3. If you can’t hold your alcohol don’t drink. We had one young employee fresh out of college and we sent him on a plane trip. He got so drunk they escorted him off the plane. This immediately red-flagged him, ruining any chance of advancement for years. He was effectively on unlimited probation and the next mistake he made he was gone. There are lots of stories of folks who got fired for something they did while intoxicated, and god save you if you get arrested for drunk driving while on a business trip.
4. Don’t pursue a relationship with co-workers. This was actually the same guy. He was attracted to one of the women in the office and he sent her inappropriate emails. She flagged this as harassment and he was warned once, he did it again, and was terminated. These days you’d likely not get the first warning, particularly if you were already on probation for another infraction. Generally, it is just a bad idea to date in the office because, if you break up, it can make the working environment hell. But if you are turned down, the sexual harassment rules tend to be really nasty.
5. Don’t tell jokes. I know this seems severe but a lot of folks, particularly when they are young, haven’t learned what topics are acceptable. Jokes about managers can get back to them and off-color jokes can get you fired. We had a senior sales executive who, after being told of IBM’s zero tolerance policy on racial jokes, decided to test the policy. Two of the biggest security guys I’ve ever seen picked him up and carried him out of the building never to return.
We had a call center manager who, after being asked by a female employee, how to get a raise, responded in jest that she’d have to pleasure him (he was a tad more graphic). She didn’t report him, and actually thought it was funny (they were friends), but two woman sales reps who overheard him did report it. He was a well-regarded senior manager and he was demoted out of management and sent to a branch office, his career effectively over. A less well-connected employee would have been terminated.
6. Don’t pad expenses. You are given a certain amount of trust when it comes to things like travel expenses and some folks think they can pad their income by padding their expenses. One of the greatest pleasures an auditor has, and I used to be one, is reviewing expense reports and catching folks who have abused this trust. The reason is that much of what we catch is boring process stuff that showcases exposures but doesn’t actually catch crimes.
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