Seven Work Habits That Will Sink Your Job and Maybe Your Career

bad habits

Kick those bad habits, right?  But the challenge is that it’s not just black and white.  Some habits, in moderation, are perfectly acceptable.  But taken to excess and they become more negative than positive.  And that’s the key.  Knowing when enough is enough.  Knowing what’s reasonable.  So keeping tabs on your work habits will keep you and your career on track.

Ten years ago, Ms Career Girl published an article on the seven deadly sins at work.  If you watch the news or your social media feed at all, you know that’s an article perfect for today.  So, here’s a timely update of a Ms Career Girl Classic.

What are your deadly work habit sins?


Also known as vanity. To me, pride at work is when you can’t admit you’ve made a mistake. It is also your inability to admit that you don’t know everything. Perhaps you are trying so hard to make others like you. Or, maybe you really believe you’re better than other people. Pride seems to be the root of all of the “sins” in that it requires being too self-centered. Beware of pride in your every day life: it often comes from unrealistic expectations, which will undoubtedly lead to disappointment in every area in your life.


The desire for others’ traits, situation or status. Do you have a bad attitude about your direct superior because you want her job? Perhaps you think she is way too young or dumb to have her job title? If your feelings of envy result in a bad attitude or differential treatment towards her, be careful. This is bound to come up at your review and you will give the impression that you are not a “team player.”


Do you consume more than you require? Although in conventional terms gluttony is in reference to over-eating, I’d say in corporate terms this could mean drinking too much at the free happy hour just because it’s free and generally over-indulging in any perks of the corporation whether it be writing things off you shouldn’t, taking office supplies or expecting your company to take care of your every need.


Do you daydream about hooking up with your hot boss? Do you flirt with co-workers at happy hour or frequently engage in inter-office dating? If so, be careful because it could easily ruin your reputation and credibility with your peers and superiors. Who wants to be “that girl?!”


Also referred to as wrath or fury, do you get angry and make a scene at a meeting when your idea gets taken by your male co-worker (again) or do you calmly acknowledge his error and speak to him (and perhaps a superior) about it after the meeting? How do you handle difficult assignments? How do you deal with handling a teammate’s workload who is frequently calling in sick? What is your temperament after getting off the phone with your problem client? How you handle these situations says a lot about you. Being an angry person will quickly lead to your co-workers avoiding you like the plague.


Are you rolling your eyes every time you have to answer the phone, make coffee, or file paper work? Do you do anything you have to in order to get your hands on the best clients or projects, even if that means pushing others down? Are you in your job to learn and grow, or solely to make lots of money? There’s a big difference between greed and ambition. There is nothing wrong with wanting a great car, salary and title someday. But keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day and everyone has to put their time in before they can get the VP title and company car.


Laziness. Do you go through your days at work consistently arriving 10 minutes late, leaving 10 minutes early? Do you spend 2 hours of your day on Facebook? How about your personal calls? In an economic time like this, be careful if your sin is sloth. Sloth is also referred to as “fat” in an organization, and  most companies are always looking for ways to cut it. Don’t be surprised if you’re cut out. If you are really that bored at work, consider taking on a new project or talking to your superior to see if she needs help with anything. If this doesn’t do the trick, perhaps you are not in the right field or position and need more exciting and challenging work.

Great Work Habits Pay Off!

When you’re building your career and your reputation, doing regular self-evaluations can help to keep you on track.  Being self-aware will keep bad work habits in check and pay dividends in both the short and long term.  Shine on!


Main image via flickr.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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