Five Job Mistakes Never to Make

Hanging out with the wrong crowd or making a fashion faux pas can sabotage your career. Here's what you need to know to avoid office infractions.
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Avoiding Occupational Hazards

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Always maintain a professional
appearance and demeanor.

The female executive looked impeccable in her sharp winter-white suit -- from the waist up. Somehow -- perhaps distracted by thoughts of the major presentation she was getting ready to give -- she'd made an unfortunate choice of unmentionables: red bikini underwear. "No one remembered a word she said," says Pam Holland, author of Help! Was That a Career-Limiting Move? (Career Skills Press, 2001), who witnessed the fashion emergency first-hand.

The woman, a brand manager with a pharmaceutical company, didn't lose her job, but she sure did gain the wrong kind of attention. More to the point, she missed a perfect opportunity to affirm that she was professional in every way and therefore indispensable to her company -- the most vital quality these days for any employee. In today's shaky economy, workplace slip-ups can lead to pink slips. (The layoff rate decreased somewhat in the first quarter of the year, but the unemployment rate has been increasing overall since October 2000.)

Continued on page 2:  Workplace No-Nos


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