Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twelve ways to get fired.

After spending weeks - or months - searching for the perfect job, the last thing you want after you get it is to be forced back into the job market. A few wrong steps, however, really can put you back on the street without a paycheck. If you want to guarantee your spot in the unemployment line, try making some of these moves:

1. Don't do what you’re expected to do.
Check to be sure you understand exactly what your job entails, what deadlines you’re expected to meet, and any applicable departmental policies you should know about. This eliminates ambiguity and ensures you'll know how your performance measures up.

2. Keep saying "that's not my job."
It’s important to set limits, but doing no more than the absolute minimum sends a clear message that you're just interested in the paycheck. Sooner or later, your boss will start looking for someone who’s willing to take more initiative.

3. “Borrow” the firm’s tools and supplies.
While you're at it, run some personal errands with the company car and pad your expense report as well. Getting caught stealing from the company is the best ways to guarantee your immediate dismissal.

4. Misuse your computer.
If you think your boss won't notice that you spend more time instant messaging your friends than you do working, think again. Most companies nowadays monitor their employees' e-mails and internet usage - and that includes what you do with your laptop after hours. So never use your company computer for anything that’s illegal or X-rated.

5. Be a constant complainer.
Whether you think you’re paid too little, the work is boring and stupid, or your boss is a total cretin, be careful who you complain about it to. If your comments get back to your boss, she may just put you out of your misery.

6. Look out for yourself, first, last and always.
No one wants to work with an arrogant employee who steals other people’s ideas or an egomaniac who puts everyone else down. Helping your co-workers when they ask for it or need it, is always a smart move. Employees who are well-liked and respected tend to move up the corporate ladder faster. Plus, your coworkers will be more inclined to give you good leads and references during your next job search.

7. Talk about your personal life at work.
It's normal for personal business to pop up every now and then during work hours. But keep in mind that crowded offices today don't provide much privacy. The whole office can hear - and be distracted by your conversations - as you make those appointments to get your body waxed or your car serviced. Keep personal calls and errands to a minimum during work hours.

8. Come in late and leave early.
Want to show your boss how little you care about your job or career progress? Regularly come in late and leave early. If your boss can't trust you to show up on time and stick around, he’s unlikely to trust you with more responsibility.

9. Treat deadlines as guidelines.
When you procrastinate, everyone suffers. Your missed deadlines reflect poorly on you and your boss, and they can delay many other employees, since they can't finish their work until you do yours.

10. Become romantically involved with your boss.
A boss / direct-report romance isn’t encouraged in most businesses and frequently ends up with someone out of a job. (Hint: It's usually not the boss).

11. Drink alcohol or take drugs at work.
One of the quickest ways to get shown the door is come to work under the influence of alcohol or showing some signs of substance abuse. Businesses run well when employees keep things organized, and are clear and efficient in what they do, so maintaining your own clarity is extremely important. Staying on top of the many details that make your business function requires focus - and sobriety.

12. Make a lot of personal calls.
You never know who’s listening, and office walls really do have ears. Keep gossip to yourself, and don’t repeat everything you hear. Winding up on the wrong side of the rumor mill can cost you more than somebody's trust; it can cost you your job as well.

I read somewhere that approximately15,000 people in America are fired every day. Make sure you do all you can so you don’t end up being one of them. As Vince Lombardi used to say, “Those who aren’t fired with enthusiasm will be fired - with enthusiasm.”

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