A habit can be difficult to break; and, depending on the context, can make or break you. While some habits are assets in certain situations – such as always having an opinion or sticking out from the crowd – they can sometimes play to your detriment. Thus, equally important as changing some behavioral patterns is knowing when to tweak them just a little bit. And because people in the workforce tend to be an unruly bunch, read ourÂ list of common bad workplace habits to avoid.
Wash that Mouth out with Soap!
When in doubt: keep it clean. And even when not in doubt: keep it clean. (This one tends to resonate strongest with the recent grad crowd.) Swearing in the workplace is unprofessional, and you never know whom you’re going to offend. Try to avoid speech tics such as “like”, “um”, or “ya know”. Colloquialisms like “what up”, “yo”, or “later” shouldn’t be used right out of the gate. Finally, the receptionist isn’t “dude”, and your boss isn’t your “bro”.
Hopefully we can all agree that your job is more important than a new high score. So please, for your own sake, log off of “Mafia Wars”, close the Minesweeper window, turn off whatever game it is that tickles your fancy and eats up your time. It’s ok to play a quick game to de-stress from time to time, but if all you can think about is racking up points on your online Bejeweled account, you have bigger problems…because your online activity probably isn’t going to fly with your boss. On a similar note, avoid excessive online chatting or checking your personal email account every five minutes. All these distractions will still be there when your shift ends. But during your working hours, your priority should be work.
Even if your job leaves you wanting to punch a wall, try not to complain about it all the time. People have a low tolerance for whiners in the office, so keep it to yourself or find someone else to vent to. If you see a problem, come up with a way to fix it instead of grumbling about it or pawning it off on someone else to boot. Others will admire, feed off of, and promote your positive energy. And, at the end of the day, they’ll be more likely to want to keep you around.
Dress to the Nines
The dress code: perhaps you feel that this doesn’t apply to you because you are an individual. But dress codes exist for a reason – to uphold professionalism in the workplace. Stepping outside of the bounds may feel cool or liberating, but it can convey to your coworkers that you don’t care, or that you’re simply a slob. Companies vary on their policies regarding work attire, so it’s generally a good idea to dress more conservatively until you have a good idea of what the expectations are.
Habits don’t disappear overnight. It takes time and dedication to change a pattern of behavior, so be patient!