Top tips to getting a job and keeping it

By James Fuller

Guilty of being the office know-it-all, whining about workloads, prattling about your partner, or fixating on Facebook? It might be time to rethink your office behaviours if you want your career to take off, say Bay employment experts.

With unemployment hitting a 13-year high of 7.3 per cent, overhauling work habits could not only aid promotion prospects, it could remove your name from the boss' most-expendable list.

Behaviours such as having a maniacal rant at your manager and then storming off would be widely accepted as career damaging but there are many others, says Phil Van Syp, managing director of Tauranga's 1st Call Recruitment. A particular dislike of his is the office know-it-all that questions everything.

"It drives me up the wall," he said. "They will constantly blast out in front of all the other staff a decision or statement is wrong and then blurt out everything they supposedly know about the subject. It attacks your authority and knowledge as a boss. You then have to go away and research why they're wrong. It can be enormously frustrating.

"When you do go back to them backing up what you said they will often shrug and say 'Oh well, I might've got it wrong'."

He said this behaviour was more common after staff had been away on courses.

Excessive social media usage, personal emailing and unwarranted self-promotion were among Mr Van Syp's other bugbears.

"The amount of time people spend on social media can be a real pain, it just eats into work time. People are distracted, they're more focused on their online conversation than they are on work.

"Personal emailing is similar. We make our staff aware that we can read every single email which goes in and out of our business.

"If they want to write personal emails that's their choice but if it goes through the company system it's company property. We can check to see what the numbers are, so if you see a constant stream of personal emails, we would have a word."

Another behaviour which reflected the employee's focus on their jobs was excessive talk about personal issues.

"Bringing personal issues up at work all the time, with people constantly talking about problems with their partner, children, dog or cat or whatever can put a real drain on enthusiasm. You're not going to be dictatorial about it but the workplace should be a place of work," said Mr Van Syp.

Claudia Nelson, owner/director of Tauranga recruitment agency the Right Staff, said she thought many employees could "raise their game" when it came to office behaviours.

Common complaints from her clients included a minimalistic attitude to work.

"Anything from turning up just on time, or marginally late, to underdelivering slightly on a continuous basis or only just doing your job," she said.

Being negative, or continuously complaining, also reflected poorly as did having poor personal standards.

"Be dressed professionally and appropriately for the role, have high personal hygiene standards and look fresh and breezy," said Mrs Nelson.

Constant job swapping could also be viewed badly by bosses.

"If you only ever stay in a role for a year or two you are sending a message that you don't have the stickability to make your role work successfully and "give up" too quickly."

Max Mason, chief executive at Tauranga's Chamber of Commerce, said being a positive team player would help staff members stand out.

"Be sure you are a team player, and try to keep good relationships in the workplace as far as possible. There is nothing worse than a divided workplace with loss of morale and productivity.

"Everybody likes colleagues and employees that are positive and optimistic. Pessimists who walk around with a black cloud over them diminish the energy of any workplace.

"Show your boss that you are an engaged employee - that you believe in the business and what it stands for. You will also feel better about yourself."

Mr Mason said performance reviews should be sought.

"Make sure you get regular performance reviews, and for your boss to state what you do well.

"If there is ever any doubt about your performance, or even if a choice has to be made about redundancy, the person with documented achievements will be in a better position."

Keeping private matters private was the best policy, he concluded.

"If you are thinking of leaving, never ever tell anybody at work, because it will get out."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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