5 things you should never ever do at work

Staying awake at work is probably the most important thing to remember. But try to avoid making fatal career-limiting moves by following these rules:

Question 1:

A formal handshake or a kiss?


Tricky territory,’ says Johannesburg-based media and business writer Gill Moodie. ‘The kiss is really sophis­ticated in Europe, and now the Brits are even doing it. In SA, I’d stick to the handshake unless the other person is sporting a white linen suit and Panama hat.’

Dion Chang, trend analyst of Flux Trends also prefers a formal ‘default’ position. ‘In Europe, kissing is done on the cheek. Here, many associates go straight for the lips. I settle on the one-cheek peck. When in doubt, formality and conservatism will counteract "awkward" damage.’

Bottom line: ‘Follow the cues of the people you meet.’

Question 2:

How do I decline a boss's Facebook friend request?


Not many of us want our boss snooping around our private lives – but to decline is not a great career move, says Viv Gordon from Viv Gordon Placements. ‘You can accept them as your friend and then set up your privacy settings so that they can see only selected sections.'

Bottom line: 'LinkedIn is perfect for business associates,’ says Chang.

Question 3:

Should I end my e-mails with a virtual x?


‘Virtual kisses are so ’90s,’ says Moodie. ‘It’s not that it’s unacceptable in the workplace, it’s just that it’s incredibly naff!’

Bottom line: ‘Leave some boundaries in place,’ says Chang. In other words, better not.

Question 4:

Do I have to go to drinks after work if I'm invited?


Judy Klipin, a lifecoach from Stellar Life Design, says: ‘If you have a problem, suggest a get-together on another night to show you’re willing.’

Bottom line:

‘Show up, but leave when you want to,’ says Klipin.

Question 5:

Can I send an SMS to say I'm sick?


‘No!’ says Klipin. ‘Picking up the phone and having a conversation shows that you are able to take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. It will also help to dispel any suspicion that you may be hung-over rather than sick.’

Bottom line: You have to make that call. No question.

For more career advice, go here.

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