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Bad Behavior That Can Make You Lose Your Job

Watch What You Do During and After Work

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We frequently hear about celebrities behaving badly or even getting arrested. The media talks about how damaging these actions may be to celebrities' careers yet time after time we see them becoming even more popular. The public may be very forgiving but will your boss be if you behave badly after work? Will your actions damage your career? It depends on what you did, who saw you doing it and how it affects your employer. Avoid these behaviors and you may save your professional reputation.

Post Risque Content on the Web

You may think that picture of you, drunk and incoherent, on MySpace or Facebook, is funny, but if your boss or prospective boss comes across it, it could be very embarrassing. Think of the image you are trying to convey. Is this it?

Get Arrested

If you get arrested, particularly if it makes the news, you can count on people including your boss, clients and co-workers looking at you a little differently. Your boss may not fire you unless you're convicted, but he or she may refrain from giving you desirable assignments until your name is cleared.

Disclose Your Employer's Secrets

Revealing proprietary information is a breach of ethics and could harm your employer where it hurts most — on the bottom line. This won't bode well for you as far as your current job is concerned and it can tarnish your reputation with future employers as well. Even competing companies that may have benefited from your indiscretion may be reluctant to hire you.

Badmouth Your Boss, Co-workers or Clients

No one likes to have nasty things said about them. If you say something mean about an acquaintance he or she may stop talking to you. Your boss may fire you, your co-workers may make going to work unpleasant and your clients may decide to go elsewhere.

Post Harmful Information About Your Employer on Your Blog

Do you have a blog? If you do, be careful what you say about your job (as well as your personal life — see the first item on this list). Things to avoid include some of the other items on this list, like badmouthing your boss or colleagues or revealing company secrets. If your reason for blogging is to vent about your job, use a pseudonym and be careful not to give enough detail that readers can discover your true identity.

Moonlight for a Competitor

If you moonlight for a competing company you could be violating your employment contract if it includes a non-compete agreement. Check your contract and your employment handbook. Even if there isn't anything that forbids you from working for a competitor, you should clear it with your boss first. He or she could see it as a conflict of interest.

Get Drunk in Front of Your Boss or Colleagues

Whether you're out to dinner with your colleagues or at an office party, which by the way is technically a work-related event, don't get drunk or misbehave in any other way. Maintaining a professional demeanor is imperative whenever you are around those with whom you work.

Make Racist, Sexist or Other Statements that Reflect Your Prejudices

While freedom of speech allows you to say whatever you want, the question is, should you? Remarks that reflect intolerance toward groups of people are hurtful and can reflect negatively on your employer if you are seen as a company representative.

Stalk or Harass a Colleague

Your boss is likely to disapprove if your colleague reports that you are doing something, even outside of work, that is making him or her uncomfortable. Should your boss conclude that your colleague may be so uncomfortable that it impedes his or her performance at work, you may be out of a job.

Get Caught Out and About on a Sick Day

You want to spend the day on the beach or at the mall shopping. Do you call in sick or take a personal or vacation day? If you picked "call in sick," think about what will happen if your boss or someone who might tell your boss, sees you enjoying your day off.

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