There are behaviors that are cool if you’re with friends but just not appropriate in the workplace. Some behaviors are just not appropriate regardless of the situation, no matter how curious or adventurous you are. Let’s face it, we’ve all been embarrassed when exploring our curiosity, but doing so in the workplace is a HUGE mistake.
Work is a place for you to act professionally and focus on the job, not act like a creep socially and freak your colleagues out. Although work can provide you with a social life, you have to carefully negotiate the social and professional sphere. This can range from inappropriate behavior to physical destruction. Many things people do come off as creepy and those people appear as though there is a failure to recognize professional boundaries in the workforce. Not only can these get you fired and make your work social life a nightmare, but they can also potentially get you into mega legal trouble.
Although each company has different policies and company culture, there are some general things you should avoid if you don’t want to look like a creepy bastard and actually want to be seen as a respectful and responsible employee.
20. Waiting For People In Weird Places
Sometimes, there are pressing business matters that need to be attended to immediately. It happens all the time. But make sure you respect people’s privacy. If they aren’t in their office or at their desk, don’t track them down. There are one too many stories of people hearing a co-worker’s voice in the bathroom and waiting outside the door for them. If it’s really that important, wait outside their office door, not the bathroom or the kitchen. This is creepy and may result in a call from HR. Send an email if you can’t find them or try again later.
19. Following People Into The Bathroom
If you need or want to talk with someone, don’t follow them into the bathroom. THIS. IS. SO. CREEPY. People like to have personal space when they do their business so give it to them. Who cares about how important that earnings report is, it can wait five minutes to be discussed. This isn’t the only way to freak people out when they are going to the bathroom: pay attention to bathroom habits. You might find yourself always following a colleague into the bathroom and although this is an innocent reaction based on biological needs, shake it up and wait five minutes to go.
18. Asking People Where They Are From
Just because someone may have a different skin color or have an accent does not give you to the right to ask them where they are from or assume they aren’t local. Further insisting on the where are you from question really demonstrates that you are a downright bastard who can’t respect your co-workers need for privacy and that you are convinced that anyone who doesn’t look or sound like you can’t possibly be from your city. If a co-worker opens up about where they are from then it’s fine to ask follow-up questions like “what was it like before you moved” but leave it to them to make the first move.
17. Repeatedly Asking Co-workers Out
Just don’t. First, if you ask someone out and they say no, let it be. They aren’t interested and if that changes they will explicitly tell you. After hearing no, don’t keep asking them out. This won’t change their answer and will label you as the creepy stalker harasser guy that no woman in the office wants to date. This will make female co-workers feel uncomfortable around you because you have clearly demonstrated you are a creepy dude who can’t respect the word no. Not only will you not get any dates by doing this, but you also might get a call from HR to discuss your inappropriate conduct because what you are doing could be considered sexual harassment.
16. Commenting on Women’s Clothing
Men, it’s one thing to say “hey I really like your dress” and another to say, “I think that dress makes you look thin/sexy/fat.” Just do not do it. It makes the women around you uncomfortable and there is already enough in the media telling women how to dress and what to look like. It also demonstrates that you view your female coworkers as objects instead of intelligent and competent employees. Keep it professional and focus conversations on work instead of the attractiveness of your co-workers. It’s not your place to tell a woman how attractive you think she is.
15. Commenting On Appearances In General
NO NO NO. You have no right to tell a woman or a man how you via career-intelligence.com think they look. These are your opinions and DO NOT positively affect your work performance or the office climate. They also make you seem like a mega bastard and super judgmental. Who has given you the right to say who is pretty or ugly, make fun of someone for having acne, or come up with any other superficial term to label someone? If you’re thinking it, don’t say it. It won’t help you professionally and definitely won’t help you build social relationships with co-workers, and depending on the company, could get you fired.
14. Touching People
Avoid touching people. A lot of people don’t like to be touched and innocent touches can be misconstrued. A comforting touch on the hand can be interpreted as an “I am interested in you,” touch. Learn your boundaries and get to know your colleagues before giving them a hug or doing an “it will be alright hand squeeze.” And definitely do not go for the butt or boob grab. It is not your place to put your hands on someone else’s body. Also, if you only do this for women, then it’s creepy AF. If you wouldn’t do it to a man at work, don’t do it to a woman. Women have eyes and will notice the differences in how you treat male co-workers.
13. Not Washing Your Hands
Most offices have communal gendered bathrooms. If you’re using the bathroom wash your hands after. First, someone might see you and tell everyone in the office that you don’t wash your hands. This goes beyond creepy to nasty. Second, it’s so gross and can make people sick (like with viruses and bacteria). And then you are going and touching communal spaces and shaking people’s hands? Ew…. Just spend 20 seconds using soap and water to scrub your hands and solve this problem. It’s really not that hard and takes minimal time out of your day and your very busy work schedule.
12. Dating Multiple People At The Office
We spend so much time at work that often our main social circles are comprised of work colleagues. And when people mingle, relationships form and end. Be wary of dating multiple people from the office. First of all, women talk. So it’s very likely that your ex and your current fling have compared notes (and potentially pretty negative ones) about you. Also, everyone will know that you are dating in the office and other women will be on guard if your current fling ends since you like to choose co-workers as your partners. On the same note, don’t talk about your ex to random work colleagues; this shows that you can’t separate your professional and personal life.
