Are you at risk for being fired? It’s more likely than we think! We have laid out for you 10 super unprofessional behaviors that you should definitely avoid if you want to keep your job! It can be difficult to avoid temptations, but if you want to move ahead in your career, you should definitely take heed! 


1. Gossiping about coworkers

Gossiping about and with your coworkers shows a lack of respect and a lack of privacy. It makes it appear as though you would prefer to talk about other people’s problems than do your work. Plus, people will lose their trust in you if they think that you will turn around and gossip about what they have shared with you. The best thing to do is support your coworkers if they confide in you or ask your advice, but let the conversation end with them. There’s absolutely no reason to share coworker’s private information with a boss or another coworker. 


2. Ignoring boundaries with coworkers

In the workplace, it’s best if you keep all interactions professional, even if it seems easier or more fun to interact informally. It’s normal to be friendly and conversational, but try not to be too nosy or impose too much on your coworkers’ time. Respect physical boundaries as well, keeping a couple feet away, for instance, and modelling your coworkers’ behavior with you. Flirting is similarly not acceptable because you need to keep in mind that your coworkers should feel 100% safe and comfortable in their place of work. This sense of security will vanish if anyone feels uneasy or pressured to behave a certain way around you. 


3. Behaving poorly at work-social events

Work events are a great chance to get to know your coworkers. Have fun, laugh, and dance a little! However, it’s important to not cross the line between having a good time and ruining your reputation. An after-work happy hour is a nice casual event. Drinking too much may cause you to embarrass yourself, dance like crazy and laugh or talk too loud. It’s always a good idea to get to know the people you are working with better, but be sure not to throw aside your professional relationships or flirt with your coworkers.


4. Using your phone or laptop while talking to people

While it may be tempting to multi-task, it shows a lack of respect if you’re paying more attention to your phone or laptop than to the people in front of you. When coworkers are giving you their time and attention, it’s important to return the favor. If you’re working with customers, then using your phone in front of them makes them feel much less important and shows that you’re more involved in your own social life than your work. Remind yourself how you would feel if you were trying to have an important conversation with someone that wasn’t bothering to make eye contact, and keep that in mind going forward.  


5. Showing bad manners

If you have no concern for the way you treat others, people will be on guard around you and will not trust that you can treat them with respect. Waiting your turn and saying please and thank you may seem like things you teach tiny children, but they make such a difference as adults too. When your coworkers know you are considerate, they have more faith in you and feel like you will not take advantage of them. Try to avoid things like chewing with your mouth open, singing or talking loudly, interrupting, or disrupting the flow of the office. 


6. Being unresponsive 

When you are not at work, it’s incredibly tempting to ignore that text from your boss or the email waiting for you from your coworker. After all, your time should be yours when you are not on the clock. Although it may not be mandatory for you to give a timely response, it’s certainly frowned upon when you do not. Quick responses show that you can be depended on, and that you are interested and care about your work. The same goes for during office hours. Try not to procrastinate! If you take an entire day or longer to respond to an email or call, your client will feel ignored. The best idea is to set aside 30 minutes of each workday to respond to messages. You might even need to set aside two blocks of time, depending on how frequently you receive emails or calls.


7. Being aggressive

Sometimes you will have a project you feel passionate about. It’s important you let your enthusiasm come across in a positive way. However, when you’re overly aggressive, you do not come across as a team player. You may be trying to make your point, but make sure you take the time to listen to others and show them consideration. If your coworkers feel attacked, they will defensively tune you out. Besides, they may have an idea you hadn’t thought of. If you are too forceful, people will think you do not want to work with others and may leave you out of group projects or will be unwilling to help you in the future. 


8. Lying or stealing

It may seem like no big deal to change the truth slightly or take something small, but these actions are incredibly unprofessional. Cheating your work out of money or trying to cover up your mistakes by lying shows that you are not trustworthy. People may think that you’re trying to take advantage of them or using them for your own gain. They will likely also question your ability or likelihood to be honest in the future, greatly increasing your risk of being fired. 


9. Being the office prankster

Everyone wants to be well-liked, but being the cause of all the amusement in the office will likely take a toll on people’s opinion of you. If they begin to view you as the office prankster, they may think you’re not to be taken seriously during difficult work matters. It’s unlikely that your boss will choose you for the most serious tasks, if they think you cannot focus or be serious. If you focus too much on having a good time, it will start to show that you’re not putting your energy towards your work. The best thing to do is have fun tactfully, but focus when it’s time to be serious. This will show your coworkers and boss that you’re reliable and capable of hard work. 


10. Dressing unprofessionally 

In an office setting, the norm is to dress on the consesrvative side if you want to be taken seriously. Whether or not we like it, the way we dress has a massive effect on the way that we are perceived by others, and even on the way we act. One study showed that women who wear makeup are perceived as more competent, while another showed that women showing skin in pictures were viewed as having less agency and intelligence. Research also shows that wearing formal clothes changes not only the way people perceive us, but also increases abstract thinking and gives us a broader perspective! Keeping all this in mind, the best thing is to appear more formal and professional when you are around your coworkers and boss. After-work functions like black tie events or more casual events like picnics are exceptions, of course. 


Did you see yourself reflected in this list? If so, it’s not too late to turn things around! Don’t give in to temptation, and you will see interactions with your coworkers and boss improve substantially! If you are curious about more ways to revitalize your career, check out our other articles! Best of luck!

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