10 Things: Bad Worker Edition

The last week and a half has been…how could I describe it?

It’s been like when you eat almond butter too quickly and realize too late that it’s getting hard to swallow.

But the almond butter’s on fire.

I watched someone I liked well enough get fired, then watched someone I did not like resign, then got a promotion, then got slapped in the face by gossip, then worked a lot to keep up and finally I was threatened with a law suit.

Sales, man. Sales.

Anyway all that madness inspired this round of “10 Things.” A list of all the things you should never do at work even if they’re really, really tempting.*


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: gossip is like unprotected sex, it might feel good while it’s happening but it mostly leads to regret.


Seems obvious, apparently isn’t.

Look, I’m cool, I’m hip, I get it. If you want to get high in your free time, do it. Especially if you live in Washington, like me.

Honestly, most employers don’t actually do the random drug testing they made you sign a consent form for and many of them wouldn’t notice if you came to work high.

Still, it’s a few hours drug-free, if that’s a real strain you might need to look deeper into that.

Threaten to Sue

“I’m going to sue you” is up there with saying “I’m moving to Canada”** when your presidential candidate loses. It’s an empty threat that makes you look petty and everyone else roll their eyes.

If you’ve actually been wronged and have the legal grounds and desire to pursue it, please, go for it. But don’t storm in claiming a lawsuit until you’ve actually got the documentation. And even then, maybe let your lawyer handle the storming.

Slam the Door

I hate door slamming in general. Loud noises and childishness, neither is fun.

Instead of startling people and looking like an jerk, stick to your indoor voices and appearing childlike in your kind nature.


Most people think of stealing from work as taking money from the register, embezzling funds, serious theft. What I’ve noticed in my many retail and food service jobs is that the line gets blurry when it comes to smaller items that seem disposable to the business: paper towels, toilet paper, small food items,  etc.

It’s easy to feel like something is owed to you when you aren’t paid well or don’t like your job, but your job owes you nothing except a paycheck. No matter how much you hate it.


Healthy competition is both perfectly okay and extremely rare. A lot of workplaces claim to have a good sense of healthy competition between coworkers, but in reality it can get nasty.

Compete with yourself if you must compete.

Getting people in trouble to make yourself look good

It tends to go along with competition.

You don’t have to be everyone’s best pal and you should always bring serious concerns to the necessary powers. But don’t point out the failings of others just so you will look better. I promise it will only come back and bite you in the bottom.

Jumping the chain of command

If you have a problem, go to your direct supervisor.

The only exceptions to this rule are if you have already spoken with your supervisor and the issue was not resolved, or the issue concerns your supervisor and you cannot resolve it with them on your own.

Jumping around in the chain of command shows a lack of respect for the system and the time of your bosses.

Gang up on one person

It’s too easy to feel that you’re right and being completely fair when others are on your side. If enough people start being jerks, it feels natural and you can easily lose sight of correct behavior.

I’ve been a part of this before and I’m ashamed of it. If someone at work is clearly being picked on, be the person to abstain. You don’t have to be their champion but you also don’t have to be their bully.

Well I’m exhausted and off to enjoy a perfectly good day off. Best of luck!

*believe you me, I’m guilty of most of these too but hey let’s all just try to be better.

**no offense intended toward my Canadian readers, eh?


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