By Afiq Jauhari
The word “taboo” in this age might bring up the classic board game or the Black-Eyed Peas member to mind, but let us not forget its original meaning, which refers to unspoken truths and unwritten rules surrounding us. However, as society evolves with time and progress, the taboos tend to change as well. What was inappropriate in the 90s may already be an accepted norm in 2013 and it is of utmost importance to keep oneself updated. Be it in any environment or during any activity, it helps to know exactly what’s in the conceptual rulebook to avoid misunderstandings that may reach biblical proportions. Here’s a list of the common no-nos that you may not know.
Dating a Co-Worker
This may come as a surprise to Gen-Y employees, but dating co-workers is actually one of the longest standing taboos at the workplace. The younger generation may view these ‘flings’ as an efficient way of finding partners without actual socializing outside of office hours. Their older peers, however, may not appreciate this increasingly occurring culture as it still clearly shows a conflict of interest while on the job, and may lead to unproductivity.
Social Media Madness
Modern marketing gurus stress the importance of social media in the new age, but that doesn’t mean that you should constantly update your status and tweet while at work (especially during your sick leave). This is truer if your content is negatively directed to your company or colleagues as more and more employees are sacked for detrimental conduct in cyberspace. In other words, don’t Facebook your problems, face it!
Getting Tipsy, High or Buzzed
A functioning alcoholic or drug addict may be able to still do work under the influence but the office grapevine does not take kindly to chemicals, pills or wines. A person’s reputation may be ruined once people start noticing the constantly red eyes or dilated pupils and it’ll simply show that the employee does not take his job seriously. Either be sober or don’t bother coming in at all!
Forgetting Someone’s Name
How embarrassing is it to greet someone by the wrong name, or even worse, not recalling their name at all? Be it during a face-to-face conversation, phone call, e-mails, or worse still, job interviews, the social awkwardness will not only damage your conversation but might very well show that you are not prepared and do not care enough about details. So, remember to remember!
Lying about your Credentials
Embellishing your resume may go a long way in a job interview, but lying about your credentials won’t get you far once you’re offered the job. Claiming proficiency in a part of your profession sets a certain level of expectations, and not meeting those standards once you’re in the company will only result in discerning looks from colleagues. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Lie about work, and you may get fire-d!
Dozing Off Does Destructive Damages
Although some employees may swear that it’s common to find people snoozing in the office nowadays (especially on Monday mornings) the reality of the situation is nobody appreciates a napping worker. The reason is simple: you can’t do work while you’re sleeping. Unless, of course, you can prove that you got that brilliant idea for the company’s marketing plan in a dream.
Wearing Inappropriate Clothing
Although it’s safe to assume nobody dresses like Lady Gaga at work, you can never be sure that you won’t find a Ke$ha or Rihanna walking down the office hallway. Modern times make it seem like ‘skin is in’ but sex appeal should be kept at a low level while on the job as racy outfits will more often than not get heads turning the wrong way (and again, decrease productivity!). If you’re not sure whether a garment is meant to be a tube top, a headscarf, or a skirt, then forget it completely, unless, of course, you happen to be working in the adult entertainment industry.
Fouling Out of the Conversation
You may think its cool to swear like Kenny in South Park, and even funny at times. But using foul language during professional times is something you should only do after much observation. Some organizations adapt a more casual approach while others are more formal in the means of their communication. So, determine what culture your organization practices, and decide from there. Its safe to bear in mind though, that you should never use profanities to personally attack an individual at your workplace, whether subordinate or not. Either way, refraining from using such language always gives you a more favorable image.
The book on taboos is ever-changing, so it’s understandable if you’re unclear on some of the unwritten rules. In the end, it is our advice that if you’re not certain about what’s good to go in your office culture and what’s not, the best option is to clear from any of the usual working taboos. If you’ve done one of the above before, don’t kick yourself for it - it’s never too late to better your state!
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