How to Lose a Job in 10 Days

By: Katherine Konrad, Marketing Project Manager and Celarity Guest Blogger

In the blockbuster romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Composure magazine’s “How-To” columnist, Andie Anderson, uses a coworker’s latest romantic meltdown as inspiration to write a How-To article about dating – in reverse. To research, Andie plans to meet a man, then drive him away using classic mistakes women make. Though I’m not writing this advice from first hand friend-spiration, nor am I trying to sabotage my employment status with personal field research, you will hopefully walk away from this read with 10 good reminders of what not to do at work.

Day 1: Negative Nancy. Or Ned.

What do squeaky wheels, car alarms, and Gilbert Gottfried’s voice have in common? We want them all to STOP IMMEDIATELY. Though it’s said the squeaky wheel gets the grease, in the workplace setting it’s better to be greasy* (*Please note this is not referring to hygiene. Showering = Good).  What I mean to say is that: constantly complaining wears on your coworkers, your boss, and it impacts morale. On the contrary, a positive attitude in the workplace can improve your performance, productivity, and your manager’s view of you as an important asset. Instead of finding problems, how ‘bout finding solutions, eh?

Day 2: Gossip Folks

OK, my genius advice so far is: don’t be whiny. It’s not bad advice, but I promise it gets better. But first, did you hear how badly Missy from Account Management botched that huge project? How embarrassing. Well folks, gossip kills trust, teamwork, and morale – issues your supervisor ain’t got time for. If you can’t keep water cooler chat positive, keep it to the weather.  

Day 3: Going Above and Beyond

Not in the way you’re thinking. (You are thinking in terms of exceeding expectations, right?) I’m talking about going above your direct manager’s head for advice or approval. A great way to make things super awkward is to talk to your boss’s boss about something before your boss knows about it. So, make sure your communication strategy up the ladder is managed well: Like a boss.

Day 4: Elementary, My Dear Watson

In elementary school, my class went on a tour of our library. While there, the librarians explained what resources were available to us, and how to find them. Their only request – aside from keeping our voices to a whisper (duh) – was to try our darndest to find a book before enlisting their aid. So, do not ask your boss “where that financial report is housed, again?” without researching first. If a second-grader can take some initiative, so can you.  

Day 5: There’s No Crying in Baseball

Or at work! By any means necessary do NOT cry, or lose your cool, in front of your boss at work. That’s what bathroom stalls are for … says a friend of mine.

Day 6: More Words, Less Intelligent

It’s a common misconception that the more verbose your email, the more S-M-R-T you appear. When in fact, succinct emails can be perceived as more intelligent, have a higher chance of being read, and are more productive. Instead of e-mauling a coworker with a lengthy email – take another pass to see how it could be shortened, bullet-pointed, or separated into different emails with separate messages.  

Day 7: Frequent Flyer

Do not schedule or attend a meeting without preparation. You might think you’re good at flying by the seat of your pants, but maybe you’re actually not. Flying is for the birds, anyway. Contrarily, bringing thoughts or ideas you’ve developed prior to the meeting shows you’re disciplined and can take initiative. Go you!

Day 8: Dude, That’s Sick!

Not in a cool way, though. Do kids still say that? Taking sick days frequently on Friday or Monday, or coming to work when contagious are never a good look. Your coworkers will know something’s fishy, and it’s not the halibut Bob is re-heating for lunch.

Day 9: Plan B.

You’ve recently become privy to a major wrench thrown into your latest assignment. If your first instinct is to cry PANIC! MAYHEM! to your boss – fight that instinct. Instead, grab that wrench outta there and tighten up a Plan B, or even C. Having some options worked through before delivering the news to your manager is better than not. Your boss did not hire you to give them more work to do.  

Day 10: #SocialMedia

Unless you want your next Facebook post to read: “Feeling Unemployed”, it’s best to refrain from posting anything negative – or, proprietary— about your workplace. If you have to think twice about whether you should share an anecdote, a picture, or a frustration from your workday, take the opposite of Nike’s advice: Just Don’t Do it.   

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Katherine is currently a Marketing professional at Target, and an aspiring copywriter. She lives in a messy studio apartment in downtown Minneapolis. 

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