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Which bad habits do not belong in the workplace

Everyone has a tendency to pick up some bad habits, after all we are only human. But while a few bad habits may only be mildly annoying to your family and friends, they can carry far worse consequences in the work place. Here is a list of the worst bad habits you should watch out for, to make sure they do not ruin your career.


Constantly being late to work, especially when you are part of a line or process that requires someone in your position, is definitely a bad habit that can ruin your career. But being late with assignments, to meetings, or returning phone calls can be just as bad. Being timely with attendance and assignments shows you respect your company, your job and your co-workers.


We all know we are not supposed to lie. Sure, there are times when we tell a little white lie, or simply do not share the whole truth to avoid hurting someone’s feeling, but that is not what we are talking about here. Lying on your resume, or about your qualifications or past experience is a sure-fire way to lose the job you just landed. Lying about your time worked, misrepresenting expenses on an expense report, or not admitting a mistake when confronted about it will also land you in deep trouble. Even lying about small things will earn you a reputation as someone who is not honest, and if it does cost you your job it will follow you to your next one as well.

Negative attitude:

No one wants to be around someone who is always negative. As human beings, it is a natural tendency to let one bad thing ruin our entire day. If you got into a car accident on the way to work, you might be excused for being “off” the rest of the day, but if you are constantly in a bad mood, complaining about everything, it adds up over time and results in co-workers and management seeing you as toxic to yourself and your team. If you are just having a bad day, do not take it out on your co-workers, or worse, your clients. If your negativity is a result of ongoing issues, talk to your HR department or use the company’s help line if they have one. A constant negative attitude is not healthy and you might need help figuring out why you are letting things get the better of you.

Losing your temper:

It is one thing to be angry or upset at work, it is another to show it. There is nothing wrong with properly expressing your frustration, but swearing, hitting your desk or work-space, or even throwing something is definitely a bad idea. If you really must express your anger in a physical way, take a break to do so, and be sure you are not in view of your co-workers or boss when you do let off that steam. Better yet, if you are in danger of losing your job due to your angry outbursts seek help from an anger management class.


Being sloppy in either your work area or appearance can get you fired, or even if you are not fired for it, it could hurt your chances for a promotion. Do not be the person who has wrinkled, food stained clothes, leaves their uneaten lunch in the refrigerator for weeks, does not clean out the microwave after using it, never replaces the toilet paper in the restroom, has such a messy desk that nothing can be found, or worse yet, leaves food crumbs on the desk and attracts ants.


There are other bad habits, like too many personal calls, using your computer for non-work things, taking supplies home, spending too much time on social media, violating the unwritten office standards. Any one of these when constantly repeated, can cost you dearly in the workplace. Bad habits are not always easy to break, but knowing what they are and wanting to change is the first step.

If you suspect that this post is written with you in mind, it just might be. Take an objective look at yourself, and if you see yourself doing any of these things, start taking steps to change that. If you are unsure, go ahead and ask your co-workers or your HR department. If they give you any feedback about some habits that might be detrimental to you or your team, listen without becoming defensive. Take the time to reflect on what you hear and any advice you receive on how to improve. Then resolve to modify your behavior and make sure those bad habits do not cost you a good job.

And if you are reading this in preparation for a new job, then check out our guide on how to get ready for an interview!

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee