Unfortunately, common sense is often anything but common. Compounding the issue for employees and employers alike is that the public realm has grown to encompass all of cyberspace.
Companies have begun to go online to research employees and prospective hires. Damning evidence online is a quick way to weed out candidates during the recruitment process.
Jennifer Mounce, founder of Coach Effect, a career coaching and consulting firm, recalls a client who found two candidates for a position, and ran a check on different social media sites.
"One of the two candidates actually had a video online talking about how they hate their job and their company. Suffice it to say, if something is going to tip the scale, having a video posted about how much you hate your company is it.
"That certainly is not going to fare well with a new employer," she says.
Just changing the privacy settings on your MySpace or Facebook account may not be enough, warns Robert Capwell, chief knowledge officer, Employment Background Investigation.
"Although (online social media sites) are for members, some employers have been going in and getting into different accounts under fictitious names to throw off the candidate."
Bottom line: "Don't discuss anything about your current job or employment on the Internet in a bad light," he says.
Mix pleasure with businessCommingling a work life and sex life can be inadvisable for most professionals. Although workplace restrictions on office romance vary from company to company, the wisdom of engaging in extracurricular shenanigans may call into question the judgment of the employees involved.
Such behavior lacks discretion "if, for a period of time, you're prepared to prioritize an attraction over whatever it is you're supposed to be doing," says Alanna Fero, career coach and author of "Love Made Visible: Values-Driven Approaches to Work/Life."
It goes without saying that downloading pornography on the job is the kiss of death.
Most companies explicitly prohibit downloading pornography to their work computers. Unless you're involved in the adult entertainment industry, being known as the porn guy will never be good for your career.
"That is one of the really stupid things that people do. I guess people think they can never be caught, but charging $400 worth of pornography as a business expense. ... No, you can not use client money to buy pornography. If you make a decision like that, it's hard to recover," says Robinson.