested in keeping their job can cheer you on. Keep your post-employment breakdown on the DL, and you just might keep your crappy career afloat.
This post was first published in Online Business Degree.