Behaviors that Tarnish Your Office Reputation – Part 1

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Maintaining a good reputation at work is a delicate balance.  Because business is business, and there is usually a lot of stress circulating around an office, people are quicker to judge and slower to forgive.  That’s why it’s important to get off to a solid start and do what you can to remain in the good graces of both your superiors and your coworkers.  Here are a few behaviors to avoid:

Asserting Yourself as the New Guy

When you’re the new guy, it can be tempting to want to enter with a bang, but sometimes this can be a huge turnoff.  If you start off trying to revolutionize things too quickly, people might become offended about the fact that you’re trying to change everything around, and put you back in your place.  While you may have the best of intentions, try to hold back just a little bit, adding your two cents when it seems natural or when you are asked – not when you have to fight to get a word in.  When you first get to a company, take some time to learn what they are about and what they are trying to do, and this will likely enable you to contribute in a more valuable way.  After all, you may feel that you have some very enlightened observations to provide, but these may have already been observed previously (possibly more than once), and broaching the same topic all over again will just make everyone feel like you’re beating a dead horse.

Overextending Yourself

Many people feel that they will actually build a greater reputation by being a “Yes Man”.  Indeed, all companies value reliable employees.  But if you get to the point where you are saying “yes” to everything, you may reach a point where the quality of all of your work suffers, or you may find yourself unable to get to certain projects at all.  It’s important to learn what you can and cannot do, and to budget your time wisely.  It’s perfectly fine to explain to your boss that you simply have too much on your plate to take on another project at the moment – he or she will likely respect you for this.

Failing to Check In

Your boss manages a lot of people, and by extension, manages a lot of projects.  He has a lot on his plate, and so you figure you’ll spare him the headache by getting your work done first and then running it by him.  But this can be a huge mistake.  If you’re working on a big project, it’s probably a good idea to update your boss on your progress and allow him to offer feedback.  Managers like to feel that they are a part of the work, and may become aggravated when you try to run off with it on your own.  Additionally, when you fail to check in and end up doing something incorrectly, you’ll create more work for yourself and irritate your boss even more.

As you can see, much of maintaining a good reputation at work relies on learning how to communicate well – and this means being able to talk as well as listen.  So avoid the above pitfalls, and stay tuned for our next installment of behaviors that have the propensity to ruin an individual’s work reputation!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Good Employees Avoid Bad Habits – A List of Common Workplace Faux Pas (Part 2)

bad-workplace-behavior

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Hey you! Nail-biter! Stop talking with your mouth full of food! It’s time for Doostang’s second installment of bad workplace habits to avoid. That’s right – last time we conquered potty mouths, online game addictions, Negative Nancies, and fashion disasters. Confused? Check it out and go for a little refresher read if you’re already spewing obscenities or showing up to work in scrubs (except for you, Doc). And, if we didn’t give you enough to focus on last go-around, we’re slapping your wrist just a few more times with the following career-saving precautions. Onward!

The Early Bird Catches the Worm; The Late Bird…Gets Fired

Ok, maybe it doesn’t go quite like that. But it’s safe to assume that if you’re chronically late, you may find yourself packing your work life into a cardboard box before you hit the road for the very last time. Whether you work on the clock or have a more informal standing date with the office, it’s imperative to show up to work on time. Failure to do so implies laziness. Employers will feel hesitant to rely on you if you are inconsistent or don’t seem to care. It’s ok if you get held up from time to time – just be sure to make the proper phone calls to the individuals whose schedules you will affect, so that they can plan accordingly. Your start time is a commitment, one you should hold yourself to if you want to excel in a company.

procrastinationThere’s No Time Like The Present!

Got a big project to work on? Work on it now! Don’t let it loom over you like a dark cloud. Ever notice how sometimes the mere notion of a certain task can be just as bad – or worse – than the task itself? The longer you continue putting it off, the more you draw it out. Since anticipation intensifies the pain, cut it out of the equation. Turn that assignment in early and get it off your hands (and score bonus points with the boss). Another drawback to waiting it out is that you may miscalculate and run into unforeseen obstacles that you failed to work into your timeline – and then you’re really hosed, because then you’re submitting late work…and we all know what happens to that late bird…

“When I Want Your Opinion I’ll Give it to You”

…A wise man once said. We hearken back to individuality here: in the same manner that a dress code eclipses uniqueness, so too does the unspoken rule that sometimes you just need to sit down and shut up. This plays itself out in multiple ways.

