How to lose a job in 10 days

12 June 2024

by Taylah Berry

“Tonight, I'll hook a guy. Tomorrow, pull the switch. Before the ten days are up, I'm going to have this guy running for his life.” - Andie Anderson – How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days 


In case you haven’t guessed it by now, the concept of this post is to explore all the things you should avoid doing during your first few weeks of a new job (and to be fair, throughout your entire employment).  

Starting a new job can be intimidating enough. The feeling of needing to prove yourself and your abilities can be so overwhelming that it’s easy to forget the small stuff. Lucky for you, we’ve put together this handy guide of what NOT to do during your probation period. 

Day 1: Show up late  

Kate Hudson may be able to get away with being fashionably late but unfortunately for the rest of us punctuality is key. Rolling in late on your first day - or any day really - sends the message that you’re not serious. Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early to show that you’re eager and responsible. 

Day 2: Ignore the dress code  

Every workplace has its own dress code, whether it’s business casual, formal or something else. Showing up inappropriately dressed can turn heads for all the wrong reasons. Pay attention to what your colleagues are wearing and follow suit (pun intended). So, keep your floor-length yellow dress in the wardrobe for this one. 

Day 3: Forget about teamwork  

Keeping to yourself might have worked for you in university, but in the workplace, teamwork is crucial. Ignoring team projects or failing to communicate can quickly put you on the outs with your colleagues. Be sure to come across as collaborative, helpful and engaged. 

Day 4: Use social media excessively  

There’s nothing more embarrassing than opening TikTok and a video starts playing loudly throughout the office. Spending too much time on social media during work hours is a quick way to get noticed... for the wrong reasons. Limit personal browsing to breaks and focus on your tasks during work hours.  

Day 5: Skip meetings or arrive unprepared  

Meetings are an integral part of office life. Skipping them, arriving late, or being unprepared shows a lack of professionalism. Make sure you’re punctual, prepared, and actively participate. And be sure to keep your shoes on – unless told otherwise.  

Day 6: Disregard office etiquette  

Every office has its unspoken rules, from how to use the communal kitchen to email etiquette. Ignoring these norms can annoy your coworkers. Take the time to learn, respect and contribute to the office culture. If there’s a rotating roster to water the plants… you better not neglect the love fern. 

Day 7: Avoid asking questions  

Pretending to know everything can lead to mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about something. It shows that you’re willing to learn and want to do your job correctly. At the end of the day, no one expects you to know everything in your first few weeks on the job. 

Day 8: Overpromise and underdeliver  

It can be tempting to say yes to every task to impress your boss, but overcommitting and failing to deliver will backfire. Be realistic about your capabilities and timelines, and make sure you follow through on your promises. 

Day 9: Gossip and engage in office drama  

Gossiping with your colleague next to you about the attractive delivery person might seem fun at the time, but it comes across as unprofessional and inappropriate. Office gossip is a quick way to lose trust and damage your reputation. It’s best to steer clear of workplace drama and focus on building positive, professional relationships.  

Day 10: Show a bad attitude  

Don’t be a negative Nelly - this attitude can be a fast track to the exit door. Maintain a positive, can-do attitude, be approachable and show that you’re willing to tackle challenges head-on. 

Bonus Day: Leave your pets at home 

Despite their cuteness, the office is no place for sneaking your teacup chihuahua in your handbag or hiding your rat in the desk drawer. Okay most of you wouldn’t do this but it’s just an excuse to include a picture of Krull the Warrior King. Just check it’s okay before showing off your furry friend to your colleagues. 

Long story short… treat your probation period as an extended interview. Showcase your best self, learn as much as you can, and demonstrate your commitment to your new role. Remember, first impressions matter, but so do consistent, positive behaviours. Embrace this opportunity, and you’ll be on your way to a thriving career. 

And remember… if Kate Hudson can fall in love in 10 days, you can get through your probation.  


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