You have your degree, your travel mug, and a new pen. You wowed the recruiter and your new boss during your many interviews, and the day has finally arrived: your first day of work. But are you prepared? It’s not enough to land the job and have excellent skills; if you want to move ahead, you have to maintain your professional image once you’ve landed the job. Here are five ways you may be damaging your career.
Social Media Snafus
Social media is pervasive; who doesn’t have an online presence somewhere? From Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram, our digital footprint is all over the internet. According to Expert Market, “a surprisingly common way to damage your career is to post inflammatory or insensitive things to your public social media pages.” Think of the way Kevin Hart had to decline an invitation to host the Grammys after a homophobic Tweet from 2006 surfaced. Even if you tend to shy away from posts about politics or religion, posting about your office drama could come back to haunt you.
Excessive or Compulsive Alcohol Consumption
Grabbing a drink at happy hour or during a work conference may be par for the course, but you must be very careful not to let your drinking get in the way of professional behavior. According to The Recovery Village, “alcohol abuse and safe levels of consumption also affect gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate neurotransmitters, which are responsible for relaying messages in the brain.” Even when off the clock, the way you behave in front of your supervisor or coworkers can impact office harmony and your attempts to be promoted.
When you interviewed for your job, you wore your best suit and shoes. Don’t stop dressing professionally just because you’ve landed the job. Of course, what’s acceptable dress depends on the culture in your office, but do not let your attire ruin your image or send the message that you don’t care about the work you’re doing. If you’re not sure what to wear, take a look at the leaders in your office. How are they dressed? If your supervisor or team lead is regularly dressed in slacks and a nice shirt or blouse, then jeans and a polo are not appropriate. Dress for the job you want. Dressing down on any day other than casual Friday is a surefire way to sabotage your career.
You may love the latest gossip on Sandra from HR. After all, it was juicy. Can you believe she said that during the last department meeting? And Bob. Word has it he’s out to sabotage Mike’s attempts to get promoted at the end of the year. Don’t get caught up in the workplace gossip. According to HR Payroll Systems, “it can also impact the overall tone of work culture. If gossip is common within a workplace, it can negatively impact company culture. The mood and tone of gossip can cause an attitude shift that may make a company feel less harmonious. Employees that are the subject of gossip or that haven’t been included in the conversation may also feel isolated or outcast, which can lead to increased turnover.” At best, you’ll be flaming the drama instead of showing off your skills. At worst, you’ll become known as someone who stirs the pot and can’t be trusted.
Inconsiderate Office Behavior
You’ll spend 40 hours a week in the office with your coworkers, and that’s not an insignificant amount of time. Be considerate of the fact that you have to share an office space with other people. That means don’t microwave particularly pungent food in a shared microwave, don’t burn your popcorn, don’t leave your dishes in the office sink or fridge, don’t listen to music without headphones, and don’t let fast food cups take over your desk. According to Payscale, “there are many things that aren’t just annoying like bad smelling food and questionable grooming habits, but cause problems in the workplace. People invading your personal space, or talking too much so that work isn’t being done are both serious concerns that need to be told to management. If you see these things in yourself, you should make a change before you’re warned about it or even let go.” Being inconsiderate in the office makes you seem like you’re not a team player.
A little bit of forethought can go a long way towards making sure your supervisor and coworkers see you as an integral member of the team and as someone with potential to get ahead. Don’t let the little things sabotage your career.
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