Make Sure You Avoid These Career Damaging Habits!

When you start work, or even before, it’s really easy to get absorbed in your own little world. Whilst you might think that’s just you being you and trying hard, others might think you’re an over-confident try hard. And nobody likes a try hard.

Not Listening When Other People Speak

Most of us have worked at some point with a person who can articulate their thoughts very well. The minute they stop talking, though, they tune out. You can tell just by looking at them that they’re not listening. Their mind is someplace else. It’s rude and it doesn’t make for an effective give-and-take when someone cannot attend to another person’s words. Be sure that person isn’t you!

Photo by Liz Ryan

Not Following Through on Your Commitments

Plenty of eager-beaver young business people have started their careers on a great note, only to run into roadblocks when the people around them noticed that they’re all talk and no action. These folks don’t follow through on their commitments.

They make confidence-inspiring statements like “You can rely on me, boss” and then don’t take care of whatever they were charged with taking care of. They don’t seem to notice that the acknowledgment and career advancement they seek is tied to actual results, not to knowing the right business jargon and slapping the right backs


Nothing kills a promising career faster than being identified as a gossip-monger. There are way more exciting things happening in any organization than whatever people whisper behind other people’s backs about.

Sucking the Air Out of the Room

Some folks are insecure and show it by needing to have the floor at every moment and needing to express their opinions on every topic. We say about such people “S/he sucks the air out of the room!” Once they start talking, they can’t stop.

Being Abrasive

Business happens in a professional setting, but social interaction goes on all the time in the business world. People who are nasty and abrasive to deal with don’t do as well in their careers as people who keep an even tone and try to respect the views of others. We all get frustrated, but the folks who can still manage a smile and the words “please” and “thank you” show their substance when things around them are going crazy.

Being Two-Faced

There is almost nothing worse than telling one person what you think they want to hear and then telling the next person something completely different. In the business world as in life, you have to speak your truth consistently in order to be trusted or respected.

Being Forgetful

If you are forgetful, no one will hold it against you if you take steps to outweigh your forgetful tendencies with note-taking and reminders to keep balls from dropping on the floor. Your forgetfulness will become a problem if you leave people hanging. It’s up to you to come up with a system to keep track of your to-do items or ask for help in doing so.

Getting Defensive 

At work we are all expected to be able to deal with viewpoints that are different from our own without bristling or becoming defensive. We are expected to be able to talk about issues without needing to be right — in fact, without needing to reduce every discussion to an argument over who’s right and who’s wrong. People who get defensive suck time and emotional energy away from the group when that energy is needed to move the company’s goals forward!

Needing to Have the Last Word

A sure sign of an immature business person is when someone must have the last word in every conversation. Sometimes it’s “I told you so!” and other times it’s “If you’re not going to take my advice, why did you ask my opinion?” We expect business people to be able to disagree graciously.

Putting Other People Down

The last career-damaging habit on our list is the habit of putting other people down, something that has never helped a relationship thrive or led to a better business result. “I can’t agree with you there, Roseanne” is fine but “See, that’s why you’re a Team Leader and I’m a Manager, Roseanne” is not. Your brand is not just your job title or your college degree; you show your values in the way you treat people around you, every day.

At The Sheffield College we offer courses for just about everyone to get you qualified for that interview! So whether you’re interested in something ‘hands-on’ such as an Apprenticeship or Vocational course, academic A-Levels or University course, or even just a hobby course, take a look through our list of courses and we’re pretty sure you’ll find something that suits! Click here for more info.


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