We spend most of our waking hours at work, but it's important to keep the boundaries between work life and personal life firmly intact. It will help you maintain your integrity, ethics and good reputation, not to mention goodwill among your colleagues and boss.
- Don't sell (peddle, force, coerce, or guilt) your coworkers into buying your children's fundraising items. Virtually all parents will be facing a fundraiser at some point in which anyone with a few dollars or a blank check is a target for candy bars, wrapping paper or cookie dough. Don't put colleagues on the spot by asking them to purchase your son's Boy Scout popcorn or your daughter's frozen pies.
- Don't look for a new job while on the clock at your current job. It's bad form to send out resumes and set up appointments for interviews while on your current company's time. For starters, it's just wrong to look for a new job while being paid to perform your existing job. Not only is there zero privacy on your company email account, but you are also letting prospective employers know that you have no problem using company time and resources for personal reasons. This says you will no doubt do the same on their watch.
- Don't work on your "side business" during your full-time job. If you have a part-time business that runs itself, it is easier to go through the day without distractions. If you, however, are the sole employee and emails and phone calls need to be returned, it's not okay to do it on your current employer's time. It's also important to use your own resources, computers, paper and other office supplies - not those of your full-time employer.
- Don't research and write your thesis at work. It's impressive that you are working full-time and taking college courses at night, but don't finish up your homework or last minute research on the job. Reserve your time at work strictly for the tasks you are currently getting paid for, even if the extra education you are pursuing will ultimately benefit you in your current job.
- Don't plan your next vacation. Researching vacation choices such as tropical destinations, hotels, airfares and exciting activities can be time consuming. Search online during your lunch break but not from 8 - 5. Your unpaid vacation may start sooner than you think.
- Don't play games, such as Words With Friends, with your friends, family or coworkers. This is a game you just can't win. You are bound to eventually get caught. Once busted, it's hard to shake the label of "the person who plays Words With Friends all day and thinks no one knows."
- Don't talk on your cell phone in the restroom. It can be hard to find privacy at work when you need to make an important personal call, but the bathroom is a poor choice. Not only are you unlikely to find true privacy in a stall, you will create an awkward situation for anyone else who wanders in for legitimate purposes while you are chatting.
- Don't video or take pictures of your colleagues or boss. You may think it's funny to catch your coworker singing to Katy Perry, but posting it on Facebook is an invasion of privacy, and not very considerate.
- Don't have a heated argument with your spouse for everyone to hear. Always assume that privacy is an illusion at the office. No matter how upset you may be, stay focused on where you are and maintain your composure. Don't air your personal problems in front of colleagues.
- Don't post on social media while on the clock. If you are posting status updates, tweeting, sharing pins and "liking" other people's updates, it's easy to assume you are not diligently working on the project that is overdue. Post on your own time, before work, at lunch, or in the evening. For more tips, refer to my blog (including my post on the Top Ten Mistakes Young Professionals Make), connect with me here on Huffington Post and "Like" me on Facebook at Protocol School of Texas.
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