Unprofessional Work Habits That Could Cost You Your Job

Everyone has bad habits, and sometimes, these bad habits can manifest themselves at work. While one minor fault doesn't necessarily make you an awful person, it can reflect poorly on you as an employee, and left unchecked, could potentially cost you your job.

A bad habit can be challenging to spot, especially if it's become second nature. Regardless, all bad work habits have one thing in common — they are often a reaction that allows an individual to cope with constant stress, boredom, or some other adversity in life. They can keep you from your goals, make you feel guilty, and impact your career negatively. With that said, here are nine common bad work habits that may convince your manager that you're the wrong person for the job and let you go.


Submitting inaccurate reports, manipulating your timestamps, calling in sick when you aren't, misusing company funds—offenses such as these are considered serious and can bring your career to a sudden and sorry end. There is no good excuse for lying at work. Never misrepresent your capabilities, experiences or credentials. Don't play with the numbers. And don't phone in sick unless you actually are. These are all forms of betrayal in your employer's eyes, and you should never bite the hand that feeds you.

Constant tardiness

Lacking punctuality on a regular basis can earn you the reputation of being unreliable and inefficient. When you frequently arrive late for work, go on extended breaks, or miss the start of important meetings, you're showing complacency, carelessness, and disrespect. So make sure to arrive on time not only to show that you care about your job but also to be considerate of other people's time.


Do you find yourself unable to complete tasks in a prompt manner? Unless you're not being given adequate time to fulfill your responsibilities at work, you are most likely procrastinating. Even if you are able to pull off the job at the last minute, your habit is likely driving some if not most of your co-workers crazy—especially if you're working on a team project. Your rush to the finish line will only end up annoying, angering, and even alienating your teammates. Not to mention, they'll be blaming you if a project fails or isn't completed on schedule. It's easier said than done, but to avoid making an enemy out of your entire company, drop your procrastinating ways and start getting more things done each day.

Venting on social media

Complaining all the time puts you in a bad light, much more so if those complaints are available for all to see online. What you post on social media is forever, and in time, your words can come back to haunt you. Employers may view you negatively when you make fun or speak ill of your boss, co-workers, and clients. Avoid saying anything inappropriate or offensive online, as this can be detrimental to your career. If you have a complaint about your job, speak with your manager directly, in private. Try to develop a more positive attitude and work towards becoming solutions-oriented.


Just like complaining, gossiping about your manager, workload, or colleagues is unproductive and pointless. When you share too much information about other people's private affairs, you may come off as untrustworthy and make those around you feel uncomfortable. Respect the boundaries of the people you work with to earn their trust and respect. When speaking about someone, watch your words to ensure they are understood as constructive, civil, and deserved.

Keeping to yourself

Being too friendly can be annoying, but so can being overly solitary. If you prefer to do things on your own all the time, that setup is not going to work in your workplace, where more often than not, teamwork is essential to getting tasks done. Teamwork promotes a positive environment through positive behaviors such as helping colleagues whenever possible, recognizing other people's efforts, and doing tasks that aren't necessarily part of your job description. By learning to play nice, you will have the support of your teammates, which can be important in case certain issues arise.

Round-the-clock negativity

It's okay to complain and blow off steam on occasion. In fact, it's necessary for your wellbeing. But if you're the source of negativity in your workplace, then your bad habit is probably hurting your social standing. The more negative you are, the worse you'll feel, and it all becomes a vicious circle for you. Eventually, you'll need to make a choice: let your negativity consume you, or break free from it. If you decide on the latter, then it's time to start thinking about strategies to reverse your negativity. Start by surrounding yourself with as much positivity as you can, and distance yourself from negative influences.

Being a slob

One of the fastest ways to destroy your professional image is by always looking unkempt at work. If your fashion sense is still stuck in the 90s, it's time to leave it behind. Before heading off to work, groom yourself. Practice basic hygiene. Dress professionally, and make sure your clothes fit you well. Aside from your looks, keep your workspace spick and span. Most important of all, be confident in yourself and your appearance. You want to look like you take your job seriously.


Manners maketh man. This adage may be ages old, but it still applies. Not only at work, but in life as well. Fortunately, saying 'please, 'excuse me', and 'thanks' still carry a lot of value. Having good manners can get you places, and having bad manners can potentially cost you your job.

These bad work habits aren't likely going to get you fired right away, but their cumulative effect over time can have major consequences for your career. Your job comes with certain expectations, and if you can't meet them, you'll likely be let go. Avoid losing your job and work on getting rid of these bad work habits today.

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