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How to Stay out of Trouble at the Workplace

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Stay out of trouble at work and you won't have to endure the verbal warnings from supervisors, the negative write-ups and the possibility of being fired. Understanding and adhering to your company's policies, having a healthy dose of respect for your co-workers and behaving professionally will keep you out of the dog house. Perform at a high level while you're at it and you should be completely trouble-free.


Gossip does nothing but negatively affect the workplace. Making friends at work and chatting with your co-workers can help make your workdays pass a little quicker, but keep away from talk that bashes someone else. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is spreading malicious gossip about a coworker, excuse yourself and walk away. Avoiding gossip doesn't mean you can't talk to a co-worker about your problems, however. According, companies often encourage employees to talk to one another about problems in the workplace. This helps them try and find a solution before approaching management.

Company Policy and Guidelines

Some companies permit employees to access the Internet for personal use while on the clock. Others do not. Some companies allow for cell phone use while working, others do not. Review your company's policies and guidelines to find out what's allowed and what's prohibited. Just as explaining to a police officer that you weren't aware of the speed limit probably won't get you out of a ticket, telling your boss you weren't aware of the rules likely won't keep you out of trouble if you violate company policy. Most companies provide an employee handbook that outlines its policies. If you do not have one, or one is not available, talk to your manager or human resources rep to find out what is and isn't allowed at the workplace.

Professional Behavior

One of the quickest ways to find yourself in trouble, or put yourself on the path to trouble, is to demonstrate unprofessional behavior. A few examples of unprofessional behavior include cracking inappropriate jokes, showing up late all the time, sending casual emails riddled with spelling errors, slouching in your chair during a meeting, and lying about your work performance. Take your job seriously and conduct yourself properly at all times.


Your performance at work can help you earn a raise, promotion and recognition if you do it well. It can also get you in trouble and ultimately fired if you fall short of your goals and expectations. Focus on performing at a high level all the time. Ask yourself what prevents you from achieving more success at work, and then think of ways to eliminate those weaknesses. For instance, suppose you're disorganized. You have papers and sticky notes cluttering your desk, and your desktop is littered with icons and files. Throw away papers and sticky notes you no longer need, file away important information according to date or category, complete tasks that you have written on your sticky notes and clean up your desktop by deleting useless icons and organizing files in folders.


Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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