Sit down with your manager and make sure you understand exactly what your job entails, your deadlines and any relevant department policies. This eliminates ambiguity and ensures you'll know how your performance measures up.
Everyone needs to set limits, but doing only the bare minimum sends a clear message that you're just interested in a regular paycheck. Sooner or later, your boss will start looking for someone willing to take more initiative.
While you're at it, run a few errands with the company car and pad your expense report. Stealing from the company is one of the best ways to guarantee your immediate dismissal.
Think your boss won't notice that you spend more time instant messaging your friends than you do working? Think again. Most companies monitor all their employees' e-mails and Internet usage -- and that includes what you do with your laptop after hours. Never use your company computer for anything illegal or X-rated.
Whether your pay is too low, the work is drudgery or you think your boss is an idiot, be careful of who hears you complain. If it gets back to your boss, she may just put you out of your misery.
No one wants to work with an arrogant employee who steals ideas or an egotistical worker who demeans others. Helping your co-workers doesn't make you a pushover, it makes you smart. Likeable employees move up the company ranks more quickly, and your colleagues will be more likely to help you find leads when you launch your next job search.
It's inevitable that personal business is going to pop up during work hours. But keep in mind that cubicles don't lend any privacy, so the whole office can hear -- and are distracted by -- you making that appointment with your waxer. Keep personal calls and errands to a minimum during work hours.
Want to show your boss how little you care about your job or career progress? Regularly come in late and leave early. After all, if you can't be trusted to show up on time, how can your boss trust you with more responsibility?
When you procrastinate, everyone suffers. Your missed deadlines reflect poorly on you and your boss, and they delay everyone else on the project, since they can't finish their work until you do yours.
While you can't avoid office gossip completely, don't get caught spreading it. Think about it: Do you really want hurtful or untrue rumors to be traced back to you? And remember: A few martinis are no excuse for getting loose-lipped.
Kate Lorenz is the editor for CareerBuilder.com and its job-seeker blog, www.TheWorkBuzz.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/katelorenz.
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