27 Unprofessional Habits That Could Be Sinking Your Career

Katie Sweeney

My older brother once told me a story about how his ironing skills landed him his first major promotion. No, he doesn’t work at a dry cleaner; he’s an official in the golf industry, and years ago, when it came time for his boss to choose between my brother and a more qualified candidate who had been there longer, my brother won out. Turns out the other guy’s shirts were always dirty and wrinkled. Since my brother showed up earlier with a fresh-pressed, perfectly tucked-in shirt, he got the job. While you may not think anyone notices something like a wrinkled shirt, repetitive unprofessional habits could be destroying your career. A recent Inc. article touches on the subject and lists a bunch of bad practices you should avoid. Although each occupation has a different set of standards of what is considered to be unprofessional, most of the customs are somewhat universal. See what they are below. 

  1. Showing up late.
  2. Dressing inappropriately.
  3. Practicing poor hygiene.
  4. Using inappropriate or rude language.
  5. Harassing, bullying, or distracting co-workers.
  6. Flirting.
  7. Exhibiting threatening behavior (physical, verbal, written violence).
  8. Passive-aggressive behavior.
  9. Disrespecting your boss/manager/employer.
  10. Demanding special treatment.
  11. Refusing to do the work assigned to you.
  12. Stealing or taking things that don't belong to you (food, office supplies, etc.).
  13. Sabotaging your co-workers' work.
  14. Being overly criticizing of the work or behavior of others.
  15. Procrastination.
  16. Making unfair or inappropriate judgments about co-workers or the company.
  17. Poor communication (not returning emails or calls; failure to follow up).
  18. Poor work ethic or laziness.
  19. Failing to keep promises or repay favors to co-workers, customers, bosses, etc.
  20. Lying.
  21. Excessive complaining.
  22. Spreading rumors, badmouthing, backstabbing.
  23. Unwillingness to work with others.
  24. Displaying excessive uncalled-for emotions (screaming, crying, etc.).
  25. Bringing your outside problems and issues to work.
  26. Defensiveness or excessive sensitivity to constructive criticism.
  27. Displaying a consistently negative attitude.

Ensure that your shirts are nicely pressed by investing in a quality iron.

Have you witnessed a co-worker being unprofessional? What did they do?

Explore: Habits

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