5 Surefire Ways to Piss-Off Your Boss

02/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Falling revenue, profits, salaries and bonuses, and forced participation in the layoff lottery have all certainly spiced up the workplace lately. But if your current frustration is dwarfed by your necessity to cling to your present paycheck, here are a few things you may wish to avoid:

1) The Talker Stalker - Every office has one - The Talker - the person who is continually stirring up the political pot at the office. They wreck havoc on a work environment, and over time will almost certainly be eliminated. You are NOT that person. You are a hard worker, and mostly steer clear of office politics. But beware, The Talker is always looking for a friend, and you would do best to avoid them. Your boss already is aware of The Talker and their behavior, but can become even more infuriated to see good employees like you getting sucked in.

2) The Expense White Lie - You took that trip to NY, and were given blank taxi receipts to fill out and submit to your employer. Did you really tip the cabbie $10? On several occasions I have observed employees trying to lightly game the system for an extra $3, or $5. It has cost them tens of thousands. As Albert Einstein once said, "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."

3) The Post Raise Request - Managers are continually trying to balance employee rewards against company profits - distributing money in salary and bonuses to recognize (and incentivize) good performance, while keeping expenses as low as possible for the health of the company. When you receive a raise or a bonus (especially in these uncertain times), be thankful, and then be quiet. Requesting additional perks, or bringing up compensation within months of being rewarded conveys that you may never be satisfied. Ironically, if your boss feels that your continual requests or complaints are indicative of lack of appreciation, they will be much less likely to use compensation as a reward tool for you in the future.

4) Prioritizing the Pet - As I have written about numerous times, it's really the things you accomplish beyond your stated objectives that allow you to differentiate yourself from the pack at work. But you MUST finish your stated objectives first! Putting energy and initiative into areas outside of your defined scope of work while your primary tasks lag will only be seen as poor judgment, regardless of what else you might be working on.

5) Sucking Face with a Customer's Spouse
- I was at an employer sponsored event which brought together the company's top performing salespeople and key customers. There was drinking and dancing (and more drinking), and the next thing you know one of the sales people was making out with one of his customer's wives! OK, it may be quite a stretch to draw a lesson from this to apply in your own career, but that makes it no less humorous! Evidently, it is a much safer strategy to play tonsil hockey with the spouse of a competitor's customer.

What are some other situations to avoid at work?

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