Top 10 ways to get fired

May 10, 2007
To ensure job security, be sure to avoid the 10 common pitfalls on this checklist from Jennifer Star, a New York City corporate recruiter and trainer specializing in administrative-support personnel:

  1. Lie on your job application or resume. Tell the truth from the start, because you will be held responsible for the information you provide — and your employer will check it.
  2. Be indiscreet about your job hunt. If you are in the market for a new job, don't send resumes from your office computer, which most likely is monitored by IT. Assume your instant messages and e-mails are fair game as well.
  3. Gossip or take lots of personal calls. You never know who is listening, and in cubeland, walls really do have ears. The safest bet? Keep gossip to yourself, and never repeat anything you hear.
  4. Taking too many personal calls can make you look just as bad. Spending much of your work time orchestrating your own personal business, rather than your boss's affairs, usually results in being given an opportunity to spend all of your time on the phone on personal business — looking for a new job.
  5. Drink at work: One of the quickest ways to be shown the door is drinking too much at lunch and walking into a wall.
  6. Surf the Web excessively. Spending much of your workday cruising around cyberspace puts you just a point-and-click away from unemployment.
  7. Become romantically involved with the boss. While it may make for great water0cooler discussion, a boss/direct-report romance can easily end with someone out of a job. (Hint: It's usually not the boss.)
  8. Forget to double-check your figures. When working with numbers, scrutinize your work carefully. One stray zero could make the difference between being employed and unemployed.
  9. Alienate your coworkers. To do your job effectively, you'll need the cooperation, support, and goodwill of those around you. And becoming detached from those you work with could get you replaced with someone who can work well with others.
  10. Point the finger at everyone but yourself. Take ownership of your job. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Don't try to sweep your mistakes under the carpet, or worse yet, blame somebody else, because the truth will usually come back to bite you on the bottom line. And nobody wants to trust or employ a liar.

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