From the workplace: ‘You’re fired!’

Looking to start a second or even a third career? Then you’re not alone. An increasing number of boomers are looking to embark on new careers whether for reasons of self-fulfillment or because of changing lifestyle or financial needs.

Finding a job these days is all too often a job in itself. The Internet and other technological advances have replaced a simpler era when the typical job search meant responding to a newspaper ad with a cover letter and resume.

After spending weeks or months marketing yourself to find a job, the last thing you want is to hear the infamous words “You’re fired” – and find yourself back into the job market.

Here are some moves to avoid the dreaded pink slip:

1. Learn what’s expected of you. Don’t assume you know what your manager expects, but discuss exactly what his or her expectations are, the specifics of your responsibilities, and any deadlines or relevant department policies. This ensures you’ll know how your performance will be measured.

2. Take the initiative. While you do need to set limits, also show a willingness to b part of the team and take on occasional projects outside of your job description.

3. Don’t abuse your computer. Remember that most companies monitor their employees’ emails, instant messaging and other Internet usage. This includes what you do on your laptop after hours.

4. Leave gossip to the tabloids. While it is difficult to avoid office gossip entirely, don’t be the one to spread it.

5. Save your complaining for after work. No matter how legitimate your complaints, you don’t want your boss overhearing what an idiot he or she is at the coffee machine.

6. Deadlines are not guidelines. 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.

7. Give credit when it’s due. No one wants to work with an arrogant or egotistical employee who steals ideas or demeans others. Likeable employees usually move up the company ranks more quickly.

8. Keep your personal life personal. It’s inevitable that personal business is going to pop up during work hours, but try to keep it to a minimum. Cubicles, in particular, don’t lend any privacy, so the whole office can hear — and are distracted by – personal phone calls.

9. Be on time. This is not only a matter of business etiquette but an indication of your sense of responsibility and trustworthiness.

10. Don’t consider the supply closet your personal store. Remember that for many companies, this is considered actual stealing.

Blog with caution
If you have a blog and you decide to write about work, do so with caution. Posting pictures of yourself at work, disclosing confidential information about an employer or bad-mouthing a co-worker is likely to be considered inappropriate behaviour. Employees reportedly have been fired for indiscreet blogging at a number of companies including Starbucks, Delta Air Lines and K-Mart.

Experts suggest asking about your company’s blogging policy, even if you plan to blog anonymously. A few questions you might want to ask: Is it acceptable to mention your employer in your blog? Are there topics that are off-limits? What are the consequences?

Keep in mind that your blog is by no means your private journal. And if you need to vent, this can be a risky place to do it.


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