Your career is one of the most important aspects of your life – not because work is more important than other things in itself, but because your career and finances can directly impact your relationships, hobbies, lifestyle and access to health care. So be careful that none of the following practices ruins your career.
- Engaging In Controversial Behavior on Social Media
Newsflash: anything you say, do or post on social media can be used against you and undermine your career. If you paid attention during the Alt-Right protest in Charlottesville in August 2017, then you saw that people lost their jobs because their photos of them participating in the rally were plastered all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere online.
In less extreme cases, even a sassy tweet on your own page can lead to being fired or at least not getting hired in the first place. Employers are very protective of their brands – as they should be – and they are cautious when making hiring decisions. If they look you up on social media and don’t like what they see, that could come back to haunt you. It might not seem fair, but it’s a reality that has wrecked many careers already. Don’t let social media ruin your career.
- Taking Long Lunches and Other Time Theft
This one is a lot less controversial. Time theft causes a lot of companies to lose money every year, and many companies are cracking down hard on employees who participate in practices such as buddy punching or even just taking longer-than-approved breaks that run into company time. If you’re on the clock but aren’t working, you are basically stealing from your company. Sorry, but you don’t get paid to eat and text your friends.
- Using Company Computers and Devices for Personal Use
Privacy issues are another controversial issue in the workplace. When you were hired, you likely signed a waiver agreement acknowledging the right of employers to view any activity you perform on company-owned computers, cellphones and tablets. This includes their right to read emails, text messages and call logs of your activity on their equipment.
If you’re going to be saying or sending objectionable things, use your own time and your own equipment to do it. Don’t assume that using your own personal email account will be enough to guarantee your privacy.
- Making Excuses and Playing the Blame Game
You have specific roles and duties at your job, and your employer will hold you responsible for the results you achieve or fail to achieve. If you’re constantly blaming others whenever something goes wrong, management is going to notice that and have a hard time taking your future with their company seriously.
Employers are always on the lookout for people who refuse to point fingers at others and focus on results rather than focus on blame. That sense of responsibility and ownership is a hallmark of leadership, and your career will rise or fall based on your behavior in this regard.
- Abusing Drugs and Alcohol – Even On Your Own Time
Another way that your personal life can ruin your career is the use of alcohol and recreational drugs. Getting caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) – even on your own personal time off – can sink your career faster than any workplace fiasco. In such the situation, make sure that you contact a legal representative, like Thomas A. Corletta. However, be careful to exercise moderation in your off-time; it’s just not worth it to jeopardize your career over something like that.
Your employer is primarily interested in your ability to do your job, but there are a lot of things that seem to have nothing to do with work but can actually undermine your career and have long-lasting consequences. Take care to avoid these pitfalls and safeguard your career for decades to come.