Now, you’ve found a job. Good for you. But can you keep the job? You can if you abide by certain unwritten rules of the workplace.
The most important part of having a job is being at work on time. If your job is to start at 8:30 a.m., that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to walk in the door at 8:30. A job that begins at 8:30 means that you are at work, you have your coffee or cold drink and are sitting at your desk and ready to interact with customers. In order to be sure you are on time when coming to work, you need to allow yourself at least an extra 15 minutes before the time you start work to arrive. That gives you time to get a drink, briefly visit with co-workers, clock in if you have to do that, and get your computer turned on if you use one at work.
When you walk in at 8:30, as a general rule you will not be ready to actually work for at least 10 minutes. And 10 minutes a day adds up to nearly an hour a week you are cheating your boss out of. The same rules apply for breaks and lunches. It is very important that you actually work the required time. Sometimes, traffic may be a problem that causes you to be late. If you have a cell phone, call the office while you are on the way. Then when you do arrive, it’s a good idea to offer to work however many minutes you are late, after your usual time to go home. If you are fortunate, you may have a boss who won’t dock you for the lateness unless it happens repeatedly. Being chronically late can prevent you from getting promotions and even pay raises. It all depends on the rules at your work place.
Think about how much time you are cheating your employer if you are 10 minutes late in the morning, 15 minutes late returning from lunch, and leaving work 5 minutes early. That adds up to a half hour a day or 2 ½ hours a week. In addition to not really showing responsibility, you may also be making enemies of co-workers and you can lose your job as a result.
Personal telephone calls are another no-no. A call every now and then is not usually a problem unless you have been told up front that personal calls are not allowed. Everyone has an emergency every now and then. Children get sick at school, an elderly parent falls and needs you, your hot water heater is not working and the only time the repairman can come is the middle of your work day. Generally, as long as you let your employer know of the problem, it isn’t held against you.
But just to gossip or chat with a friend or spouse is rarely a good idea unless the call is very short. Personal phone calls tend to last for 15 to 30 minutes because all of us lose track of time. It’s better to just not make those calls than to push your luck!
When you are on time and not taking extra time at lunch, short calls can be forgiven. You just need to show your employer that you want to do and good job and follow the rules. That is something that most all employers appreciate.