Ten courses of action that will get you in trouble at work

Paul Lines By Paul Lines, 28th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1w5ocp1r/
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Employment

The workplace should be an enjoyable experience but there are some actions an employee can take that will turn it into a troublesome area

Employee relationship with work

To most employees, especially those who really enjoy their career, the workplace is an area which causes few issues for them. However, as has been evidenced countless of times in the past, there are several actions that a bored or unhappy employee might take that is likely to get them into serious trouble. The following, in no particular order, is a list of ten of these potential minefields.

Ten minefield actions in the workplace

1) Inappropriate response to customers
We all know how annoying some customers can be and, invariably, it seems that it is the customer who generates least revenue to the business who will complain the most. Therefore, in many cases there is a temptation to respond too these customers with a frankness that will only make matters worse. For example to say "we have bigger clients than you" or "Why don't you find another company to complain to" or "Well we all thought it was funny," will not only further annoy the customer but is also likely to see you exiting the workplace that same day with a do not return message imprinted somewhere about your person.

2) Compromising e-mails
E-mails, as the most efficient form of communication, have invaded every part of our lives and this includes the workplace. Many firms will allow you to use e-mails during work hours as long as this usage remains reasonable. However, using the e-mail system to send compromising photos or messages about your boss can be construed as an extremely unwise move; that is unless you are looking forward to a long sabbatical courtesy of unemployment or 'gardening leave'.

3) Faux sick days
Even if we have not been tempted ourselves, we all know people who have decided to take a sick day that was not really warranted. Of course, nine times out of ten the odd day taken like this will not cause raised management eyebrows. Nevertheless, those who flaunt the system in this manner, by taking advantage of their bosses good nature or being seen having fun when they are supposed to be suffering in bed, are likely to become even more sick when they open the termination of employment letter.

4) Promoting competitors
Occasionally we all will become upset with our management team and wish that we could retaliate for some harm and upset they have caused us. This is perhaps understandable in a pressured work situation. The problem is that retaliation can have a tendency to backfire on us. For example, if we decide to 'get back' at our boss by promoting competitors instead of our own corporation there is a distinct likelihood of having to ask them for a job as our present employer might not have taken kindly to our actions.

5) Extending rest periods
In almost all workplaces, there is a statutory requirement for rest periods or coffee breaks. Normally these will last between fifteen and thirty minutes. Nonetheless, it is surprising how many employees either cannot tell the time or believe that it is they, not the employer, who determines how long the rest break should be. Unfortunately, what such people seem unable to comprehend is that bosses, who pay wages in return for productivity, do not agree with this opinion. Therefore, if liberties are taken with timekeeping too often, there is a distinct possibility that the only clock-watching the offending employee might have to do in the future will be related to the frustration of having to wait their turn in the unemployment office.

6) Comedy routine
Having fun at work is not a bad thing but it can be taken to an extreme, which in terms of job security can be a dangerous. This is particularly true if the fun 'comedy' routine involves ridiculing members of the management. Often managers and owners will have a distinctly different standard of humour to their employees and they are more likely to see the funny side of showing offending employees to the exit.

7) The workplace as a call centre
Keeping in touch with family and friends is important as is ensuring that they have your work contact details. Nevertheless, there are some employees who will take this to the extreme. Spending most of Monday on the phone to, or texting, friends to discuss your wonderful weekend fun is not likely to be seen by the employer as a constructive use of the time they pay for. As they are likely to explain, there will be plenty of time for you to socialise on the phone after you have been released from your employment.

8) Romance in the office
Many a romance has flourished in the somewhat Spartan surroundings of the workplace. Generally, this is not a problem and can also be seen as a natural event that occurs when two people are attracted to each other. However, there is a limit to the expression of romance that is permissible and acceptable within the office or work environment. Those couples who cannot keep their hands off each other and are inclined to engage in more steamy expressions of romance on the photocopier or in the stationary cupboard are likely to have exceeded the bounds of acceptability. Are a kiss and a cuddle really worth the risk of regular pay being terminated?

9) Sporting events
Here we are not discussing the latest football match or other similar sporting events. Trouble in the workplace in this respect relates to the impromptu activity that employees might be tempted to engage in within work time. Using the firm's products as a makeshift football or tennis ball is likely to be severely frowned upon by the management.

10) Borrowing without consent
Today a paperclip, tomorrow a pen, the day after a stapler or office pad. What will the employee be tempted to borrow without consent in a month's time - a desk? Most people think that borrowing small items from the workplace, without consent or intention of replacing, is acceptable. However, when it becomes a prolific activity the management is likely to become a little upset. Their response might be to ask you to use your own money to find and acquire these little extras oh, and by the way, find a new job at the same time.

You have been warned

As has been seen from this brief explanation, there are a number of things that can cause trouble for you in the workplace. What has to be considered is whether the fun and enjoyment of partaking of these activities is worth the risk of job termination.


Career, Career Tips, Employee Relations, Employment, Employment Issues, Humour, Jobs, Work

Meet the author

author avatar Paul Lines
Having spent a large part of my working life as a business consultant, I am now a full time freelance writer offering content for on-line and print publishers, as well as focusing on creative writing

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