Don't Get Fired

9 Things You Should Never Do at Work

Drunk Woman
••• Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Some days you hate your job so much that you wish you didn't have to spend another day there. However miserable you feel, don't get fired! If your job is awful, find a new one and then quit.

Quitting is a much better option than getting fired. Doing something so extreme can have long-lasting repercussions and absolutely no benefits. Prospective employers will ask your reasons for leaving your previous job. It is much better to talk about your desire to move on than to say you got fired. If you are counting on unemployment benefits, they may not be available if your boss fires you. Many states may disqualify or delay a fired employee from collecting benefits if the dismissal was due to misconduct.

9 Things That Can Get You Fired

These are nine things to never do at work unless you really do want to get fired. But to be clear, that should never be your goal.

  1. Arrive Late Regularly
    Bosses frown upon tardiness. Being late shows a lack of commitment to your job. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for work instead of dragging yourself out of bed whenever you feel like it. Leave home early enough to avoid being detained by traffic or public transportation delays. If you have errands, either do them afterward or leave enough time to take care of them before you have to be there.
  2. Take Long Lunches
    Taking a break during the day is great. It provides time to clear your head and maybe even get some exercise during a long workday. However, limit your lunchtime to an hour, or less if your employer's rules state otherwise.
  3. Drink During the Day
    Consuming alcohol and then going back to work is a terrible idea. Drinking even a beer or glass of wine can cloud your judgment and make you unable to focus on your work. Even if it doesn't, if you come back to the office smelling like a bar, it could alter your boss's impression of your ability to do your job.
  4. Make Personal Phone Calls
    Having a cell phone makes it easy for friends and family to reach you at any time but don't get carried away. While getting a call or two during the workday is usually okay, unless your employer prohibits it, pay more attention to your job than your phone. And keep all calls short. During the workday isn't the time for long chats and catching up.
  5. Text, Use Social Media, and Catch Up on Email
    Work isn't the place to text excessively, peruse social media, or catch up on personal email. Take care of those activities during your lunch break. Also, don't use your work email for anything that isn't related to your job.
  6. Download Material to Your Work Computer
    Don't download anything that isn't related to work to your company-issued computer. Sure, downloading a few music files may be okay if your employer allows it, but be careful about everything else. If your boss is looking for an excuse to fire you, don't make it easy by leaving an electronic trail of evidence on your computer.
  7. Make the Customers/Clients Angry
    Your boss is probably watching your interactions with customers or clients. Even if not, they will take notice if there are complaints. If your job involves dealing with the public, either in person or on the phone, always be polite. Never ignore a customer, try to find answers to their questions even if it means asking for someone else's help, and return phone calls in a timely fashion.
  8. Refuse to Go Beyond Your Job Description
    As long as it isn't against company rules, step in to offer help when needed, even if the work that needs to be done is outside your usual job description. Refusing to do something because it's "beneath you" isn't a good look.
  9. Leave Work Early
    If you complete your assignments early, that doesn't mean it's okay to clock out. Find something else to work out, even if it is just straightening up your desk or cleaning out a drawer. Your boss will get the wrong idea if it doesn't look like you have enough to do.