You’ve finally landed your first civilian job after leaving the military. You want to shine and show your employers that they made the correct decision in hiring you. Here are some surefire ways NOT to do it!
1) Be a drama king/queen. Nobody, especially a new employer, wants to constantly be bombarded with your personal problems with your significant other, your social life or your family. Leave the personal stuff at home and focus on the job.
2) Inappropriate attire. For years you’ve worn a uniform. You knew the regulations and you looked sharp at all times. Continue that impressive attention to your attire as a civilian.
Some employers actually have a dress code, but others will expect you to use good judgment. For ladies, wearing low-cut or revealing attire, including very short skirts, is considered inappropriate. Some employers will discourage sandals, either for safety reasons or because they are considered too casual. For men, the baggy, saggy pants worn with your belt around your hips or butt may be in fashion, but they are not considered professional working attire.
3) Borrowing. Although you will make new friends, borrowing money on the job, especially if you are constantly hitting everyone up for spare change, is frowned upon. You earn a paycheck like everyone else – bring your own quarters!
4) Timeliness and work ethic. These are two strong points to employers. Don’t get out of the habit. We’ve all worked around folks who constantly arrived five to 15 minutes late for work or always had an excuse for skipping out early. Employers DO notice these things and keep track. Arrive early, get directly to work, stick to the approved times for breaks and meals and work until time to leave. Employers will notice that, too.
5) Respect. One of the strongest traits you bring to the civilian work force is your respect for authority. Just because your boss lets you call him by his first name should not encourage you to be disrespectful or to push the limits of appropriate behavior.
6) Talking about salary or bonuses. In the military your pay is public knowledge. Anyone can look it up online. In most civilian companies your salary is considered confidential information. If you discuss how much you make with a co-worker or the great bonus or raise you just negotiated with the boss, you can be fired on the spot.
Although the civilian work place may seem a lot more laid back than the military, in truth, sometimes it’s the little, unspoken, trivial things that can negatively affect your job. You’ve learned an excellent work ethic in the military and you’ve built up your confidence that you “can do” anything. Take that same ethic and positive attitude with you. It will serve you as well as you’ve served your country.
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