Poised and Professional: 7 Things You Should Never Do in the Office


If you’re fortunate enough to inherit a long-established family fortune, then you probably have no idea what it’s like to work in an office.

If, however, you weren’t born into that kind of lifestyle, then you will most likely spend most of your adult life at work – something like 1/3 of your lifetime, or roughly 900,000 waking hours.

With eye-opening statistics like those, working a job you actually enjoy (or at least aren’t looking to leave any time soon) is practically like hitting the family-fortune lottery.

The last thing you want to do when you have a good job is accidentally (or absent-mindedly) do something to jeopardize it.

7 Things You Should Never Do In The Office

Poised and Professional- 7 Things You Should Never Do in the Office

Check out our top seven things you should never do in the office to ensure you keep the job you have.

1# Don’t Play the Blame Game

When a project doesn’t go as planned, or your boss is disappointed in your team’s performance, it’s important not to throw the rest of your co-workers under the bus to save yourself. After all, a team effort is just that, and we all know that there’s “no ‘I’ in team.”

Instead of tattling on a co-worker who isn’t pulling their weight, speak up to them directly and let them know that they’re letting the rest of the department down by not bringing their all to the project.

Or if you feel like you’re overqualified for an assigned task, request to have a review with your superior, and express your concerns and desire for more responsibility in a professional manner that doesn’t make you seem full of yourself or above the position into which you were initially hired.

2# Don’t Ride the Gossip Train

Everyone likes a little water cooler talk to break up the day but do yourself a favor and make sure the only gossiping you do at work is about which Bachelorette you think deserves the final rose.

In other words, save yourself those inevitable and brutally awkward moments in the hallway by resisting the urge to partake in office gossip.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to get a reputation as someone that can’t be trusted, because that can be a tough reputation to shake even several years (and several jobs) down the line.

And if you don’t participate in passing judgment on other people’s work performance or personal troubles, then, chances are, your co-workers will pay you the same courtesy.

3# Don’t Whine

A complaint about an unhealthy working environment or an unruly client is one thing but complaining about how someone signs their emails or how you don’t like the looks of someone else’s desk is another.

Everyone has something about their job that annoys them, but, unless you have a solution to fix the problem, it’s better to keep it to yourself.

It’s OK to blow off steam to a trusted co-worker every once in a while, but do it too much and you’ll risk the possibility of alienating that office ally.

Instead, do your best to keep a positive attitude at the office and choose to share your “small problem” office frustrations to a partner, friend or therapist instead.

4# Don’t Dress Inappropriately

More and more offices are adopting a more “business casual” attire as the norm these days, and it can without a doubt cause some confusion when trying to establish an appropriate work wardrobe. When it comes to a more relaxed office wardrobe, remember that you’re still presenting a professional look – even if casual Fridays have become more of an everyday thing.

Opt to give a chic, professional edge to every outfit you wear to work. For example, baggy jeans and sneakers is probably a no-go for most jobs, but well-tailored skinny jeans with a pair of heels or dress flats will definitely pass.

Sneak that cute new tank top into your work wardrobe rotation by wearing it under a stylish cardigan or dress up your basic but comfy shift dress with a sleek fitted blazer and a statement necklace.

Invest in a few quality pieces that can dress up most outfits, and you’ll always have something stylish and work-appropriate to wear to the office.

5# Don’t Take on More Than You Can Handle

Offering to burn the midnight oil once in a while to get a project across the finish line is one thing – offering to do it every week is another. Be mindful of the amount of unnecessary overtime you accumulate on projects.

Depending on your company’s payroll policy and individual work-life-balance-philosophy, you may need permission from a supervisor to put in extra hours to meet a deadline, so you shouldn’t assume that it’s always an option.

Every employer appreciates a dedicated, hardworking employee, but if you’re always volunteering your personal time to get work done, then you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and ultimately slacking in other areas of job performance.

Plus, you don’t want to get taken advantage of – which can definitely become a thing if you aren’t careful.

6# Don’t Monopolize Work Time with Your Personal Must-Dos

When you spend 900,000 hours of your life at work, you’re definitely going to use some of that time to make the occasional doctor’s appointment or update your Facebook status to remind everyone how much you hate Mondays. Just be careful about how much work time you’re using to tend to personal matters.

People notice when you’re not doing work – especially if they are – and you don’t want someone reporting you to your supervisor or HR. If you’re really not sure when is an appropriate time to handle personal matters at work, save them for your lunch hour when you’re expected to step away and take a well-earned break to regroup so you can finish the day strong.

7# Don’t Come to Work When You’re Sick

When you find yourself with a bonus day off from work, you want to make the most of it – like working on your tan or catching up on your beauty sleep.

Unfortunately, sometimes making the most of that day off from work needs to be dedicated to getting over an illness and keeping your germs away from others at work.

It may seem like your place of work can’t possibly function without you but trust us when we say they’d much rather try to juggle your workload today than suffer through your symptoms next week.

Creating a healthy work and life balance isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely more attainable when you have a job to which you enjoy going. Stay poised and professional at your job and keep these seven “don’ts” in mind when going into your next week at work.

Author Bio: Simone Scanga is the manager for the Red Dress Boutique editorial team. She oversees all of the content and marketing initiatives for the company. When she’s not working or writing, you can find her researching the latest fashion trends, hanging out with friends, or at her local yoga studio.