workwarsIn May 2013, ABC’s 20/20 offered a segment Work Wars: The Do’s and Don’t in the Workplace. It was loaded with great advice including 8 Office Myths they equate to Office Booby Traps.

Here they are with my commentary.

1. Working too hard.

There is a FINE LINE between working hard and working ‘too’ hard. Being available 24/7 will surely backfire on you personally and professionally. It can deprive you of sleep and make you resentful. It ultimately impacts your image and your home life. If you are always accessible it appears that you lack boundaries and cannot manage your time well.

2. Signing off email, etc. “with love, X’s and O’s.”kisses

Really! Does this need an explanation? If so, you have other issues we need to address. How many colleagues do you have worthy of kisses and hugs? Bleh!

3. Feeding others.

Experts advise that you leave the baking to Betty Crocker. If you consistently haul in casseroles, candies, cakes and cookies, you will ultimately be seen as the company mascot, the classroom Mom. Next thing you know, you’re providing nosh for all meetings and in charge of the company picnic.

4. Bringing your kids to work.

While you believe your kids are ‘all that and a bag of chips,’ believe me, they leave crumbs all over the (work)place. The line between home and work is a BIG, FAT one, not a fine one. It’s unprofessional to babysit and work simultaneously from your cubicle, office or vehicle. It inconveniences co-workers, creates unprofessional noises, and is an invitation to disaster. This goes for PETS as well. I once had an employee try to keep a baby puppy under her desk all day while she wore bedroom shoes to keep it company.

5. Overdecorating.

cubes_of_warABC’s 20/20 experts maintain that pimping out your cubical or office space creates an unnecessary test of loyalty and values. They had one word for it: DON’T! Remember that BIG, FAT line between home and work. Think professionally while professionally engaged. Be personal, fluffy and comfy when you get home.

6. Talking to HR.

This is troubling but as a senior professional in human resources I totally understand it. Years ago, I learned to determine EARLY in conversations with employees exactly what they expected when they approached me for help: a confidential sounding board, an advocate, or immediate action? Issues HR cannot keep confidential: harassment , substance abuse, violence/theft in the workplace. A good HR professional can handle the rest – but ultimately they must earn your trust first.
7. Multi-tasking.
This is a tough one. I don’t know a successful person, professionally or personally, who hasn’t mastered the art of multi-tasking, most especially if they are parents. Experts advise that it creates a division of attention. The jack of all trades is the master of none. As companies are forced to do more with less, workers are being asked to do their job AND the duties of one or two others. It is challenging on ALL levels. My advice: try as best you can to give great focus to one task at a time. For more great advice: Career Advice for Stressed Employees.

8. Being Popular.
This final point was mentioned in cautioning employees NOT too share too much personal information in the workplace. As with home and work, there is a BIG, FAT LINE between personal and professional. I would take this a step further. Many employees in leadership positions are uncomfortable drawing that professional line to hold employees accountable. It happens A LOT and ultimately compromises their credibility and authority. One place or the other must come first. When present in the workplace, the workplace comes first. ALWAYS!

Okay, so they listed 8 Office Myths. I’ll add a 9th because it has become SUCH a problem.

FB9. FaceBooking About Work.

I cannot believe some of the things I read on FaceBook, written by employees who somehow believe, either it won’t get back to their employer, or they just really don’t care. It’s best to remember not to bite the hand that feeds you. You might not care for the feeder, but it IS your meal ticket as long as you are gainfully employed. Show employers outside the workplace the same respect you want to be shown inside the workplace.

Remember! It’s BUSINESS! Nothing PERSONAL!

~From the desk of Becky Morlok~

Related blogs: Hey! It’s Business! and Hey! It’s Personal!

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