I have been exceedingly blessed with just over twenty-one years of work experience; nineteen years employed by the same company. I am truly thankful and gracious to experience such longevity. I have held a number of roles at various levels within the organization, and I have observed the varying degrees of success and failure of other colleagues. At this point, I am never surprised to see a colleague blame their lack of success on other individuals or the company itself. Now, I am not carelessly blind to the existence of professional barriers based on racial, gender, age, and sexual orientation discrimination. That is a topic for another conversation.
And while the aforementioned offenses could surely send a career down in flames; let us recognize other brazen violations that will not only severely hinder one’s career; it could get you terminated, sued, or perhaps even worse – sent to jail. Offenses such as sexual harassment, physical assault, theft, or NSFW material in the office will surely tank anyone aspiring an ascent up the corporate ladder. Today, however, I want to highlight 5 behaviors that aren’t so blatant. Well, maybe they are blatant. Still, you would be surprised that some individuals don’t connect these toxic traits to a sputtering or unfulfilling career.
5 Office Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Career
- Gossiping – The professional environment should remain as such – professional. Yet many individuals behave as if they are still in grade school. To be sure, word does indeed travel fast – as does the identity of the individual spreading said word. Disseminating misinformation and/or disinformation is a good indicator that the person is not particularly trustworthy. Advancing your career could prove to be difficult if you develop a reputation for spreading inaccurate information, blatantly false information, or information that should otherwise be kept confidential. Leadership will be hard pressed to have an individual amongst the ranks that consistently leaks and spreads information to the detriment of the company.
- Complaining – Straight up and to the point: No one wants to work with a malcontent. True indeed, misery loves company. However, misery needs to understand that the rest of us can do without your negativity and toxic attitude. Understand that your incessant complaining is draining and exhausting. Offering opposition absent any meaningful propositions is never constructive and adds zero value to the work environment. The malcontent only exceeds at dampening spirits, derailing productivity, and worse yet – spreading their toxicity to other employees. If presented with the opportunity, a company would be most inclined to remove this workplace cancer from the team.
- Average at Best – A professional should never be too comfortable with being comfortable. True, one can feel fully satisfied with their current work situation with absolutely no desire for further advancement. And that is fair. However, performing the bare minimum just to skate by could very well jeopardize performance reviews and tag you as exceedingly expendable. I am not advocating that one work themselves into an early grave for an ungrateful employer. However, willful acceptance of mediocrity is not doing your development any favors – professionally or even personally.
- The Office Villain – Closely related to the complainer; but instead of consistently sharing their disdain solely towards the company, venom is also unleased upon fellow colleagues. Communication consists of belittling and disparaging others. Work ethic is strictly self-serving without any regard for making the team better. The office villain is obnoxious, rude, inconsiderate, and quick to throw anyone under the bus to get ahead or avoid responsibility. This person never crossed a bridge they didn’t like to torch. In the workplace, your reputation is your brand. So, don’t expect anyone to invest in you if the product is unprincipled, cantankerous, and trash.
- Bad Work Performance – This example is self-explanatory. Woefully devoid of self-awareness, you are unabashedly terrible in your role. Trust, at any moment, your belongings could be in a cardboard box. Yet, you think your dreadful work performance and poor work ethic should be handsomely rewarded during performance review time. The profound lack of ownership regarding your shortcomings and errors is breathtaking. You display little curiosity in learning and growing within your professional craft. If you are adding little to no value (maybe even adding negative value) to a company; understand that your career stagnation is wholly your own doing.
Note: There are exceptions to every rule, and some individuals you may see succeeding embody the traits above. Nevertheless, that is not an excuse for you to exhibit the same behaviors. Ultimately, the goal is to be the best version of yourself and live your best life.