Top Three Employee Errors in the Workplace

by Terri Swain

Sure, our employers make plenty of mistakes.  Our bosses can be demanding, insensitive, and provide plenty of happy hour ranting material.  But individual employees also can add fuel to the workplace fire.  Here’s our top picks of situations that make work life crazier than it needs to be and some suggested guidance.

1. “If I don’t get more time off/more money/a bigger office/a promotion/a company car/a new sales list – I’m quitting!” – Yes, we have all been the invaluable employee whose absence would make life extremely difficult for our manager or company.  But make no mistake, there are other people out there who can do your job.  If you want something at work, instead of threatening to quit – show your worth. Want more money? Ask for more responsibility.  Want more time off? Ask for job restructuring/give something up.  Don’t know why you are not getting ahead – ASK. Make it a win-win for your employer and you.  If you really are unhappy, look for another job and professionally leave the one you are in.

2. Using company equipment for personal use. Yes, I’m talking about Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email, internet usage, texting, blogging, cell phone usage, IM, Skype, etc. on your work laptop, work computer, work cell phone, etc.  DO NOT DO THIS unless it’s part of your job and even then, keep your personal life off of work equipment.  Your email work romance, the time you made fun of your boss, your blog writing on work time, your sexting to a coworker…all of these things are RECOVERABLE.  Do your personal computing at home.  During an investigation, we go right to the email inbox for evidence. And just because you deleted it, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a copy out there somewhere.

3. Let things bottle up until ready to explode.  There are so many workplace situations that make us crazy – a loud coworker, someone who fails to do their part of a project, etc.  The majority of employees will not speak up until it’s reached epic proportions.  Learn to professionally confront things that bother your or let your boss know.  No one can help the situation if they don’t know.  You may think your body language and actions address the behavior, but often it just makes you look weird. Use your professional words to address situations that occur or escalate them if possible.

Throw a few hundred people together in a workplace and it’s bound to have issues.  But like my Dad was fond of telling me, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

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