11 Things Your Boss Shouldn't Catch You Doing

Actions That Will Damage Your Boss's Opinion of You

Angry Business Woman
Don't let you boss see you lose your temper ... especially with a client. Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Your boss hired you because she thought you would be an asset to the company. There are some things you could do that could disabuse her of that notion. Rather than regarding you as an employee who contributes to the company's success, she will then perceive you as someone who threatens that success. And make no mistake: perceptions are very powerful and often long lasting. Don't let your boss see you do any of the following things (and remember the best way to avoid getting caught is to not do them in the first place).

  1. Losing your temper: Your boss realizes you're human, and like everyone, will react emotionally from time to time. Try your best to keep those occasions to a minimum. You don't want your boss to see you as someone who can't control her anger.
  2. Being rude to a customer or client: Your employer's customers and clients are their bread and butter. A customer who feels insulted may take his business elsewhere. Even if he doesn't do that, he may be reluctant to recommend the company to others.
  3. Spending work time on non-work related activities: Most bosses understand the occasional personal phone call or a few moments browsing a non-work related website but, understandably, they also expect you to stay on task. If your boss catches you tending to personal tasks one too many times, he or she won't be able to help but assume you aren't doing your job.
  4. Complaining about being bored or even looking bored: Make noise about being bored and your boss will assume you don't have enough to do ... and she'd be correct. Then she would wonder why. Have you completed all your work and have nothing left to do? Instead of sitting there idle, did you ask for more work? Have you tended to some mundane tasks like straightening up your cubicle or filing?
  1. Stealing: Everyone knows taking what doesn't belong to him is wrong, but some people don't think pocketing a few pens or note pads counts as stealing because those items, individually, are pretty inexpensive. The costs do add up though. If your boss sees you leave with even a few items, he will wonder what else you are taking or what you will take next.
  1. Badmouthing him or her: Does this one even need further explanation? No one, not your boss, your spouse, your child, likes it when others say bad things about her. Do you?
  2. Complaining about your job: If your boss thinks you are unhappy at work, he will be expecting you to quit at some point and, therefore, may be hesitant to give you choice assignments—assignments that in fact may help make your job more enjoyable. This doesn't mean that if you have real grievances you should stay silent. Discussing them with your boss can be very productive and you may be able to resolve your problems. The key is to be upfront and refrain from unproductive grumbling.
  3. Working on your resume: You are advised to always keep your resume up-to-date at all times ... just don't do the updating while you're on company time. If you don't have a computer at home, there are likely ones you can use at your public library. If not, ask a friend if you can use theirs.
  4. Having a private conversation with your significant other, children or parents: As a society we've gotten very used to having most of our conversations on our cell phones out in public. We hardly even pay attention when the person next to us on a bus or train is embroiled in a heated conversation with someone on the other end of the line, right? Well, not really. You can't help but eavesdrop even if you're trying not to.  You certainly don't want your boss knowing what is going on in your personal life so have those conversations privately during a break.
  1. Using your phone during a meeting to text, play games or post on social networks: Distracted by your phone during meetings? In the past all you had to do is follow the old rule of thumb and put it away. You were able to successfully avoid the temptation to text, play a game or post status updates. Now, you hardly have a choice but to keep your phone right in front of you since you probably use it as your note pad, calculator and calendar. You have to exercise some serious self control.
  2. Drinking too much: Obviously (we hope) you aren't going to drink while at work, but what about those holiday parties? Is it okay to have a drink or two? If you know you can handle an alcoholic beverage, have one ... one not two. You may know you can easily handle a couple of drinks, but your boss may see that as excessive.