1. You find yourself at a company meeting. Unless this happens to be an open discussion forum, it’s advisable not to chime in every other PowerPoint slide.

2. Your boss decides to do something one way. Your wisdom and expertise establishes you the authority on matters, inspiring you to inform him of a better way. But unless your superior is at risk of putting the company in peril, unsolicited advice can very often spell out insubordination.

3. Even the largest corporations are receptive to employee feedback, but if you disagree with a company policy on principle rather than effectiveness, no one wants to hear about it. Your employer’s mission statement is your mantra from nine to five. Remember if you’re not the Big Guy in the office, you don’t run the show.

trophy2On Your Superhuman Abilities:

While you may rightly deserve praise for every glorious feat you perform in the office, the simple truth is that no one is going to give it to you every single time. That said, when you actively claim credit for everything you do, you may aggravate your coworkers or your boss. Performing well is your job, and no one is going to give you a gold star for every small personal victory. Be content to quietly accept praise when it is given, and your employer will appreciate you all the more. Equally as important, remember to share credit with others when it is due, and your coworkers will be gracious. When you try to one up the people working around you (or appear to do so by drawing unnecessary attention to your good deeds) you sow the seeds for resentment in the minds and hearts of your office buddies.

Our devotion of two blog entries to bad workplace habits may convey a certain pessimism in humankind of the career ilk. But of course here at Doostang we know that avoiding common workplace slipups boils down to common sense. As long as you’re a hard worker and pleasant to be around, you’ve got most of it down. Just remember not to interrupt when someone’s talking!

Much love,

The Doostang Team

Good Employees Avoid Bad Habits – A List of Common Workplace Faux Pas (Part 1)

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A habit can be difficult to break; and, depending on the context, can make or break you. While some habits are assets in certain situations – such as always having an opinion or sticking out from the crowd – they can sometimes play to your detriment. Thus, equally important as changing some behavioral patterns is knowing when to tweak them just a little bit. And because people in the workforce tend to be an unruly bunch, Doostang is making this one a “two-parter” to ensure we cover all the bases. Read on for a list of our first installment of common bad workplace habits to avoid.

swearingWash that Mouth out with Soap!

When in doubt: keep it clean. And even when not in doubt:…keep it clean. (This one tends to resonate strongest with the recent grad crowd.) Swearing in the workplace is unprofessional, and you never know whom you’re going to offend. Your best bet is to speak in a manner that would befit your grandmother. If the old lady’s got a sailor mouth on her, find some other cute little granny to do right by. Try to avoid speech tics such as “like”, “um”, or “ya know”. Colloquialisms like “what up”, “yo”, or “later” shouldn’t be used right out of the gate. Finally, Kathy at reception isn’t “dude”, and your boss isn’t your “bro”.

Game Over

Hopefully we can all agree that your job is more important than a new high score. So please, for your own sake, log off of “Mafia Wars”, close the Minesweeper window, turn off whatever game it is that tickles your fancy and eats up your time. It’s ok to play a quick game to de-stress from time to time, but if all you can think about is racking up points on your online Bejeweled account, you have bigger problems…because your online activity probably isn’t going to fly with your boss. On a similar note, avoid excessive online chatting or checking your personal email account every five minutes. All these distractions will still be there when your shift ends. But during your working hours, your priority should be work.

Stay Positive!

Even if your job leaves you wanting to punch a wall, try not to complain about it all the time. People have a low tolerance for whiners in the office, so keep it to yourself or find someone else to vent to. If you see a problem, come up with a way to fix it instead of grumbling about it or pawning it off on someone else to boot. Others will admire, feed off of, and promote your positive energy. And, at the end of the day, they’ll be more likely to want to keep you around.

Dress to the Nines

The dress code: perhaps you feel that this doesn’t apply to you because you are an individual.

But dress codes exist for a reason – to uphold professionalism in the workplace. Stepping outside of the bounds may feel cool or liberating, but it can convey to your coworkers that you don’t care, or that you’re simply a slob. Companies vary on their policies regarding work attire, so it’s generally a good idea to dress more conservatively until you have a good idea of what the expectations are.

Habits don’t disappear overnight. It takes time and dedication to change a pattern of behavior, so be patient! And stay tuned for yet another list of faux pas to conquer.

Until next time,
The Doostang Team