The plague, whether of the Black Death variety or otherwise, is certainly something you should avoid. If you want to be successful in the workplace, you should be equally diligent in your avoidance of career limiting activities, commonly referred to as CLAs. What is a CLA? From obvious infractions such as stealing from your employer, to less obvious faux pas, such as keeping to yourself, a CLA is any activity that may result in your immediate dismissal or eventually prevent you from being promoted. If you want to avoid the majority of CLAs, keep these three basic principles in mind.
1. Always treat the job you have as though it is a job you want.
Maybe you took an entry-level job hoping you’d eventually be promoted to greener pastures. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your current position and long for greater responsibility. For whatever reason, your daily duties may no longer be exciting to you. They’re still important to your employer, so treat them that way. Slacking off, even surreptitiously, is a definite CLA. If you’re doing “just enough” to keep the paychecks coming, you’ll never earn the notice you crave. Take initiative. Ask for greater responsibility. Show enthusiasm whenever possible and management will take note.
2. Accept nothing but the best –from yourself.
It may sound trite, but doing the best job you can –every single day– is the simplest way to avoid career limiting activities. Show up on time. If you’re running late, let someone know. Come to work every day. If you’re sick, let someone know. Don’t make tardiness or absenteeism a habit. Say hello to your boss and your co-workers (don’t hide in your cubicle). Be conscientious of others (turn the music down if your cube mate is on the phone – even if it’s your favorite song). Don’t gossip (you never know who is listening). Don’t complain. Don’t whine. Don’t cry. If you have an issue with someone, handle it maturely. Stay late if you have to. Come in early if you have to. Pull your own weight –and more when possible.
3. When it comes to your career, out of sight does not mean out of mind.
Just as your career can affect your after-hours life, your after-hours life can affect your career (just ask Charlie Sheen). Conduct yourself as though the boss is always watching, especially in regards to your Facebook postings and Tweets. Bob in Accounting might find the photos of drunken flag football amusing, but it’s unlikely your boss will. And it almost goes without saying, but don’t break the law. DUI convictions, assault charges and arrests can all be severely limiting to your career.
Remember that a career limiting activity does not always lead to the loss of a job. Many CLAs are so small and commonplace they go by without remark. However, they are likely not unnoticed. Avoid career limiting activities like the plague and, come promotion time, your hard work may be just what the doctor ordered.
By Angela Rose, onTargetjobs