In the weird, wonderful and occasionally wicked world of work, reputation is pretty much everything. If your rep in the office turns from good to bad, it could seriously hinder your chances of career progression - basically, a bad rep is like a really bad smell following you around, that even the strongest of antiperspirants can’t seem to mask.
However, if you protect your office reputation from day one, there will be no smell to mask and life at work will be a lot easier. So really, rather than proactively trying to become everybody’s best friend or the ‘go to guy’ (no one likes a suck up), you need to get on with your work and avoid certain things that could tarnish your office reputation - and here they are…
Don’t Lie: By nature, lies always have a way of catching up with people. Big or small, if you’ve made a work based mistake, own up, provide a solution and move on - people will respect you more for it. If you’ve tried to cover something up and been caught with your pants down, you rep may never recover. While I'm on the subject of accepting responsibility, also make sure you avoid telling tales about other people’s mistakes in the workplace, it's not an attractive trait and no one will ever want to talk to you again!
Don’t Abuse Social Media: In this day and age, the exposure of social media is simply inescapable. You should be able to express yourself and do what you like in your spare time, but employers and unwanted work colleagues will check your Facebook or Twitter page. Posting a controversial opinion or an offensive photo online can smash your rep to pieces in an instant. Also, specifically, never tag your office colleagues in a photo without their permission, if they don't like what they see they will be very upset and reluctant to forgive you, or give you any responsibility - especially if it's a drunken work party picture. #dontdoit
Don’t Be Late: For one reason or another, everyone is late to work on occasion, but being serially tardy is not good for an office reputation. Although glaringly obvious, it is most definitely worth highlighting as this can stain a reputation very quickly. By turning up to work late every morning, people will lose respect for you - trust will dwindle and people will be very reluctant to give you any more responsibility, so snoozing isn’t the answer.
Don’t Talk Shop All The Time: Clearly, when you’re at work, you need to talk about work related matters to stay focused and get the job done, but when it comes to an afterhours office function, casual lunch or evening drinks with colleagues, try not to talk about your role, the company or the department too much. When you are out with your colleagues you are bound to talk shop, but there are other things in the world to discuss. You really don’t want to be ‘one of those people’ who talks about the intricate details of their job role or ‘who said what’ in the tea room - for one, you’ll become a bore and people will start to steer clear of you. Also, by staying on the topic of work for too long in a casual situation, you could get lured into vindictive office gossip and say things you can’t retract, therefore, smashing your reputation to pieces and affecting your day-to-day work life.
Don’t Try to be a Hero: If the time comes for you to step up and be a regular Jon McClane in an epic office based crisis then fair enough. But what I’m talking about is a little more mundane but none the less very important, in short - don’t come into work when you’re sick. By coming in when you’re basically bed-ridden to demonstrate your dedication, you’re actually putting your colleagues at risk of catching your germs. You will not be praised for this at all and if others get ill because of you, it’ll actually decrease overall productivity and severely damage your rep. So don’t be a hero, stay at home!
Basically, in a nutshell, do be honest, respectable, careful, affable, fun and on time and don’t blow it by doing the opposite. Follow these tips and you’ll maintain a solid, glowing office reputation - the key to a long and successful career.