By: Kate Lorenz
After spending weeks — or months — diligently looking for the perfect job, the last thing you want is to be forced back onto the job market. A few wrong steps, however, and you might see a pink slip before a paycheck. If you want to guarantee your spot in the unemployment line, try some of these moves:
Don’t bother learning what’s expected of you.
Sit down with your manager and make sure you understand exactly what your job entails, your deadlines and any relevant department policies. This eliminates ambiguity and ensures you’ll know how your performance measures up.
Learn to say, “That’s not part of my job description,” and use it frequently.
Everyone needs to set limits, but doing only the bare minimum sends a clear message that you’re just interested in a regular paycheck. Sooner or later, your boss will start looking for someone willing to take more initiative.
Go shopping in the supply closet.
While you’re at it, run a few errands with the company car and pad your expense report. Stealing from the company is one of the best ways to guarantee your immediate dismissal.
Abuse company technology.
Think your boss won’t notice that you spend more time instant messaging your friends than you do working? Think again. Most companies monitor all their employees’ e-mails and Internet usage — and that includes what you do with your laptop after hours. Never use your company computer for anything illegal or X-rated.
Complain about your job to anyone who will listen.
Whether your pay is too low, the work is drudgery or you think your boss is an idiot, be careful of who hears you complain. If it gets back to your boss, she may just put you out of your misery.
Forget teamwork — look out for No. 1.
No one wants to work with an arrogant employee who steals ideas or an egotistical worker who demeans others. Helping your co-workers doesn’t make you a pushover, it makes you smart. Likeable employees move up the company ranks more quickly, and your colleagues will be more likely to help you find leads when you launch your next job search.
Bring your personal life to work.
It’s inevitable that personal business is going to pop up during work hours. But keep in mind that cubicles don’t lend any privacy, so the whole office can hear — and are distracted by — you making that appointment with your waxer. Keep personal calls and errands to a minimum during work hours.
Consistently work “abbreviated” workdays.
Want to show your boss how little you care about your job or career progress? Regularly come in late and leave early. After all, if you can’t be trusted to show up on time, how can your boss trust you with more responsibility?
Treat deadlines more like guidelines.
When you procrastinate, everyone suffers. Your missed deadlines reflect poorly on you and your boss, and they delay everyone else on the project, since they can’t finish their work until you do yours.
Operate the gossip mill.
While you can’t avoid office gossip completely, don’t get caught spreading it. Think about it: Do you really want hurtful or untrue rumors to be traced back to you? And remember: A few martinis are no excuse for getting loose-lipped.