11. Making Sex Jokes With Colleagues
Please don’t. You may think these jokes are harmless or a good way to make friends but seriously avoid these at all costs. These are awkward and uncomfortable for almost all involved. It gets even skeezier when you start making these jokes with people of the opposite gender because it looks like a come on. Not only might these jokes be offensive, but they can make the workspace feel unsafe for some colleagues. If you are interested in dating a colleague, this will be an immediate turn-off. Demonstrate some self-respect and keep some personal things to yourself and if you must make these jokes, do so off the clock with your friends.
10. Acting Like A Bro
You are not in college anymore. If you want to talk about your sex and party life that is fine but doing so in the office, especially in an attempt to impress people, is not cool. I get some company cultures are more permissive of bro attitudes, but there is a fine line between making jokes and acting like a frat boy at work (i.e. showing up late and drunk/hungover). Most women are not impressed with it and will attempt to avoid you at all costs. Save your frat time for when you’re off the clock, at a party with friends and come to work acting professional.
9. Connecting With Colleagues Outside of Work
If you ask for a colleague’s phone number or their name on Facebook and they don’t tell you, respect that. They probably have a pretty good reason why they do not want (or have) to tell you why. Do not keep insisting that they give you their number. This just makes you look like an inconsiderate pig. Remember, not everyone wants to be your best friend or finds you attractive and that’s alright. What’s not is insisting that they do or that you connect with them outside of the professional world. There are plenty of other people who will want to hang out with you, just consider meeting them on an app like Tinder which is meant to connect people.
8. Stealing Office Equipment
We’ve all taken the occasional pen or paper clip from work, but if you do not own it do not take it. It belongs to the company and can lead to some pretty negative consequences, especially if it’s something fancy and expensive. First, you will get labeled as the cheap dude who can’t bother to use his salary to buy stuff, and who would want to date someone like that? Then you will probably get a warning from HR. If things really escalate, then you could find yourself at the losing end of a court case. Just don’t take stuff that’s not yours and if you need something to work from home let the company know before swiping it.
7. Joking About Women’s Health
Women are tired of hearing how their period is causing them to be moody or act like a complete she-devil. It’s not funny and super insensitive. These women are stronger than you and you’re a bastard if you think otherwise: they show up to work, often in excruciating amounts of pain and they get their work done. Would you be able to handle menses and work at the same time? If you haven’t tried then don’t belittle women because our bodies work a little differently. If you do you’ll be that bastard that no woman wants to work with or hire.
6. Watching Explicit Content
So sometimes we all have desires that need to be satiated…. but using a work computer to satisfy your needs isn’t appropriate. Many companies are moving to open office plans, which means that you won’t be able to watch this content without drawing mega attention to yourself unless you happen to work for one of these companies. Watching this content and satisfying your needs in the workplace, where other people can potentially see you, is super risky and a great way to be labeled a sexual predator. Just don’t do it. If it’s a desperate need, then you need to change your morning routine.
5. Mass Forwarding Personal Emails
If it’s personal, keep it to yourself. Likely your colleagues either don’t want to know or it’s information you should not be sharing with them. I am sorry you childhood dog muffin died, but the whole office does NOT need an email from your mom telling you about it. The entire office will think you are unable to create clear boundaries between the personal and the professional. If it’s something serious, take a personal day from work and let your boss or HR know. They are the only people who should be privy to personal information that affects your job performance.
4. Ogling Colleagues
Show some respect for the people you work with. It doesn’t matter how hot you think Linda from marketing is, you do not have the right to continuously stare at her. This will freak her out and she will intentionally avoid you (and will definitely never consider dating you). And she’ll talk. She will tell other people in the office about your creepy behaviors and you will become a social pariah. Not to mention you’ll be getting a call from HR about your inappropriate behavior. So stop staring at colleagues and focus on what you are getting paid to do: WORK.
3. Sleeping With Interns
Sleeping with interns appears prominently within the American political sphere and media (I mean Fitz from Scandal captures both in the first episode). Don’t do it. You don’t want to be known for hooking up with every 20-year-old college kid who thinks she’s landed her dream internship for the summer because you fall in love with every woman who walks your way, only to end things when you realize that the age difference is a dealbreaker. You are in a position of power (as a permanent employee), and even though you may have lovey-dovey feelings for the intern, wait until they leave the company to make your move.
2. Facebook Stalking
We have all stalked some of our colleagues on Facebook before, but do NOT bring the information you’ve found from stalking their social media up in casual conversation. They went skydiving 5 years ago? Cool. But what does it say about you if you ask them about that one time they went skydiving 5 years ago and have never talked about? Everyone will think you are an online creeper who can’t respect professional boundaries. If you choose to continue social media stalking (please try to refrain from it), remember not to like or comment on things either. It will really freak out your work colleagues.
1. Spreading Rumors
Who hasn’t experienced a rumor being spread about them? They can be pretty hurtful- both emotionally and professionally and it really sucks. If you get rejected by Stacy don’t make up stories about her being promiscuous or incompetent at work. It will either haunt hurt her professionally, people may think you are the biggest bastard in the world for starting a rumor in the first place, or both. It could even get you in trouble with your boss. If someone doesn’t want to go out with you, don’t try to destroy them because what goes around always comes back around.
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