When is falling asleep or knocking back a stiff drink just not OK? When you do it at the office (or behind the wheel). But each day millions commit these common workplace taboos — and even more scandalous ones.
Not all workplace no-no’s are created equal in terms of seriousness or consequences, says executive recruiter and career counselor Bruce Hurwitz. “Some taboos can be forgiven or raise concerns about your well being. Others can result in immediate dismissal,” he says.
A Harris Interactive Poll of 5,700 US workers found people confessing to all sorts of questionable behavior at the office. Here are some of the top workplace taboos they admitted to:
1. Falling asleep at work (45 percent) – Need a personal barista to help you stay awake at work?Snoozing on the job looks downright unprofessional and is not generally appreciated by employers.
If you find yourself drifting off on a regular basis, it may mean that you need a more stimulating and engaging career. Take a free career interest test to find your ideal job.
2. Kissing a co-worker (39 percent) – This number shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone who has spent time in an office setting. According to a Valentine’s Day survey of more than 8,000 workers, 40 percent have dated a co-worker — about the same number that have kissed.
3. Stealing from the office (22 percent) – Ever wonder where people get the office supplies they use at home? Chances are pretty good they pilfer at least some of them from work. While the Harris survey indicates that only about one-fifth of workers take office supplies, an OfficeMax Workplace Uncoveredsurvey reveals what’s probably closer to the truth: A whopping 56 percent of workers confessed to taking office supplies home. Top items were pens, pencils, and highlighters.
4. Taking credit for someone else’s work (2 percent) – Stealing pencils from the office is one thing. Stealing ideas from a co-worker and passing them off as your own is quite another. Only 2 percent of employees in the Harris survey admitted doing this. But in a survey by OfficeTeam, nearly 30 percent of workers say they’ve had their ideas stolen at work. (The huge gulf between the figures may be because this is pretty hard taboo to admit; it’s easier to talk about when you’re the victim.) Keeping your supervisor informed of your ideas and your progress is good preventative medicine, say career experts.5. Spreading a rumor about a co-worker (22 percent) – While some office gossip is relatively harmless, spreading a rumor can be damaging not only to the subject , but also to the rumor-monger. Besides getting a bad reputation as an office gossip, spreading rumors can even lead to a lawsuit. Whether you publish a falsehood verbally, in writing, or on the internet, you could end up in a pricey defamation suit
6. Consuming alcoholic beverages while on the job (21 percent) – There was a time when keeping a bottle in your desk drawer was almost de rigeur in some professions. (Just watch any episode of Mad Men.) Now most companies have a zero-tolerance policy for tippling in the office.
Still, more than one-fifth of the Harris survey respondents said they’d enjoyed booze while on the job. A recent TV news investigation found that drinking on the job was all too common among some New York City construction workers. One worker they witnessed knocked back six cocktails in a half-hour!
7. Snooping after hours (18 percent) – While it’s legal for many managers to access employees’ company emails and instant messages, not all office snoopers go through legitimate channels. Nearly one-fifth of survey respondents said they’d snooped around the office after hours.
The best way to foil these snoops? Log off your computer when you’re not there, change passwords frequently, have a clean-desk policy so there’s nothing to find, and use a good paper shredder for anything you’d like to keep from prying eyes.
8. Lying about an academic background (4 percent) – It seems every time you turn around there’s another story in the news about a power player tumbling off the corporate/academic ladder because of lying about education on a resume. Just recently a top Texas A & M University official resigned after it was revealed that he did not have the doctorate he’d claimed to on his CV and that he hadn’t been a Navy Seal.
If you are concerned that you don’t have enough education to meet your career goals, earning a real degree is a far better bet than lying about one on your resume.
Don’t be tempted to lie on your resume. Experts say at some point it will probably catch up with you. Instead use a resume builder for help creating an accurate, impressive resume that gets results.