Or: How Not To Get Fired Once You Finally Land A Job.
I found this in an old WordPervert file that got scooped up from my old laptop and deposited in my new laptop with lots of other sage advice to myself. I compiled this through years of bitter personal experience and good advice from friends who have been there. What's the point of sage advice if you don't dump it on your readers--er, if you don't share it, says I? Anyway, here it is:
1. Show up every day, on time, neatly dressed and ready to work. Because, honestly, if you can't manage this one, the other nine aren't going to help you.
2. Remember that it's not your law firm. (Or engineering firm or government office or whatever.) You were hired to do a job there, which involves following a certain set of rules. If you don't like the rules, don't complain about them; talk to someone who has the power to change them. But if it's obvious they're not going to be changed, get over it and move on.
3. Never assume you know everything. If you have even the slightest question about how something should be done, ASK. If you're working on a big project, it's a good idea to do a small portion of it, then show that portion to your boss and make sure you're on the right track before you spend a lot of time doing it the wrong way.
4. Avoid office gossip whenever possible. When you can't avoid it, try not to add to it, and remember there's probably a lot you haven't heard. Rather than throw in your two cents, listen and nod a lot. This will gain you a reputation for being wise, and a good listener, rather than a troublemaker.
5. Treat everybody with respect, from the head honcho to the janitor. If somebody else contributed to a project and you're getting all the credit, be sure to step in and acknowledge that person's contribution. Nobody ever climbs the corporate ladder without a lot of help from friends. If you can't make friends, you won't go very far.
6. Don't date anyone you work with while you work with them. Yes, this one gets ignored a lot anymore, but it's still good advice. Too much can go wrong, and when it does, people tend to take sides.
7. Mark Twain said it first: Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot, than to open it and remove all doubt. Or something like that. You don't need to have an opinion about everything.
8. If you have a drug, alcohol, or mental health problem, or think you might, get help BEFORE it becomes a workplace problem--because sooner or later it WILL become a workplace problem, and it's hard enough to accpt help without wondering if the entire typing pool knows a judge sent you to A.A.
9. When you're at work, work on work stuff. Work on your taxes, the crossword puzzle, your marriage, your checkbook or your six-pack abs on your own time. And stay off the Internet when you don't need it for work purposes. Most especially, DO NOT SEND PERSONAL EMAIL FROM A WORK ACCOUNT. EVER. AT ALL. NOT EVEN TO SAY HI.
10. Last, but not least, remember that all jobs have their good and bad points. Nobody likes everything about a job, but you need to find something to like about yours. If you can't find anything, it's time to move on--but before you do, look over these ten again and make sure it's the job, and not you, that has the problem.
Optional No. 11: Do not drink alcohol at company functions. Yes, this is another one that gets ignored a lot anymore, but I still think it's a good idea. If you do or say something stupid under the influence, people will remember A. that you did or said something stupid and B. that you were drunk, and neither of those things are likely to enhance your reputation in the office.
I think I adopted these from my dad's "10 Rules for Flying." I can't recall all ten of them now, but I think my favorite was, "If a crash is inevitable, hit the softest cheapest thing you can find as slowly as possible." Y'all have a nice safe weekend, now.