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What Kind of Employee Do You Want to Be?

If every employee understood the value of going beyond the call of the employment duty, I would have no reason to write this article. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that our career future rests in our own hands. It is always a great feeling to complete a resume, go on interviews, and land a good job. What comes next: responsibilities, growth, promotions OR mistakes, reprimands, and terminations? So often the negative can rear its ugly head simply because we don’t understand the basic employment No-No’s that can take us into a career nightmare.

So let’s be proactive and do a little self-evaluation. Below are a list of behaviors and actions that can devastate your employment. Do any of them relate to you? It is never too late to begin a reconstruction plan, but it starts with knowing the problems. As you read the list, ask yourself, "Have I ever engaged in any of these negative behaviors on a job?"

Are You Missing the Employment Growth Boat?

  1. Negative attitude...Have you been told you seem angry, moody or unhappy?

  2. Gossiping... Do you gossip about others, regardless of how or where it began?

  3. Arguments...Have you argued with co-workers over petty issues…clothes, men, tasks...etc.?

  4. Flirting...Do you flirt or engage in inappropriate conversations at work?

  5. Internet... Are you on the Internet or e-mailing outside of the scope of the job?

  6. Substance use...Have you consumed alcohol or taken illegal drugs before or during your workday?

  7. Gum...Do you chew gum, suck on lollipops or eat outside of your break times?

  8. Sneaking...Have you come in late to work or have a history of absenteeism?

  9. Falsely...Have you ever exaggerated on timecard or other company documents?

  10. Failing...Do you fail to complete tasks, make mistakes or are untimely in your work?

  11. Failure...Have you failed to volunteer for additional work or over time; poor work ethic; laziness; or had a lack of motivation and initiative?

  12. Stealing...Have you taken company property…pens, paper, tools, money, copies...etc.?

  13. Swearing...Do you speak professionally or your use foul and slang language?

  14. Harassment...Have you ever been a part of sexual, physical, verbal or implied harassment?

  15. Failure...Do you always listen and follow directions as they are given?

  16. Excessive...Do you use the company phone for more than an emergency call?

  17. Inappropriate...Do you look professional in your attire; Clothing, accessories, perfume...etc?

  18. Lying...Do you tell the truth: Or do you lie or misrepresent the truth if you think it is ok?

  19. Not adhering...Do you know the company policies, but ignore them if needed?

  20. Failure...Have you ever bypassed the chain of command in your company?

If you have found that some of these negative behaviors are familiar to you, then it is time to take action. Positive behaviors reflect the basic idea that companies expect honest, hard-working employees. Remember that you can always ask your supervisor about the expectations of the company if you are not sure. However, you cannot claim that you did not know a certain rule or policy by playing dumb. You must also be sure to read the employee handbook that you receive upon your employment. It is always your responsibility to know what the expectations of your employer. Also, be sure to listen closely to any review that you get from a supervisor or manager. It is ok to ask questions about that review, but always follow their advice for improvement. Think of it this way: What expectations would you have for employees in your own business? The "Golden Rule" is a good tool to remember and then you will then be on your way to being a great employee.

-Sheri A. Callahan, President Horizon Headhunters, LLC
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