By Pierra Calasanz-Labrador for Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Do you constantly gripe about your boss, check Facebook every five minutes, or time in late every single day? These commonplace habits could actually lead to a bad performance review, or in extreme cases, even dismissal. We asked HR manager/consultant Jennifer Joson-Virginio, who’s had over 10 years of experience at both IT and publishing companies, to share with us management’s top pet peeves that could put your job at risk.
Bad habit #1: Procrastination. In the workplace, this “bahala na/mañana (tomorrow) attitude” translates to disrespect for other people’s time. Virginio says this includes, “Missing out on or being late for meetings, deadlines, reports, and dishonoring a previous agreement.” Don’t forget that you are part of a team, and your tardiness may affect productivity. And your job could really be on the line when a late or slapdash presentation costs the company a big client.
Remedy: Do whatever you can to get to work on time—go to bed early, prepare your outfit the night before, and don’t forget to set your alarm. (Tip: The MMDA app for real time traffic updates is really useful.) Be aware of the scope and deadlines for every task/project, and work it into your schedule. Learn how to manage your time wisely and don’t put off tasks you can accomplish.
Bad habit #2: Gossiping. It starts off innocently enough—people hanging around the water cooler venting about a co-worker or a boss. “But,” says Virginio, “there’s a very fine line between storytelling and rumor mongering, or when innocent chitchat turns into character assassination.” Everybody does it anyway, right? So you rant about your boss, the cause of your misery. Or perhaps you sour grape over your co-worker’s raise, and in true crab mentality fashion, nitpick, speculate, or even embellish to make the gossip session-turned-lynch mob more interesting.
Virginio says, “Talking about the boss, talking to the boss about others, talking to peers about others, posting rants, complaints, and blind items on social media, definitely fall under rumor mongering.” And just because the subject of your ire isn’t your Facebook friend, that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t see your posts!
Remedy: Remember that rule you learned in kindergarten? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you must talk about someone, stick to the facts—never make up stories, embellish the truth, or defame someone’s character or work ethic to make yourself look good. And as for social media, remember, nothing is truly private in cyberspace.
Bad habit #3: Politicking. Virginio explains: “This means making a stand because this is what YOU believe is true and right.” You may wonder how such a seemingly noble trait can get you in trouble, but it can be counterproductive when you’re constantly at odds with management or stubbornly refuse to accept new ways of doing things. Yes, fight for what you believe in; but when you poison the staff against management and breed contempt instead of genuinely trying to find solutions, then you yourself become a problem that they will want to remove.
Remedy: When we come across things that we find wrong or unjust in the workplace, we must air our concerns in the proper forums, and try to suggest effective solutions instead of simply lambasting the system. The common goal of both staff and management is to have a harmonious working relationship; that means putting aside pride to see the other point of view. Says Virginio, a boss’s pet peeve is “when you speak more than you listen. It should be directly proportional, with listening being a prerequisite to speaking.”
Bad habit #4: Lying, Cheating, Stealing. From the little white lies you tell your boss about being sick (only for him to discover incriminating blow-by-blow accounts of your Boracay fun all over Twitter), to taking the credit for someone else’s work, to falsifying documents or accepting kickbacks, every little fake thing you do can potentially cost you your job. Says Virginio, “No matter how small the lie/excuse/item/amount, it can lead to permanent loss of trust and confidence.”
Remedy: Be honest, trustworthy and full of integrity. Lies can damage your image and reliability, but unscrupulous behavior (plagiarism, theft) is downright unforgivable and cause for termination.
Bad habit #5: Being unprofessional. There’s nothing wrong with making the workplace fun, but take care not to be wildly inappropriate. Prime examples: Talking too much/talking too loudly/being disruptive during work, making lewd comments bordering on sexual harassment, and repeatedly disregarding the dress code or office etiquette. More unprofessional behavior includes being inconsiderate, unleashing your mood swings on co-workers, treating interns shabbily, or simply being a sourpuss and infecting everyone with your negative vibes.
Just remember: when it’s downsizing-time and everyone on staff is equally skilled, it’s the employee with an attitude problem that will be first on the chopping block.
Remedy: You’re not in school anymore where detention or demerits were the only penalty; this time, inappropriate behavior goes into your professional record. To advance your career, it’s important to have a professional attitude to match a great skill set. What’s the first step to breaking a bad habit? Jen advises, “Believe in yourself but be humble enough to accept your mistakes and weaknesses, and listen to feedback with the genuine intention to improve oneself—everything becomes constructive after that.”