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5 Work Mistakes To Avoid

­You know to send a thank-you note after your boss gives you a promotion and not to sext on the job. But there's one crime that isn't so obvious, and it could cost you.

Certain workplace faux pas—like answering your cell mid-meeting—are so idiotic that we’d be insulting your intelligence if we warned you against them. But if you’re a Millennial (meaning ages 18 to 29), there’s a good chance you’re unknowingly committing a much more subtle no-no: acting too familiar. “Millennials are used to ditching formality and being heard,” says generational guru Jane Buckingham, author of The Modern Girl’s Guide To Sticky Situations. “And, they expect the same behavior is acceptable at work, too.”

She also points out that parents have been less into being authority figures and more into being friends, so we expect the same from bosses. In addition, we have grown out of saying our ates and kuyas, date multi-generationally, and have a president whose dating life is constantly being patroled—everything seems way less formal.

While you should be friendly with a boss or job interviewer, don’t treat her like a real friend—especially if she’s a Gen Xer (ages 30 to 45) or a Boomer (46 to 64), who aren’t keen on buddy-buddy relationships at work. To ensure you never teeter into unprofessional territory, we spoke to hiring managers and career experts about what rubs those dinosaurs (we kid!) the wrong way.

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1. Lousy Email Etiquette

Lisa Orrell, author of Millennials Incorporated, says two major complaints managers have are that young employees are slow to reply to emails and use brief or incomplete sentences. So, write back ASAP, and craft a thoughtful response. “Address the person with her first name and a comma, write a full sentence, and sign off with ‘Best,'” says Heather Huhman, founder of come-recommended.com. If the person you’re writing to prefers to be addressed as “Sir” or “Ma’am,” make sure you don’t forget the title.

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2. Thank-You-Card Flubs  

Nicole, 32, editor, was shocked when a job applicant signed her thank-you letter with her initial, B. “Managers want you to sound official,” says Huhman. “Avoid nicknames.” Another qualm: Firing off a thank-you from your phone two minutes post-interview—it shows you didn’t take your time. Send it via email within 24 hours.

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3. Saying “Can We Talk?” 

Orrell says Millennials like to check in a lot with their boss. But, limit it to once a week, unless you suspect your boss wants more. If you must stop by, don’t declare, “I need to talk to you.” “It sends the message that you expect your boss to drop everything because what you have to say is more important,” explains Orrell. “Asking ‘Is this a good time?’ is a better approach.”

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4. Cutesy Talk

Even when just passing a quick message to your boss, be careful not to slip into an informal tone. Write “Your husband called” instead of “Your hubby called!” And, eliminate texting lingo—emoticons and acronyms—from work notes, adds Orrell.

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5. Texting Just To Say Hi!   

“My assistant texts me inane things, like ‘Sobrang okey ng CSI kagabi!’” says Linda, 36, an HR benefits administrator. Even if you and your boss are the type to gab, save it for later. Text only if it’s work-related and urgent.

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