Are These Bad Habits Preventing Your Career Success?

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Have you ever wondered why other people seem to climb the ladder to the corner office, but you're stuck sitting on the bottom rung?

Have you ever wondered why other people seem to climb the ladder to the corner office, but you're stuck sitting on the bottom rung? Why a coworker you can't stand keeps getting promoted and you keep getting passed over?

Well, there are probably some things you're doing that stop you from reaching the level you're capable of. 

If you do any of these things, stop it right now and see your career blossom.

1. You're Late

Flexible schedules are awesome, but if you don't have one, showing up late is a career killer. Even if it's totally illogical--after all you do a great job and you work late into the evening--when you come in 30 minutes after everyone else does, it looks bad. Even if you do have an official flexible schedule, pay attention to how the boss responds to when you start and stop working. For some reason, people see early birds as morally superior to night owls. It's not true, but it can damage your career.

2. You Whine

If you ever catch yourself sounding like a tired three year old, this has got to change. If you start into "why me?" or "it's unfair that I have to do this," it's a career killer. Yes, you can push back, but you can't whine about it. If you're thinking, "this is unfair!" don't say that, instead say, "I have 6 other projects on deadline. Can Jane take this one on?" Make sure you watch your tone. Tone is super important when it comes to whining.

3. You Forget to Respond

Do you ever open up an email and say to yourself, "oh, I'll get to that later"? and then you don't? Because it's already marked as read, you've marked it off as handled in your brain. This means that other people have to harass you and follow up. Even if your work quality is awesome when you do it, this little habit can be a career killer.

Related Article: 12 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs

4. You Assume You Know What You Are Doing

You sit in the meeting, feeling comfortable and confident that you've got this. So, you don't ask any follow-up or clarification questions. Then, when you get back to your desk, you find you lack the right information or something is unclear. But, you're embarrassed to ask now--you should have asked in the meeting. So, you plunge ahead and just do it, and it's wrong. Yes, sometimes you get lucky, but sometimes you don't. Ask!

5. You Don't Believe Your Boss

Bosses aren't perfect, of course, but they are still bosses. So, when your boss says, "Make project A a priority," and you think to yourself, "Project B really is more important!" this little habit will destroy your career. Maybe, in the eternal scheme of things, project B IS more important than Project A, but your boss just told you her preference.

Likewise, boss's say things like, "Can you please limit your lunch to 45 minute?" and that means that the boss really, really, really, doesn't like long lunches. Again, even if you technically have a flexible schedule, this rejection of the boss's criticism means you're not going up anytime soon. Sometimes, bosses have ridiculous requests, "I only want things written in Times New Roman!" and if you say, "that's ridiculous, I'm not going to do that!" you do so at your own peril.

6. You Take Care of Personal Hygiene at the Office

I don't mean you wash your hands after using bathroom. That's a good habit! Are you clipping your fingernails--or worse, toenails!--at your desk? Do you pick your teeth with a toothpick or dental floss in your cube? Even doing these things too often in an otherwise occupied bathroom can rub people the wrong way. And please, leave the treasure hunting in your nose for home.

7. You Do the Bare Minimum.

Boss says do X. You do X. So, why aren't you recognized for that? Because your coworkers are doing X and, with their own initiative, Y. That's what it takes to be promoted above where you are--more. Ask yourself every Friday, "What have I done that's above and beyond?" If the answer to that is nothing, you need to fix that. Doing the bare minimum keeps you in the bare minimum job you have now.

8. Your Emails Are Sloppy

Writing isn't your strongest subject. That's fine. Unless you've been hired to write or edit, it doesn't have to be. But, what they can't be is sloppy. Don't ever use text-speak in a business email. Remember proper punctuation and capitalization. Check your spelling. Unless you're a grammar genius, use grammar checking software to catch any errors. Take the time to re-read things and ensure they make sense before hitting send. 

Related Article: 14 Best Tools to Measure Employee Performance

9. You're Tied to Your Electronics

Is that you checking your email while in a meeting? Are you just catching up on Facebook? Sending a quick text as you walk down the hall? If it's work related, it's admirable, but still annoying as all get out. Now, if your boss is an electronics addict, you might be able to get away with this bad habit, but if she's not, your doomed. Put the phone down and do some work. Text your friends when you're not on the clock. And for heaven's sake, don't scan your phone will someone else is talking to you. 

10. You Think You're Above Politics

By this, I don't mean you should, yourself, become a whining little suck-up who throw their colleagues under the bus. But, you do need to pay attention to the political situation around you. Sometimes the person with the real power isn't the boss, and you need to be aware of that. Sometimes there is a bully that will destroy you if given the chance. You have to be aware of these things or you will be destroyed.

If you have any of these bad habits, pick the worst one to work on now. Guaranteed, giving these up will make your career better off.

 

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