It’s Monday morning, and things seem different at the office. When you glance and smile at your co-workers as you make your way down the hallway, they give you a half smile then look away. As you swing your chair around, you see the sticky note on your keyboard. “Can you come to HR first thing?” Your palms start sweating. Stomach gets queasy. Are you going to lose your job?
Suddenly, the room gets warm, your heart beats faster. You’re not sure your rubber knees will carry you all the way to the HR office. As you walk what may be your last mile, your mind starts racing. Did they find out about the pack of copy paper and printer ink you took home last week? Did someone in the mailroom discover you mailed your electric bill in a company envelope with a free pass through the company postage meter?
Fortunately, when you get to HR, you find it was just to pick up your new health insurance cards. Had it been any of the other scenarios, your next walk could have been out to the parking lot with a cardboard box and a security escort. There may be “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” but here are 10 surefire ways you may lose your job.
1. Lying on your resume
It doesn’t take much:
- Inflate the length of your employment or your last salary.
- Claim you graduated from college when you didn’t.
- Create a couple of professional certifications or affiliations.
- Let that last conviction slip your mind.
There is no statute of limitations on falsifying a resume. Trust lost is gone forever.
2. Taking more than your share
Embezzlement is on the rise. A CNBC.com article stated workplace crime cost businesses $50 billion a year. It could be greed, desperation, or the Robin Hood mentality, but getting caught stealing from the company is a one-way ticket out the door. The employer can press charges and, depending on the method used, you could be facing federal charges with serious jail time.
3. Refusing to “play it safe.”
Worker’s compensation claims costs companies billions of dollars every year. Safety violations causing accident or injury are serious matters and may warrant disciplinary actions or termination.
4. Shopping on company time.
Time is money, whether you are hourly or salaried. Taking work time to do your holiday shopping, print coupons, or research billing errors is the same as stealing, since it’s the value of the time you are taking for your own.
5. Riding the Clock
So, what’s so bad about punching in a few minutes before or after your shift? Or, shutting down your computer 30 minutes before quitting time to refresh your makeup and change shoes for your date after work? Or spend the first 30 minutes of your day (and before and after lunch) checking the football scores and catching up with your pals on social media? Wages are for working, plain and simple.
6. Using profanity on the job.
Check your employee handbook, and you may be surprised to find though it is common these days to use the F- or B-word, it isn’t acceptable or tolerated in the office.
7. Working like “Mad Men.”
Drinking on the job may have been commonplace in the 60’s, but this is 2018.
You may have only been joking when you said, “If I had a gun, I’d shoot that guy,” but if it comes after a disagreement or altercation, you may be considered too risky to keep around. In a world marred by random shootings and an often stressful workplace, even off-handed comments are cause for concern and possible termination.
9. Looking for love.
Office romances happen, but when the attention makes the other person uncomfortable, is unwanted and repeated, it can be sexual harassment. Save your moves for Match.com or the next Meetup or social event out of the workplace. Take a request to “back off” or “stop” seriously. Instead of a date, you may get a pink slip or a summons.
10. “Loose lips sink careers.”
Giving away (or selling) the recipe for your restaurant’s world-famous wing sauce or sharing the details of the next hot product with the competition robs the company of its innovation, future revenue and market edge. You may not only lose your job, but have a tough time convincing another employer to trust you as well.
You may be thinking, yeah, but no one will find out. Think again. Very little is private anymore. Resist posting photos on Instagram of you and your co-workers knocking back a few beers at lunchtime. It won’t take long before someone who’s is bored, amused or just evil decides to share your photo on social media. Or worse, with your boss! You may lose your job, a promising career and have an embarrassing termination to explain at your next interview.