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5 Bad Work Habits That Can Get You Fired

late for work
Ingram Publishing

Nobody’s perfect, but even the best of us is occasionally going to come up short at the office. But there’s a difference between the occasional missed meeting and a career full of bad work habits that remain unbroken. And that difference could cost you your job.

Always Late for Everything

Some people think being a little late all the time is an adorable quirk or, if nothing else, just seems a bit lazy, but being the late one is a sure way to end up at the bottom of the list when raises and promotions are going around. It’s disruptive and disrespectful to show up to meetings late, and you can bet that if you’re late to internal meetings, your boss thinks you’re late to client meetings as well. And if you have a habit of being a little late with projects and assignments, your little quirk is messing up everyone else’s job and making you Enemy No. 1.

Negative Attitude

Nobody likes a kiss-up, but if you’ve gone too far in the other direction you may be at risk of having your negative attitude keep you from getting ahead. If you spend a lot of your time complaining about what’s wrong at your company, no one will want to listen to or work with you. Also, if you have a habit of badmouthing your boss or company around your co-workers, within earshot or on social media, you put yourself at risk for being let go. Even if things aren’t always going right, keep your attitude in check. If something needs to change, work toward solutions, not just complaints.

Not Playing Well With Others

You go to work to work, of course, but your social skills also matter to your career. Beyond a positive attitude and refraining from constant complaints, you need to be able to work well on a team. Even if your job is more solitary, you can’t become a lone wolf, taking on every task by yourself. And though you shouldn’t spend most of the workday going from cubicle to cubicle socializing, you do need to mingle with your co-workers. Avoid the gossip and politics, but do engage other employees in conversation. Pick up the phone or walk down the hall instead of sending an email every once in a while. And if you’re an overly social person, watch your humor (keep it clean) and make sure you aren’t bothering people or interrupting work (even when you think you’re just being pleasant). Good manners, a friendly attitude toward others and good communication skills go a long way in a career.

Lying or Hiding the Truth

There are a lot of ways people lie at work, and none of them, even the “little” ones, are good. If you have a habit of fudging your time card, not telling your boss when something negative is happening with a client, taking credit for the ideas of others, or any other not-so-nasty-sounding lie, someone is bound to notice eventually. It’s not just an embezzler who loses big when caught in a lie. Once your boss and co-workers realize your nose gets longer every time you open your mouth, your credibility will be lost and you aren’t likely to make any further advancements in your organization. When it comes to the workplace, any lie can become a big lie because being labeled a liar can ruin your career.

Just Not Caring

Finally, a bad habit that can be easy to develop over time without knowing it is just not really caring about your job that much. One way this shows up is when you only want to do the minimum amount of work required. Never at any point should you reply to your supervisor, when asked to do something, “That’s not my job.”

Procrastination is another way you tell everyone in the office that you don’t care about your job. If you’re always waiting until the last minute, not only are you jeopardizing everyone’s work, you’re also indicating that you just aren’t that interested. You don’t need to be doing the work of two or three people, but you should always be doing the most and best that you can. Take pride in your work, pay attention to details and go above and beyond when you have the chance.

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