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10 Unprofessional Habits That Could Get You Fired

We all have bad habits. And no single one will ever cost you your livelihood. But chances are we have other habits we might not be aware of, and there are some of these that could make you seem just unprofessional enough to cost you.

Take a look at this list of particularly glaring habits and make sure that if you have any, you don’t have many. And start trying to correct anything that could deem you unprofessional at work.

1. Procrastinating

We all do this to some extent or another. And it can actually increase productivity when done in a constructive way. But if you’re a chronic putter-offer, chances are your output and performance are slipping and you should probably think about getting more things done each day.

2. Lying

There is really no excuse for lying. Chances are you will get caught, and there is almost never an excuse good enough to justify this behavior. Never misrepresent yourself, your experience or credentials. Never take credit for anyone else’s work. Never fudge the numbers. And don’t call in sick unless you’re sick. Keep it clean and keep your job.

3. Tardiness

Whether you roll in 10 minutes late to every meeting or you’re just always a little late for the 9 a.m. clock-in, you’re showing your boss and coworkers that their time is less valuable than yours—all because you just had to spend that extra five minutes with your curling iron or to get your latte for your commute. Be on time and keep everyone sweet.

4. Grumbling

Nobody likes a negative coworker. If you’re complaining all the time, or you just have a consistently negative outlook toward almost everything, you’ll lose allies very quickly. Everyone gripes now and then. Just don’t make it a habit—or worse, a personality trait.

5. Slovenliness

Is hygiene not your top priority? Do you sometimes skip the shower or wear clothes past when they should have ended up in the wash? Don’t. Groom yourself. Practice good hygiene. Make sure you smell nice and look clean. And make sure your workspace reflects the same high standards. Nobody wants to work with a slob.

6. Swearing

Yeah, yeah, we know that the f word is basically the most common adjective of your generation. But try to refrain from cursing at work. To the wrong ears, it will always grate. And it does make you look quite unprofessional. Your boss might not want a potty mouth representing the company.

7. Personal Stuff

Remember that the office is a place of business. Don’t spend valuable time on personal calls or yammer on to your coworkers about relationship problems or health problems or your divorce. Keep that for happy hour with your friends. And don’t turn your workplace into a middle school lunchroom. Cliques are so eighth grade.

8. Stealing

No brainer, right? But this rule includes not raiding the supply closet or sneaking communal things or taking someone else’s fruit from the fridge. You can get fired for a lot less than outright embezzlement.

9. Bad Communication

If you can’t write a professional grown-up email and express yourself either out loud or on paper, then you’re not going to make it far in the working world. Strike a balance between monosyllabic and too verbose. Use proper punctuation and capitalization and grammar. Spell check. And be a good correspondent—thorough, professional, and punctual with your responses.

10. Bad Manners

You may think this is so 1950, but having good manners can get you pretty far in life—and having bad ones can occasionally cost you a job. When eating, chatting, working, etc. make sure your manners are up to snuff. Don’t interrupt people. Say “excuse me” or “pardon.” Don’t pry and don’t be rude.

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