A cheeky "extra dinner on expenses" here, a few color copies of your résumé on the old work copier there... Hell, who's gonna notice? Answer: Your Boss. And that's when little perks turn into big-ass career problems. Here's why the most tempting freebies could land you in more shit than you think.
Charging extras to your expense account. "Employers are increasingly cracking down on this," warns Carole-Ann Rice, author of Find Your Dream Job. "You hear stories of people stopping to fill up with gas or popping a chocolate bar on the tab and getting hauled in to explain. This places not just your expenses but your rep under intensified scrutiny." Whenever you try and convince yourself that they'd never notice a Twinkie, let alone a hotel stay, write "ACCOUNTANTS DO CHECK" on a Post-it (preferably not one you've filched from the supply closet) and stick it to your bathroom mirror.
Sleeping with your boss. "A thrilling prospect can soon become the ultimate nightmare if it starts to fail--especially if they're married. However unfair it seems, you'll always be the one with the most to lose. If they don't fire you, there'll be acrimony and colleagues won't trust you when they find out--which they inevitably will." How many more reasons do you need? Oh, we forgot one: How does sporting the label "boss-fucker" for the rest of your career grab you?
Getting drunk with clients on a business gig. "Whiskey bonding" is the oldest trick in the business manual. But NEVER get hammered. "If you do, it'll be the talking point forevermore," warns Rice "So two drinks--MAX. Stand your ground, keep refusals subtle--making a fuss about saying no makes people feel uncomfortable about their own drinking, and that's not good schmooze practice." If it's a celebration or a VIP client and the fizz is flowing, agree beforehand with your boss that you'll have the afternoon off. And take a colleague to abstain and monitor. "Above all, remember these are not friends, they're clients," says Rice. "You're there to work, and even if they like you, your restraint reflects well on the company." But flashing your panties after mojito No. 9 nine won't.