It’s easy to get into bad patterns. But the good news is, it’s possible to break out of them! Whether you’re new to the workforce or you just want to make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row, it never hurts to think through the habits bosses find most annoying or repellent and make sure you’re not guilty of any of these professional faux pas.
1. Too Much/Too Little Initiative
It’s important to show initiative. You should never be sitting around at your desk idly waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Show you love your job by finding productive and helpful things to do! But, on the other hand, don’t overdue it. There’s going the extra mile and then there’s going overboard. Aim for enthusiastic and thorough, not inefficient and excessive.
2. Making Excuses
First of all, try not to do anything that would require an excuse in the first place. Get your work done. Get to work on time. And if you can’t get there in the time you have, don’t try to pawn off the responsibility. Just fix it. Stay honest and take responsibility for your part in everything. Okay, so maybe you did have a flat tire. Resist the temptation to embellish or to elicit sympathy. Just get back to work.
This includes moaning, moping, and complaining. In today’s economic climate, you’re lucky to have a job. Everybody hates staying late and having to sacrifice family time for work functions—even your boss. You’re all in it together. So save the grumbling and try to find ways to make it work instead.
4. Asking Too Many Questions
It’s okay—good even—to ask questions when you need something clarified. It’s another thing entirely to ask redundant questions, or questions you could have found answers to on your own. If you can’t keep up intellectually, your boss will notice. Don’t hassle your boss or waste her time.
5. Sloppy Emails
Just because some of your coworkers are extremely casual in their emailing habits doesn’t mean you should be too. Make sure to use complete sentences and to proofread. And for the love of all things holy, don’t reply all every time. Save that move for when it’s absolutely necessary.
6. Taking Advantage
Your boss gives you a little leeway about clock-in times or coffee breaks—don’t take advantage of this and abuse the privilege. Your boss is super informal—don’t take advantage of this and become disrespectful. If your boss gives you an inch, be grateful. Don’t try to squeak out a foot, or worse, a mile.
Especially if your negativity means you badmouth the company—a fireable offense! But the same goes for being super rigid about what your job parameters are. Or being the one who’s always contrary and always saying no and shooting down others’ ideas.
Try not to get caught up in the politics and drama of office controversies. And definitely abstain from gossip. Nobody likes a coworker who is constantly pushing for better position and maneuvering behind their colleagues’ backs.